In April, Adelaide Hills Distillery’s 78 Degrees Gin was named Best International Gin at the American Distilling Institute Awards.
The distillery has grown exponentially since launching the gin – its first product – in early 2015.
Founder and Head Distiller Sacha La Forgia began dabbling with distilling almost a decade ago in his laundry at home before studying winemaking and travelling the world visiting distilleries and working wine vintages in the northern and southern hemispheres.
“When I came home in 2014 I saw an opportunity to start a craft distillery and I just went for it,” he says.
“We’ve seen in the last few years a real movement towards quality and authenticity and that’s really given small distilleries a chance to get started and it’s given them a market to sell some product.”
Adelaide Hills Distillery is co-located near Nairne with Mismatch Brewing and The Hills Cider Company. The group will next year open a visitor centre with cellar door in the Adelaide Hills, which Sacha says will be provide an important boost for all of the businesses.
On the other side of Nairne, Sidewood Estate has steadily grown to be among the largest wineries in the Hills. However, it was its Pear Cider that grabbed the headlines in August when it was named Best Dry Style Pear Cider at the 2017 World Cider Awards.
Sidewood made the conscious decision to not add anything to its cider other than apples and pears when it commenced production in 2014. This has led to a dry style that lends itself to white winemaking practices and uses the premium pears and apples grown in the Adelaide Hills.
Sidewood also shone at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards in October, becoming the first South Australian wine to win the Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc or Blend of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc at the prestigious awards.
However, another Adelaide Hills winery stole the show in Melbourne.
Macclesfield winery Longview Vineyard took home four trophies at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards including the best Single Vineyard Wine and Best Riesling for its 2017 Iron Knob Riesling.
Longview also won the Trophy for Best Rose with its 2017 Nebbiolo Rosato while the Trophy for Viticultural Excellence went to Longview Viticulturist Dino Cotsaris.
While the beverage sector has been grabbing headlines, the Adelaide Hills’ dairy producers have also been turning heads globally.
In September, Lobethal-based cheesemaker Udder Delights signed over 90 per cent of its business to one of Japan’s largest dairy companies for $14 million.
Udder Delights grew from humble beginnings when Trevor Dunford and wife Estelle started the brand in 1999. The business is now run by the Dunfords’ daughter Sheree Sullivan and her husband Saul Sullivan, pictured below, who will continue to lead the business and retain a 10 per cent stake.
At the opposite end of the Adelaide Hills, B.-d Farm Paris Creek was last month sold to Victorian-based Primary Opinion for $34 million. The secret to Paris Creek’s success has been its commitment to biodynamic organic farming, which allowed owners Ulli and Helmut Spranz build a loyal base of customers for its milks, yoghurts and cheeses around Australia.Jump to next article