Pikes awarded ‘People’s Choice’ for Best Winery Experience in the 2022 Halliday Wine Companion Awards

The annual Halliday Wine Companion Awards recognise the best of the best from across Australia's wine industry and this year, for the first time, we asked wine lovers to vote for their favourite winery experience.

Our inaugural 2022 People’s Choice winner is Pikes Wines from South Australia’s Clare Valley, selected by voters for its standout wines, friendly service and cellar door experience. A five-star Halliday-rated winery, Pikes has featured in James Halliday’s Top 100 and in our Halliday Awards Top Rated – particularly for its consistently highly rated riesling. With a spectacular cellar door in the beautiful Polish Hill, the brand is a deserving and much adored recipient. Sales/marketing director and second generation owner Jamie Pike says the win has been extremely validating for the whole team – from the winemakers, to the cellar door staff and everyone in between.

Below, he tells us a bit about the history of his family’s business and what makes it such a special place to visit.

“Pikes was established in 1984 by my dad Andrew, my mum Cathy, and my uncle Neil. When they initially purchased the property in Polish Hill River, it was a 25 hectare hobby farm that was pretty quickly planted out with riesling, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, sauvignon blanc, semillon and chardonnay. Over the years they have added neighbouring blocks to the estate, and it now comprises nearly 130 hectares with 100 under vine.

In October 2018 we opened a brand-new Tasting Room and Slate Restaurant. We’ve recently undergone some generational change too, with Neil deciding to retire and exit the business at the end of 2019. This change has allowed for myself, my brother Alister and our own families to become second generation owners alongside our parents.

Winning the 2022 Halliday People’s Choice Award is very meaningful. Our team is incredibly passionate about what we do and pride ourselves on providing an experience that is relaxed and personable. The crew at Pikes is like an extended family and we owe this award to their efforts – whether it’s the beautiful grounds, the friendly service, or the quality of our wines.

There is a lot on offer at our cellar door, so allow a few hours when you visit to take it all in. Plan for a pre-lunch wine tasting in the Tasting Room, followed by lunch in the award-winning and chef hatted Slate Restaurant and finish with a cleansing Pikes Beer Co. ale in the brewery beer garden.

Our key varieties at Pikes are riesling, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese, but we have we have just over 20 different varieties on the estate – including pinot grigio, viognier, fiano, malbec, cabernet franc and grenache to name a few. The winemaking team is led by chief winemaker Steve Baraglia and senior winemaker Andrew Kenny, and our amazing Tasting Room team is led by Pud Smith. Dad keeps a keen eye over all operations as managing director and viticulturist.

Our overarching winemaking philosophy is to make wines that speak of the place and vintage that they come from, with minimal influence of the winemaker evident. What this translates to in practice is a lot of time and attention getting things right in the vineyard and exercising a delicate hand in the cellar.”

Written by Halliday Wine Companion, 7 August 2020