Coriole-Runaway Passion

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Best Of Art and Culture

Wine wise Coriole in McLaren Vale is famous for old vine Shiraz with many 50 and 100 year old vineyards. Coriole has also been a leader in Australia in the promotion of new varieties starting with Sangiovese in 1985; Mark Lloyd was awarded the Len Evans Award for leadership in 2017 in honour of this work and other initiatives.

But Coriole is full of many stories;

Imagine having a hobby that is extremely enjoyable to yourself, as it should, but also brings great pleasure to everyone around you. Mark Lloyd from Coriole might think of the successful music and theatre he has been bringing to the rolling hills of McLaren Vale, as he - almost guiltily - mentions them to be more of a personal obsession and a digression to winemaking. But, if you win Great Wine Capitals ‘Best Of Art and Culture’ two years in a row, I think it is time to call it more than just a runaway passion.

Getting the recognition from Great Wine Capitals has made the performing arts at Coriole a more legitimate part of the business, even if for the Lloyd family itself (and Mark in specific) it is just all about the good life, great life experiences and parties. Mark has his reservations on ‘brand association’ between his passion and the Coriole wine – the events were never set up to bring a new audience to the winery. Mark: “music and the performing arts have always been part ingrained in our family, and so we just bring all of this back at Coriole to share with the community.” And especially the sharing with community is where Coriole is hitting the mark beautifully.

I could never imagine a winery without music – the creative process of making a drink that will sing in the glass needs some creative input to start with. And, as Mark has found to be true for Coriole as well, many barrel halls have great acoustics. However, where music and wine go hand in hand, Coriole takes it a step further and involves community and giving back to this creative process. What started with Shakespeare in the vines and chamber music in the barrel hall as that passion project, has now grown to a full list of festivals throughout the year where community and a fair price for the performing arts has become a central point. Coriole is involved in activating music education at a local school, this year’s Handel’s Messiah has been changed to support the McLaren Vale’s Big Sing to bring together local choirs and their highly successful Poets and Pizza night is set up to celebrate and support South Australian poets.

Whatever your interest is, Coriole will have an event ready for you at some stage as they use their beautiful spot in McLaren Vale for the celebration of life, the arts and good wine. I thought it would be difficult for Mark to pick a favourite in all the events, as he speaks so eagerly about all of them, but without a doubt he answers: “Coriole Music Festival”. Since 1999 this event has brought chamber music and vocals to the barrel room and Mark’s eyes lit up as he tells about breaking the standard mould of music experiences by picking pieces around a central theme rather than by how popular they are. Where I already had a vision of seeing the Lloyd family like an Australian Von Trapp family, the musical part of it, I now fully understand that they make sure the McLaren Vale hills are alive with the sound of music.