Padthaway is a rich cluster of vines, agricultural plantations and rural businesses that stand collectively at the heart of the wine region.
At first glance, Padthaway is a small community, but its vibrancy outweighs the populace as vignerons, farmers and other members work hard to keep the pastures thriving. This Limestone Coast subregion prides itself on producing fresh vegetables while vanguard winemakers continue to diversify with various grape varieties.
Padthaway has thousands of hectares of vineyards and the area sustains around 30 wine producers. Key varieties here are cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and shiraz. The vineyards are unmissable as visitors enter the township, and thanks to the clay-rich soils and underground irrigation, the region yields fine fruits.
Here you can appreciate a leisurely country pace and tranquil lifestyle between the vineyards and open pastures. Introduce yourself to the locals and get a feel for this close-knit community. Visitors can expect to arrive within a three-hour drive from Adelaide or 40-minute drive from Naracoorte.
James Halliday on Padthaway
If Coonawarra is not quite on the way to anywhere, Padthaway is on the way to nowhere. If you can pass through Coonawarra without noticing very much, you can pass through Padthaway without noticing anything at all. Its birth was both recent and humble, and initially, the major wine companies (which have a near monopoly on its plantings) entirely misread its potential. Yet 40 years after the first vines were planted there, and notwithstanding the degree of trial and error, it is an unambiguously important producer of premium-quality wines.
The region’s potential was pinpointed by a Seppelt committee appointed in the early 1960s to select suitable vineyard sites for large-scale planting of early-ripening grape varieties. The requirements were ready availability of land (at a modest price), a cool climate and plentiful water for irrigation. The committee’s research turned up a 1944 CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) report which had focused on a 3200-hectare strip of country north of Naracoorte – about 300 kilometres south-east of Adelaide, near the South Australia-Victoria border – and which concluded: “The soil type is variable in depth and there are usually some stony portions on each of the small patches in which it occurs. It is a terra rossa soil ... the deeper sites of the terra rossa soils should make first-class garden soils.
Only then did the Seppelt viticulturists visit the region, and duly identified a strip running for 16 kilometres along the Naracoorte to Padthaway road, and which fell within the narrow 550 mm rainfall zone – but with unlimited underground water. One of the nearby principal farming and grazing properties was Keppoch Park, and Seppelt gave the name Keppoch to the region, a choice initially adopted by Thomas Hardy when it purchased its first land in 1968. Lindemans arrived the same year, but selected land further north, at Padthaway, and used that name. Wynns, the other big company landholder, has never made a regional wine (all of its production is blended, some into sparkling wine) so did not enter the tug-of-war over the name.
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Early March to early May