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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!

Yale Norris
 
23 March 2020 | Yale Norris

Issue 2 of News from the fire ground: The journey towards recovery

Almost 12 weeks since January's bushfires we have made huge strides in recovery & our commitment to Kangaroo Island wine is stronger than ever.

Jacques Lurton's passion & committment to showcasing Kangaroo Island's wine potential is stronger than ever. 

Having spent the last month on Kangaroo Island assisting the vineyard recovery and crafting wines for bottling, Jacques shares this message of thanks and committment to the region.

 

Moving towards recovery in the vineyard

The initial 6 weeks following the fire focussed on clean-up of the Estate and ensuring all areas are safe. It has lifted the spirits of our team to have the ruins of the vineyard manager's house and equipment sheds removed, all unsafe trees removed and the cleanup complete.

In more recent weeks we have shifted our focus to preparing the vineyard for potential regeneration. As a first step, amazing local volunteers spent countless hours manually removing the vineyard wiring and irrigation to prepare for the next phase.

They were followed by the incredible organisation that is Team Rubicon Australia, an international disaster response nonprofit that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans and first responders to provide relief to communities in need such as ours.

Working together in military unit style organisation, the team undertook the back-breaking task of cutting the vines thoughout the vineyard to just a few inches above the ground.  By removing the burnt cordon and trunks, we allow the roots to focus all its energy on producing shoots for regrowth.

We have such gratitude for the many volunteers whose passion for our business continues to drive us towards recovery.

It will be Spring before we have a firm understanding of the areas of the vineyard that have produced shoots and survived the cold of winter, so we are largely in Mother Natures hands until September.  However we see new promise in the vineyard each day.

Getting back into wine production

Jacques has been back on the Kangaroo Island Estate he loves for the past month.  In addition to assisting with the work in the vineyard Jacques has been tending to our wines in barrel and tank. 

We are pleased to advise that our total wine stock loss was restricted to only 3 barrels (now part of a secret new product development).

All other wines were protected via the action of our team prior to the fires.  With blending and bottling of a number of our 2019 vintage releases complete, we are excited to advise a number new wines are in pipeline and we look forward to releasing these over coming months. 

Our Discoverer's Wine Club members will have exclusive access to new releases in the April wine club packs and there's still time to join.

Become a Discoverer's Wine Club member now

 

Time Posted: 23/03/2020 at 3:08 PM
Yale Norris
 
23 March 2020 | Yale Norris

Update 23 March: Covid-19 - Tasting Room & Online sales

Send Wine!

An update on how we will continue to ensure you have enough great wine on-hand to get you through the coming weeks.

On Kangaroo Island:  Tasting Room pick up & local delivery service

For the safety of our staff, families, community & visitors our Tasting Room has closed as of 23rd March.  However we welcome pickup orders & we are offering a local delivery service to your doorstep in many areas of Kangaroo Island.

To arrange a pickup order: Simply order online & select the PickUp tab in the checkout screen.  We will contact you to arrange a collection time for your order & pop your wine in your boot.  You can also order via phone at our Tasting Room (08) 8553 9008.  

Local Delivery:  For orders of 12 bottles or more we offer a complimentary delivery service to the following locations:  Cygnet River, Emu Bay, Kingscote, American River, Island Beach, Penneshaw & other Dudley Peninsula locations.  Place your order online or via phone at the Tasting Room.

Order Now

 

Australia Wide:  Online orders

Our online orders are flowing freely with delivery Australia wide via Australia Post.  Please note that new conditions mean that Australia Post will only leave orders on your doorstep, no signatures will be collected for proof of delivery.  When ordering, please add a note letting us know a safe place where Australia Post can leave your wine.

Order Now

 

Discoverer's Wine Club:  April Wine Packs

We are currently preparing some extra special packs for our most valued customers, our Discoverer's Wine Club members.  Our April wine packs are expected to be despatched early next week & will be delivered by Australia Post as usual.  There is still time to join the club, sign up online by Friday 27th March. 

