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Abbey Rock swings opens it doors to the public
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Abbey Rock Wines, founded in 2001 by wine marketer Michael Parkinson and winemaker Les Sampson has opened its doors to the public with Alexander Downer MP officially stamping his seal of approval at the grand opening in early November.
Abbey Rock has vineyards in Coonawarra, Clare Valley and the Adelaide Hills. Their wines are made at several wineries located near the vineyards so the winemaking can start as soon as harvest has been completed.
“Our philosophy is to make great quality wine. To do this we begin the process of the winemaking soon after harvest. We have reserved space at specific wineries near the vineyards so the fruit is not transported and therefore is less likely to be damaged,” Abbey Rock winemaker, Les Sampson, said.
“It’s a flexible model that works for us and works with our philosophy.”
With the wine industry facing tough economic times and the Adelaide Hills region being unrepresented for a long time Sampson felt it was the perfect opportunity to move forward with the development of the cellar door.
“Abbey Rock needed a public face and home where consumers could come and meet the company. It’s always been the romance of wine that you can meet with the winemakers something we didn’t have until now,” Sampson said.
“It is good for the company too, to meet with the consumers so we can keep track of what they want.”
Abbey Rock is further assisting the economic growth of the Adelaide Hills by supporting other businesses in the area. Sampson is using the new cellar door as a tourist destination to showcase the wines, food and artists of the local community. Tapas style platters of fresh Adelaide Hills food will be available to visitors and four local artists will be permanently displaying their artworks.
“We are aiming for the cellar door to be not only about our excellent wines and a place to learn about viticulture and the art of winemaking but also a focal point for the local community to hosts events from weddings to education forums.”
The unique heritage listed cottage which has been developed into the winery’s new cellar door and tasting room is located in Balhannah in the Adelaide Hills. The property has a large outside area where wedding and community functions can be held, amongst the backdrop of the beautiful rolling hills.
Small demonstration rows of grape varieties used in the Abbey Rock wines will be planted on the property with labels to identify specific areas of the vines so visitors can learn about the viticulture process. Soil profiles and educational material of grapegrowing and winemaking will also be available for the visitors to browse through.
“It will be an educational experience, a self discovery trail where people can learn more about the wines they are tasting. People like to be involved and this is a great opportunity for them to come and experience behind the scenes of the wine production.”
Abbey Rock also plans to plant an extensive garden of rare hybrid roses over the next 12 months.