Meet the Maker: Kilikanoon Winery

June 26, 2018 0 comments

Meet the Maker: 5 Minutes with Kilikanoon Founder and Chief Winemaker, Kevin Mitchell.

Get to know Kevin Mitchell ahead of next week’s wine dinner at the Britannia Hotel. Expect delicious eats paired with elegant wines that showcase the unique terroir of the beautiful Clare Valley. Learn about how Kilikanoon’s award-winning wines are carefully crafted, with entertaining commentary courtesy of Kevin.

Quick Questions with Kevin

Grew up in…

Clare, South Australia

Father of…

Four (3 boys and 1 girl)

How did you become a winemaker?

I hail from a grape growing background, but was going to be everything from a lawyer, doctor, banker – in the end went to Roseworthy (Adelaide University) and studied an Agricultural Science Degree to become a Horticulturist. Made a lot of friends there that were studying Winemaking and I became very interested in wine through those connections and friendships. I returned after Ag Science and did a Graduate Diploma in Oenology. My first wine job was vintage at Krondorf in 1992, and my first real job was at d’Arenberg in 1993 as Assistant Winemaker.

Where does the name Kilikanoon come from?

The cellar door property had been called that since 1860. Named after a large estate in Cornwall called “Kilikaganoon”, which translates to mean “A nut grove on the down” in old Celtic language. It had also been a restaurant for many years as well (1979 – 1994). We purchase it in 1997.

Favourite wine variety and why?

Grenache most probably. I like it because it’s old, traditional and for many years has been mistreated by the industry. When made well, it’s best suited to so many foods or even just enjoyed by itself. It can be silky, complex, perfumed and benefits from 3-4 years in the cellar, but most of all I like its honesty. You can’t make great wine from mediocre fruit, so quality is tied heavily to the vineyard and its immediate environment. Also grows very well in Clare.

Favourite food?

Bacon, eggs and mushrooms on toasted crusty sourdough bread (for breakfast) – a terrific treat to get the weekend underway!

How would you spend your ideal weekend?

I’d watch the kids play footy on Saturday morning, then some really good live local football on Saturday afternoon, before spending Sunday touring the Adelaide Hills in one of our old cars, wine tasting and having lunch.

If you could meet anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

Probably a muso like Paul McCartney or John Lennon as I love the later Beatles stuff and they were (are) musical geniuses. Definitely no politicians!

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched!

The dinner will feature Kilikanoon favourites like the multi-award winning Oracle Shiraz, Killerman’s Run GSM and decadent sparkling Vouvray, to take you on a journey through the senses over four delicious courses.

The Clare Valley is one of the most diverse appellations in the world, and the powerful elegance of Kilikanoon Wines is the ultimate expression of this unique terroir.

By keeping our vineyard parcels separate until the very end, we are able to leverage the diversity of these vineyards throughout the Clare Valley when we compose our wines” – Kevin Mitchell.

The ability to produce high quality wine in the region can be attributed to the broad range in the Clare Valley’s daily temperatures – think Barossa Valley by day, Adelaide Hills by night. Warm days allow the fruit to ripen fully with the heat of the sun, while the cool nights assist with acid retention, resulting in powerfully elegant wines with exceptional length and structure.

Join us on Tuesday the 3rd July from 7pm to learn more about the Kilikanoon winemaking philosophy and enjoy exclusive offers and prizes to be won throughout the night.

Places are limited, bookings essential.

Words by Genevieve Dyson


Kevin Mitchell with his father, Mort Mitchell.

Kilikanoon Vineyard, Clare Valley­

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