Join Now

 

Time Posted: 23/03/2020 at 1:09 PM
Yale Norris
 
4 February 2020 | Yale Norris

News from the fire ground: The journey towards recovery

It has been a little over four weeks since the fire storm that claimed The Islander Estate Vineyards estate. 
As we begin to move from the immediate crisis response towards planning our rebuild, we want to share more information with the many industry partners, customers, community members & volunteers who have supported us in these difficult weeks.

View through the bush-vine Shiraz to the pine forest beyond before the 10th January 2020 fire.

The same bush-vine Shiraz view post fire.

Background:

Summer 2019/2020 has seen the most devastating fire season Kangaroo Island has even known.  Major fires, sparked by dry lightening strikes, began burning on Kangaroo Island mid-December.  On January 3rd storms sparked new bushfires on the western end of the Island, the extreme weather conditions created a firestorm which burnt approx 30% of the western end of the Island including the Flinders Chase National Park several wilderness areas.  On January 10th strong winds fanning existing firegrounds caused a second firestorm which pushed the fires east and north to claim a total of 48% and over 210,000 hectres of the Island. 

This second fire, fuelled by nearby commercial pine plantations and the stunning Parndana Conservation area bordering The Islander Estate Vineyards property, caused the loss of our entire 280-hectare property including the farm, 11-hectare vineyard, vineyard equipment, irrigation, offices, wine lab, sheds, housing and water sources.  The destruction also claimed the property’s 80 hectares of pristine remnant native bush and 150 hectares of cropping land.

View from the vineyard gate across the property pre-fire


The same view post-fire 


Former offices & wine lab


​Vineyard manager's residence

Our Current Situation:

The Estate: 

The first few weeks of recovery have been spent clearing critical areas of the property to make them safe, securing basic resouces such as power, water, telecommunications and conducting a full assessment of the extent of damage across the estate.

Determining the true extent of the damage to our vineyard will take a little more time as many factors influence the prospects of recovery for the vines.  We have been fortunate to access expertise from many sources including Toby Bekker of Bekkers Wines (who helped plant our vineyard in 2000) and the team at Shaw and Smith who have first hand experience from the recent Adelaide Hills fires.

A first step currently underway is to remove damaged irrigation and wiring from the vines to clear the way for any live vines to be cut back at ground level to encouraging new shoots before winter.

Within a few weeks we will be better able to identify areas of the vineyard offer potential for rehabilitation and then to plan the way forward for future vintages.

Like most fire-impacted wine businesses, we will not have a 2020 vintage but within the next few months, we fully expect to have plans in place for vintage 2021 and beyond.

Wine Stocks:  

Before the 9th January fire hit the property, our team had the opportunity to take measures to protect our wine stocks in bottle, barrel and tanks.  

All of our wine stocks have been preserved and our business is operating as normal from a sales perspective.

Continued support from our customers is critical to providing the financial resources to keep our staff engaged and to begin building towards recovery.

We will be undertaking a bottling in the new few weeks, which will ensure we have a continued supply of the majority of our most popular wines.

Our cellar door at Cygnet River was unaffected by the fire and is operating at its regular hours, 6 days a week, noon to 5pm (closed Wed). 

The Cygnet River Artisan Trail has been untouched by fire and is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon supporting local wine, spirit, food and art producers.

Our online sales are flowing smoothly, sending orders Australia wide to our many wonderful customers & supporters.

Our Discoverer's Wine Club continues to grow and provide our most valued customers with excellent value and access to our limited and new releases.


The Estate's cropping land merging with remnant native bush pre-fire 


​Post fire in the same spot

Our gratitute:

Some significant steps have already been made towards recovery, and we could not have taken these without an immemse amount of support from so many sources, some official, some unofficial, from friends, from neighbours, from volunteers and from total strangers who have offered to assist us along the way.

Thanks to the Australian Defence Force personnel who undertook so much of the clean up and heavy work of tree felling immediately following the fire when we were still in shock.  They continue to assist us today in the vineyard.  To Blazeaid and their volunteers who are helping so many to reestablish critical fencing across the Island.

To our neighbours, friends and families too numerous to mention but you know who you are and we have immense gratitude for your support.

To the fellow winemakers who have stepped in to actively help us assess the vineyard and offer us their resources: Mike Brown and the Gemtree team, Toby Bekkers from Bekkers Wines, Martin, Adam, Murray and the Shaw and Smith team.

