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The Islander Estate Vineyards

News & Reviews

We love sharing our wines and our favourite parts of our beautiful Kangaroo Island.  Our blog shares our team's favourite ways to get the most from your visit when you're exploring Kangaroo Island.  And of course we like to share the latest news and wine reviews with you too!

Cath Williams
 
14 June 2021 | Cath Williams

Our favourite things to see & do on Kangaroo Island in winter

It’s a secret mostly only known by Island locals, Kangaroo Island is at its most beautiful in Winter. 

Spectacular windswept coastline, deserted beaches washed clean by the sea, stunning green fields full of winter lambs, wildlife in abundance.  And the best part?  You can join the locals in feeling like you have Kangaroo Island almost to yourself.

With so many Australians holidaying at home this year, the secret is out.  And local businesses like ours are loving having the Island humming during winter.  So, The Islander Estate team are sharing our favourite ways to make the most of Kangaroo Island during these stunning cool months.

Meander the delicious Tasting Trail

Where else could we start but with the opportunity to spend time with our fantastic array of local producers?
Our cellar doors and farm gates are more relaxed in winter.  Producers are always happy to see you and they have plenty of time to stop for a chat to share their story - and to learn yours.

Central to the Island, Cygnet River trail offers two cellar doors (The Islander Estate Vineyards and our neighbours Springs Road Wines) and Australia’s most awarded gin at Kangaroo Island Spirits.

If you enjoy a brew as much as wine, then Kangaroo Island Brewery is a fantastic spot a little further afield on the way to Emu Bay.  Stop for a paddle of their fantastic hand-built beers and a platter by the fire (check their Facebook page for opening days).  A little along the road Emu Bay Lavender are super popular for their lavender products and their café fare – their lavender scones are legendary and their curries and burgers are favourites for lunch. 

Back a little towards Kingscote, the wine tasting trail continues at Bay of Shoals wines just five minutes outside of Kingscote.  You can’t visit Kangaroo Island without experiencing our famous Ligurian honey – both Island Beehive and Cliffords Honey Farm are worth a stop.

Head east, stop in at The Oyster Farm Shop in American River – oysters are at their prime in winter.  Then continue the tasting trail at Dudley Wines for wines with a view and great pizza, or the fantastic new False Cape Wines cellar door, their platters are becoming famous.

 

A bird watcher's paradise

Kangaroo Island has over 260 bird species and they abound in winter in many sheltered spots.

Just minutes from The Islander Estate Tasting Room, Duck Lagoon fills with winter rains and attracts a huge array of birdlife (you might see more than one Koala sharing the trees with the birds).  Stop in for a visit at our Tasting Room, grab a bottle of wine, cheeses and French charcuterie then spend a peaceful hour or two picnicking and bird watching. If you're with the family, the kids will have a ball koala spotting here.

Stormy southerlies from the Southern Ocean often bring in albatross and other pelagic species – Cape du Couedic is a favourite location for local birders. Endangered Glossy Black-cockatoo are nesting at this time of year and feeding near Penneshaw, American River and Stokes Bay, as are Yellow-tailed Cocktaoos. Cape Barren Geese are also seen in abundance with their young during winter. Be sure to view nesting areas from afar to avoid disturbing nesting pairs.

In the quiet of winter evenings (the stars on Kangaroo Island are definitely worth an evening venture), you may hear Cuckoos calling – hearingtheir distintictive “mo-poke... mo-poke” call is something special.

 

Kangaroo Island winter beach walks

Stormy Beach Walks

Nothing is as refreshing as a beach walk during a winter storm to restore the soul – and of course to give you a good excuse to recover with an afternoon curled up with a wine by the fire.

For spectacular rolling surf, visit the south coast beaches like D’Estrees Bay, Vivonne Bay and Hanson Bay.  Kangaroo Island's north coast offers more protected beach walks, washed clean by the rain.  Our favourites include Western River Cove, Snellings Beach and Stokes Bay 

In the east of the Island, Antechamber Bay is truly spectacular and you can follow up a beach walk with a sheltered picnic by nearby Chapman River.

Winter lambs in the fields on Kangaroo Island

Green fields full of new life

Nothing represents the renewal that Winter brings to our region like vibrant green fields full of bounding baby lambs, bright white with their new wool. They represent the promise of future prosperity for our region’s farmers and they simply make you smile.  It's worth keeping an eye out in paddocks all over the Island and stopping the car to watch their antics.

At this time of year Echidnas begin breeding, if you see an Echidna train it’s a very lucky day indeed so keep an eye out on roadside verges and wherever you are hiking.  And baby joeys begun venturing from their mother’s pouch to feed all over the Island, but often visible at Pelican Lagoon.

