Usually wineries bring people together, uniting them in the common cause of producing, or sampling fantastic drops. However, for Ben and Clare Anderson, the naming of their vineyard nearly drove them apart, as they tussled back and forth between different options. Thankfully, they resolved this issue by going back to basics: Anderson, their last name, and Hill, where they were situated.
Ben and his father, Brian, purchased Anderson Hill in 1994, when it was a cattle property. Having no prior experience, they dived head first into the vineyard world, learning as they went. The pair eventually became very successful growers, supplying grapes for some of Australia’s best wines. When Brian passed away suddenly in 2001, Clare stepped up to the plate, and the couple expertly balanced raising a small family and running the business.
Going from strength to strength, they opened their own Cellar Door in 2011, continuing their hands-on philosophy of building it themselves. These days, the husband-and-wife team are still involved in every element of the business, cooking, cleaning, serving drinks, gardening, chopping the wood, hosting weddings and somehow they still find time to raise a family. Clare even does the illustrations for their wine labels!
Brendon Keys is the Head Winemaker. A Kiwi by birth, he has travelled the world making, studying and drinking wine, bringing back all this knowledge to the grapes in Lenswood. By letting the grapes speak to him, he has been able to produce some spectacular results.
Anderson Hill features 20 acres under vine, consisting of mostly chardonnay, a little sauvignon blanc and recently, grafted pinot noir and shiraz. At 578 metres above sea level, it’s one of the highest in South Australia, with steep and undulating hills and fertile brown loam over clay with shale and quartz.
Most of the vineyard is spur pruned, with the exception of the sauvignon blanc, which is cane pruned. As Lenswood is a cool-climate area, the harvest is traditionally later than other regions, finishing just before Easter. But in the last few years, it’s happened earlier and earlier, with the 2015 harvest finishing in the first week of March.
Its flagship wine is the Elizabeth Scott Chardonnay. Barrel fermented in three- year-old oak, it boasts intense flavours of grapefruit and white peach that drive through the long palate and finish. Clare pairs her glass with strong flavoured seafood dishes such as paella or Anderson Hill’s famous garlic prawn pizza.
Try both the pizza and wine for size at Anderson Hill’s Cellar Door, which boasts some of the best views in Adelaide Hills. Delicious gourmet wood- fired pizzas are available all weekend, perfect for snacking on as you watch the farm’s chickens and ducks roam free or while you play with Seiko and Ruby – the Cellar Door dogs.
It’s the ideal spot for functions for any occasion, including weddings and birthdays. Ben and Clare are both extremely dedicated to making sure, whatever your reason for visiting, that you enjoy every element of Anderson Hill.