Wine was once considered an elite beverage for special occasions, but with Australia and especially South Australia bringing world-class wines to the table at competitive prices, it's no longer a drink just for high society. Unfortunately wineries and their tasting experiences occasionally still come across as pretentious, creating feelings of apprehension about visiting some cellar doors. Refreshingly, Somerled Wines in the picturesque Adelaide Hills creates the opposite experience. What holds this cellar door apart, is their keen knowledge, extensive experience and the genuine "part of the family vibe" you feel during the tasting.
The charming earthy building blends wooden features with bright lighting and foliage to create a relaxed and friendly, but surprisingly vibrant atmosphere. The cellar door really does feel more like a family home. Heather, the mother of the family and wife of winemaker Rob, shows no hint of having the word pretentious in her vocabulary while she talks you through the tasty selection of wines.
It's true families don't always work well as a team, but this one does. Rob Moody the winemaker started making wine in 1969 for the original Penfolds Grange and hasn't looked back. Somerled was born in 2010 with Rob and Heather, along with their two daughters Lucy and Emma who are all actively involved in the business. Heather warmly explains they stick to the grape varieties that are known to do well in the region and they only buy fruit from selected growers they know have high standards just like they do. That's why their wine is so good. Also, speaking of good, make sure you try some of Heather's home roasted and salted almonds, a beautiful adjunct to the crisp whites on the list.
As my sun filled afternoon on the Somerled porch comes to an end it's really hard not to feel at home here. It's so relaxing and comfortable that I believe Lucy when she jokes that on Friday evenings when people come for tastings, their cellar door is really just a well stocked lounge room. To me it's clear this family has found their calling and I may have just found a new family home in the hills.