Winter beach fishing on Kangaroo Island

Hauling in a bounty 

Kangaroo Islanders often say the best meal you can have is fish, freshly caught yourself, cooked and shared with friends (with a fantastic local wine of course). 

The weather may be a little wilder, but the fishing can be at its best during winter, especially in the calm that follows a storm, when the fish often bite the hardest.  Whether you are fishing from a beach, a jetty or boat, bringing home your bag limit of our famous King George Whiting is a satisfying way to spend a day.  They are at their plump best in winter and extra active as they breed.

Salmon Trout can be caught from beaches like Hanson Bay (our tip, cooked super fresh in a beer batter perfect with Pinot Gris) and squid from jetties.  If you have a boat, Nannygai are great catching and eating.

Do make sure you’re familiar with Kangaroo Island’s protected by Marine Parks and Marine Park Sanctuary Zones and bag and size limits before you head out fishing.  Get all the essential info from Tourism Kangaroo Island's KI Fishing Guide. Or for a guaranteed catch, hook up with one of Kangaroo Island’s fishing charters and let the experts find the fish.

And if you can't catch them yourself, stock up in American River at The Oyster Farm Shop or KI Fresh Seafoods in Kingscote for the freshest local fish.


Southern Wright Whale in the waters around Kangaroo Island

Watching monsters leap from the sea

There are over 80 whale species in the world, 29 of these species visit our South Australian waters each year.

The Southern Right Whale, one of the largest, weighs up to 80 tons and grows to 18 metres in length. They are the most frequent whale visitors to Kangaroo Island waters, and often travel past between May and September before they return to Antarctic waters in October. Look for them close inshore right around the coast. Mothers may rest with young in more sheltered bays.

Blue Whales and Humpback Whales also visit, and Killer Whales (Orcas) sometimes drop by for a seal meal.

Kangaroo Island's native orchids flower in Winter

Hunting for native orchids

With such amazing vistas and coastlines, it can easy to focus on the wider landscape when taking a winter hike on Kangaroo Island.

But for a mindfulness exercise that will have you reconnecting with the details and forgetting everything, there is no better activity a hunt for our native orchids. With over 80 native species, a hunt for these tiny but spectacular flower really makes you slow to a meander and absorb the beauty to be found on a micro-level.

Whether it’s these tiny flowers, lichen and fungi, flowering native ground shrubs or the spectacular Wattle it’s worth slowing down and meandering.

One of our favourite spots is American River’s Cannery Walk.  Find out more here

Cooking around the campfire is a special Kangaroo Island winter experience

Slow cooking over a Bonfire

Gather your mates, light a fire, have a few wines while you wait for the coals to burn low, then nestle a camp oven on the coals.  It takes a while to cook but there's nothing better than passing the time with good conversation, plenty of red wine and a jam if you have a guitar on hand.

Spending an afternoon this way is iconicially Kangaroo Island.  And there’s nothing better than slow cooked local lamb, vegetables and red wine simmered for hours.

So what are you waiting for?  Start planning your cool season trip to Kangaroo Island.  We'll see you soon!

Tourism Kangaroo Island
South Australian Tourism Commission
Time Posted: 14/06/2021 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Our favourite things to see & do on Kangaroo Island in winter Permalink
Cath Williams
 
27 May 2021 | Cath Williams

Close up on Chardonnay

May 27th is International Chardonnay Day.
It’s the most widely planted white grape variety in the world.  And its time has come around again.  So, let’s get reacquainted with Chardonnay.

Chardonnay’s Origins

Chardonnay’s birthplace is the Burgundy region of France, in a small village of the same name.  Chardon being the French name for a thistle, chardonnay’s name originates from “place of thistles”.  Believed to be from the Noirien family of grapes, chardonnay is descended from Pinot Noir and the ancient variety Gouais Blanc.

In Burgundy, where chardonnay is known simply as white Burgundy, it is the most prized white grape variety, seen as truly capturing the region’s incredible terroir. Although it originated in France, chardonnay is now grown in almost every wine region on Earth, mostly because of its ability to adapt to different environments and grow almost anywhere.

Chardonnay down under

Chardonnay was first bought to Australia by James Busby (widely known as the ‘father of Australian wine’) who planted the first cuttings to Australia in the 1830s.  It didn’t become a core Australian variety for almost a hundred years, but by the 1980’s chardonnay became on of the most recognised Australian white wine varieties; flourishing in our climate and mainly produced in robust, rich, ripe and buttery styles.

Over the next several decades Australian wine consumers palates changed as they moved towards the zesty, higher acidity alternatives like Marlborough sauvignon blanc. Australian winemakers began to adapt, taking advantage of chardonnay's ability to take on many different characters guided by the winemaker’s technique. 

