With pristine beaches, local wines and more than 500 kilometres of coastline to explore, Kangaroo Island is a dream destination. Spanning just over 150 kilometres from east to west, people have long been drawn to the island for its native bushland, wildlife and ocean. Whether you’re into walks, galleries and farmgates, or quadbiking, wreck-diving and swimming with dolphins, Kangaroo Island has it all – and that’s before you tour its cellar doors.
After facing devastating bushfires in summer 2020, the island’s tight community has worked hard to get back on track. Immense recovery work has followed – not just in the vines but right across the island. Get to know four highlight wineries below, and start planning your next getaway.
Bay of Shoals
Great wine, local produce and bay views await at Bay of Shoals.
Stop in at Bay of Shoals and you’re in for a special experience. You can enjoy a wine flight with a picnic-style hamper outside while looking over the bay, or step it up with a seafood platter to match the wines, and soak up the spectacular views. Private tastings can be also arranged on the verandah of historic Reeves cottage, so be sure to ask at the cellar door about all the options.
With sparkling wines, and traditional and alternative varieties, choose between the likes of riesling, chardonnay and arinto, or sparkling rosé, shiraz and more. As winemaker Kelvin Budarick says, the island's Mediterranean climate and its slower ripening season helps to produce intense fruit flavours and characters.
Flagship wine: 2019 Bay of Shoals Savagnin, $28
Floral aromatics and white peach notes lead to a full, luscious palate of nectarine and apricot, finishing with lively and crisp acidity.
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Limestone and recycled timbers add to the ambience at False Cape.
False Cape sits in an idyllic setting among the vineyard, garden and gumtrees on the Willson River. Here, you can enjoy the views while tasting through a premium wine flight, perhaps paired with a homemade pie or platter of local produce. The kids’ play area also allows for families to settle in.
Winemaker Greg Follett of Lake Breeze – 2022 Halliday Wine Companion Best Value Winery – makes this range, which benefits from terra rosa soils over limestone, north-facing slopes and proximity to the south coast, providing sea breezes and a cool climate for ripening. A diversity of styles are on offer, from pinot grigio and rosé to cabernet merlot and a fortified shiraz.
Flagship wine: 2020 False Cape Ships Graveyard Shiraz, $25
Lifted aromas of pepper and spice lead to a soft, supple palate and long seamless finish that will see it drinking well over the next five to six years.
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A hilltop location lets Springs Road visitors enjoy bucolic and bay views.
At the top of a long dirt driveway off the Playford Highway stands the Springs Road cellar door. Drive up the hill through the sheep paddocks, past the vineyards and chooks, and arrive at the top for the view east over Nepean Bay. You can enjoy the outlook from the cellar door’s large deck as you taste through the wines.
The wines here are made using grapes from very low-yielding Springs Road vines, including chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. Winemaker Joch Bosworth also believes it's the climate and long, cool ripening season that set the region apart, saying that sea breezes play the important role of moderating the ample sunshine.
Flagship wine: 2017 Springs Road Terre Napoleon Shiraz, $80
Bursting with dark fruit and a hint of orange peel, this medium- to full-bodied wine combines balance, poise, structure and length.
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The Islander Estate Vineyards
Visitors to The Islander Estate Vineyards can taste the range and enjoy a personalised experience.
Jacques Lurton is a fifth-generation winemaker from Bordeaux’s largest wine family. When he first visited Kangaroo Island, Jacques saw similarities between its cool maritime climate and the wine regions of France that he knew so well. So, when he founded his passion project, The Islander Estate Vineyards, in 2000, Jacques chose varietals such as semillon, cabernet franc and malbec. And, as general manager Yale Norris says, their location gives them the creative freedom to work with these grapes in new ways.
The tasting room here is pared back to ensure the experience is all about the wine and personal interaction with the team. “We want every guest to make a new wine discovery that they share with family and friends,” Yale says.
Flagship wine: 2015 The Islander Estate The Investigator Cabernet Franc, $150
This 100 per cent cabernet franc shows the variety’s classic leanness, with notes of dried herbs and fennel, and firm brooding tannins.
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This article was produced in partnership with the featured wineries.