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There’s an energy about some places which simply draws you in - a cheeky, light-hearted and genuine spirit that is simply, enchanting. With its spectacular views over rolling vineyards to the coast and the Lloyd family at the helm, Coriole vineyards is one such place.
This spirit is a direct reflection of the vibrant Lloyd family. To meet CEO Mark Lloyd is to be awed by his spark and incredible humility. When speaking about the many ways in which Coriole nurtures the local arts community he simply shrugs and remarks “life is about art. When you have an opportunity to make it part of your business you’re so fortunate.”
Arts and culture are so ingrained into the business model of Coriole Vineyards they’re as important as the vines themselves. Performing arts do have a central focus here, although as Communications Manager, Alexandra Stocker notes visual arts will play a stronger role in the future, almost apologetic for it not happening sooner.
The first performance at Coriole happened almost accidentally. Having just built a new barrel shed with 10 metre ceilings Mark invited his choir to practice there. The acoustics of this shed filled with barrels were astounding. Thus, the Coriole Music Festival was born, becoming one of Australia’s top 3 chamber music festivals. Profits from this, and the myriad of other arts events are re-directed to the artistic community, funding the development of new works. This is something non-negotiable to Mark, who is determined to pay the artists properly, giving them the means to continue in the art forms which bring him - and the audience - so much joy. A soon-to-be-released 6 pack of Coriole wines will have labels designed by poets involved in their annual Poets and Pizza evenings. Proceeds of wine sales will be used to support the poetry community. Coriole also provides sponsorship to AdYO (Adelaide Youth Orchestras) and is a major wine sponsor for the State Opera of SA amongst other arts & culture establishments.
Coriole has a unique way of delivering art forms which are in slow decline (classical music, choirs, poetry) to a wide range of people. Alexandra attributing this to the link of food and wine. The lifestyle connotations of enjoying a region’s produce in a beautiful location making these lost cultural events more accessible. After all, as Mark comments “wine makes everything more enjoyable.”
The artistic offerings at Coriole are set to expand significantly in coming years, there’s talk of building ‘pods’ to showcase a rotation of local visual artists - spaces just big enough for 2-3 people to be discovered as you wander amongst the gardens. A natural amphitheatre just behind Cellar Door is in the works (bringing the number of performance spaces to around 6) as is the refurbishment of the old cellar. The project which brought the most sparkle to Mark’s eyes though, is what he laughingly refers to as ‘The Coriole Rectangle’ - a private tasting and small-scale gallery space located on the baffling dam site atop the hill overlooking the winery and McLaren Vale ranges. To be built from burnt timber sourced from their recent revegetation project it’s set to be an art piece in and of itself.
The energy, passion and lust for life of Coriole and the Lloyd family is an outstanding asset to the McLaren Vale and greater South Australian community. Fittingly, they have just been awarded in the 2018 Best of Wine Tourism Awards for Arts & Culture.
It may have all begun because, as Mark puts it “the Lloyd family were just always extremely good at throwing private parties— they now just tend to be public parties”, but it is the absolute buy-in of the entire Coriole team which will see this winery and the region’s artistic community continue to grow for generations.
Coriole Vineyards Cellar Door is open Monday to Friday 10-5 and weekends/public holidays 11-5. The Coriole Restaurant is open Thursday -Monday 12-2.30pm.
Coriole Vineyards is the 2018 and 2019 regional winner of the Best of Wine Tourism Awards in the Art & Culture category.