Today chardonnay accounts for more than half of Australia’s white wine production, having a renaissance in a more lighter style closer to the Chablis style of France. This contemporary style has inspired The Islander Estate Vineyard’s The White Chardonnay.

Chablis Style Chardonnay

Located in the Burgundy region of France (also famous for Pinot Noir), the Chablis appellation lies in the north, alongside the River Serein with the best vineyards planted along the south facing slopes.  Chardonnay here is all about the terroir.

Forget all your preconceptions of oaky, buttery Chardonnay.  The Chablis style is entirely different, some say this style is the purest form of Chadonnay, fermented in steel, usually with little or no oak so the Chardonna grapes' taste and arome can shine.  The Chablis wine style is dry, lean, light-bodied with higher acidity and green apple, citrus and minteral notes.

At our Tasting Room two of our most common guests comments are "I don't usually really like chardonnay but this is really nice" or "Sauvignon Blanc is my go-to white wine, but this is really delicious". 

Are you a champagne lover? Then you'll like Chardonnay. 

Chardonnay is the main component of most champagne’s (blended with its mother variety, Pinot Noir as it is in our Petiyante sparkling).  And if you’re a fan of Blanc de Blancs you’re drinking a champagne made entirely of chardonnay.

Chardonnay’s food companions

Our The White Chardonnay is designed for everyday drinking, we think it makes a phenomenal sunset glass of wine with friends or with a simple soft cheese, but there are loads of cool weather matches with chardonnay.  Simply, chardonnay prefers subtle spices and creamy or buttery flavours with seafood, chicken or even port. Try it with a few of these classic Autumn dishes:

Vegetable Risotto
Classic Roast Chicken
Garlic Prawns Vegetable Soups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drink now or wait?

Contemporary unoaked styles just like our The White Chardonnay is made in an everyday drink now style but can happily hang out in your wine rack for two years.  More heavily oaked examples offer more cellaring potential.

Get intimate with Islander Estate The White Chardonnay

Priced for everyday drinking, now is great time to get your hands on The White.  Order a case, pay for 11 and we'll add the 12th on us.  Click on the image below to add some to your shopping cart now.

Time Posted: 27/05/2021 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Close up on Chardonnay Permalink
Cath Williams
 
1 May 2021 | Cath Williams

The Islander Estate Vineyards Awarded Star Cellar Door, Best Large Cellar Door & Best Tasting Experience

Being recognising in one category of Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine's annual Australia's Best Cellar Door Awards is compliment enough, but we're positively blushing at the recognition in the 20201 awards.  

Kangaroo Island has a great range of Cellar Doors, each offering a different experience, a different approach & a range of cool-climate wines to explore. Everything that helps promote our island wine region is a positive and of course we don't mind when we share in the recognition.

Jump over to GT Wine Magazine to read their fantastic write up on our region & our other great winemakers to visit. Thanks so much for showcasing Kangaroo Island wine. Read Here

Time Posted: 01/05/2021 at 5:46 PM Permalink to The Islander Estate Vineyards Awarded Star Cellar Door, Best Large Cellar Door & Best Tasting Experience Permalink
Cath Williams
 
31 March 2021 | Cath Williams

Vintage 2021 - Our return to the business of wine


Vintage 2021 is the first page in our new chapter

This time a year ago we were still coming to terms with the impact of January's fires.  Jacques Lurton was here taking steps to protect our precious wine stocks.  Yale Norris focussed on the endless task of fire recovery which would take many more months and included the very difficult move of cutting down a good proportion of our vineyard to aid its regrowth. The path ahead was long & unclear. There have been innumerable challenges to overcome since.

In a huge contrast, earlier this month we returned to the business of making wine with the first pick of Vintage 2021. We did so with the help of an amazing group of customers, friends and supporters who volunteered to help us hand-pick Sauvignon Blanc and Tempranillo from Michael Lane's vineyard at American River.   It was a truly uplifting way to get back to business.

Since then, our General Manager Yale Norris has been working tirelessly to ensure we can offer our customers the complement of our wine ranges from vintage 2021.    

We’ve sourced some amazing fruit from Kangaroo Island growers and a little further away in McLaren Vale where we needed to.

Sampling Majestic Plough Malbec 2021In our cooler maritime climate on Kangaroo Island, many of the red grapes are still ripening, but we have some fantastic Sauv Blanc, Semillon, Rose, Tempranillo and Malbec all fermenting &/or ageing.

This is a vintage unlike any other in the history of The Islander Estate Vineyards and one we will never forget.  But for us is a step that means we have left recovery behind and are rebuilding our business each and every day. 

We look forward to introducing you to our Vintage 2021 wines.   

Time Posted: 31/03/2021 at 1:00 PM Permalink to Vintage 2021 - Our return to the business of wine Permalink