Our Future Plans:

While it will take some time to determine the future of our vineyard, one thing is in no doubt.  We are more passionate and determined than ever to produce unique wines which show the true potential of Kangaroo Island as an emerging wine region. 

We know the recovery effort will be huge and it will take a number of years for our small team to return to full production, but like all Kangaroo Islander’s we are resilient and resourceful, so the only way to move is forward.

The support from our customers in the form of kind words, messages of support and orders spurs us forward. So please come visit us on Kangaroo Island, bring your friends and family, drop into our cellar door for a tasting, visit our neighbours on the intimate Cygnet River Artisan Trail.  We look forward to welcoming you.

Order Now

Plan a visit

Time Posted: 04/02/2020 at 6:00 PM
Cath Williams
 
8 August 2019 | Cath Williams

Halliday's 2020 Wine Companion 95+ wines

Halliday's Half Dozen:
Our 95+ point wines from the 2020 Australian Wine Companion

James Halliday is an unmatched authority in Australia on every aspect of the wine industry, a respected wine critic and vigneron with a career that spans almost 50 years.  His annual Halliday Wine Companion is recognised as Australia’s most comprehensive tasting note library.

It goes without saying that any winery is proud to have their wines featured in the Australian Wine Companion.  And while, every wine lover's own palate is the most important judge of the wine they like to drink, many wine lovers also rely on the Wine Companion as a guide to the best of Australian wine.

Any wine that rates between 94 and 100 points in the Halliday Wine Companion is considered to be outstanding, of the highest quality, and often with a distinguished pedigree. So we're thrilled to share the wines rated 95+ points in this year's Wine Companion.  See the Wine Companion team's tasting notes and ratings below.

2017 Wally White
Semillon
95 points



Hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed, cloudy juice fermented with cultured yeast in demi-muids, left on fermentation lees for two years with low sulphur. A very complex, full-bodied semillon that has no parallel I have tasted or read about. It's layered, with notes of biscuit and honey, the acidity ample to provide balance.

2018 Bark Hut Rd
Shiraz/Cab Franc

95 points
 

70% cabernet franc, 30% shiraz, wild-fermented, some whole bunches. Deep colour; unashamedly full-bodied, with velvety black fruits, the depth seeming to come from the shiraz licorice and tar. Not for us to argue - it is what it is. And beyond doubt decades away from its use-by date.

2018 Old Rowley
Shiraz/Grenache
95 points


A hand-picked 60/40% grenache/shiraz blend, matured in a demi-muid for 7 months on heavy lees. A full-bodied wine with tannins part of the landscape, sultry red and black fruits the major part. Finishes with conviction, and a savoury farewell. Built to age

2015 The Investigator
Cabernet Franc
95 points


Hand-picked, destemmed into demi-muids for wild fermentation, 20% skins return, maceration continued until mlf complete, the wine drained and the skins and stems passed through the hand basket press, matured for 2 years on lees in demi-muids. Jacques Lurton has always loved cabernet franc, and this spicy red-fruited wine, plus its diamond dust tannins, shows why.

2015 The Cygnet
Shiraz
97 points


Hand-picked bushvine vineyard, destemmed into demi-muids for wild fermentation and extended maceration on skins until mlf completed, the juice run off and the skins pressed in a hand-operated basket press, blended after 2 years in demi-muids. An extremely complex and powerful wine with black fruits, spices, oak, tannins, earth and sea spray moulded into a single flame of flavour.

2015 The Independence
Malbec
96 points


Barrel-fermented in specially adapted demi-muids, followed by 5-6 week post-fermentation maceration, then pressed to 50/50% new and used demis. It makes no apologies for its full-bodied palate, but the primary flavours are profoundly varietal, the tannins firm but ripe.

Shop the Halliday Range now

Time Posted: 08/08/2019 at 5:00 PM
Cath Williams
 
16 July 2019 | Cath Williams

Jacques Lurton, new president of Les Vignobles André Lurton

Vignobles André Lurton announce
Jacques Lurton as new group President

The Islander Estate Vineyards has always represented the connection of two vastly different worlds of wine.  The remote, untamed environment of Kangaroo Island, one of the world's newest wine regions.  And the history and finesse of the Lurton family's six-generation Boardeaux wine heritage.  

Our connection has never been stronger than now, as Jacques Lurton takes the reins as President and Chairman of the André Lurton group, following his father's passing in May. 

Vignobles André Lurton includes 9 Châteaux including Château Couhins-Lurton, Château Dauzac, Château La Louvière and Château Bonnet, across 7 appellations - Pessac-Léognan, Margaux,  Lussac-Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur, Entre-Deux-Mers and Graves.

Jacques role as owner and lead winemaker for The Islander Estate Vineyards will remain unchanged.  As it has for the past 19 years, Kangaroo Island and The Islander Estate Vineyards remains the Jacque's special place for  creative, hands-on winemaking.

Read the full annoucement at www.andrelurton.com

 

Time Posted: 16/07/2019 at 8:30 AM
Cath Williams
 
13 May 2019 | Cath Williams

Gourmet Traveller Wine Best Cellar Door Awards 2019

It's part of The Islander Estate Vineyard's mission to help put the Kangaroo Island wine region on the world map of fine wine.  Our Tasting Room established in September 2017 has enabled us to connect many thousands of visitors to the region with our regional wine story and Jacques Lurton's inspiration for making cool climate wines here.

A big thanks to Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine for recognising our efforts in their 2019 Best Cellar Door Awards, we love the variety of wine and experiences offered by our region's cellar doors.

 

Time Posted: 13/05/2019 at 2:34 PM
Cath Williams
 
13 May 2019 | Cath Williams

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit gets up close and personal with Islander Estate

Kangaroo Island was featured extensively in Sports llustrated's 2019 Swimsuit issue.  The SI Swimsuit team sat down with Islander Estate's General Manager Yale Norris to chat about what drew him across the world to Kangaroo Island and makes it the perfect place to make wine and a home. Check out the article here.

Time Posted: 13/05/2019 at 1:55 PM
Cath Williams
 
1 February 2019 | Cath Williams

A Year In The Vineyard

September/October:  Inflorescence – Also known as 'Budburst' signals the official start of the new growing season.

November:  Floraison – the buds begin to flower before producing tiny bunches.

Late November/December: Fruit set – now we begin to get a good idea of bunch development and quality on the vine with an insight into how vintage may shape up if the god’s are kind.

Late January: ‘Veraison' – the beginning of ripening where berries turn from green and begin to turn purple, red and golden.  A tipping point when the vine begins to focus its energy on development sweetness in the grapes.

March to May: Harvest! Can begin from late February but most often in March. We will pick for six to eight weeks, checking the vineyard daily and hand-picking only what is perfectly ready. From early May, the focus of the winemaking crew turns away from the vineyard and into the winery.

June - September: Even as the grapes are harvested, the green foliage begins the yellow and leaves drop. As the weather turns cold, the vine withdraws its energy to the roots and returns to their dormant state. The vineyard slows but doesn’t stop as our pruning crew methodically work their way through the vineyard hand-pruning.

Time Posted: 01/02/2019 at 11:40 AM
Cath Williams
 
5 January 2019 | Cath Williams

15 Things to do on Kangaroo Island

Travel journalist Irene Issacon travelled to Kangaroo Island for Travel2Next and shares her 15 must-do things to include in your itinerary to Kangaroo Island.  Thanks for the recommendation Irene!

Read her article on Travel2Next here

Time Posted: 05/01/2019 at 4:31 PM
Cath Williams
 
18 August 2018 | Cath Williams

James Halliday has a taste for The Islander Estate Vineyards

One of Australia's most respected wine critics, James Halliday's annual Wine Companion is the bible for Australian wine lovers and winemakers. 

A big thanks to James for his articles featuring The Islander Estate Vineyards, in The Weekend Australian's Weekend magazine. 

Featuring reviews of 2017 Sangiovease (92 points, sold out, click to find our 2018 vintage online), 2015 Majestic Plough Malbec (91 points, sold out, join our mailing list for our next release) and our latest Flagship range launch 2015 The Independence Malbec (96 points, available online and via our Tasting Room).

You can read the article online here. 

Time Posted: 18/08/2018 at 2:15 PM