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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
 
7 November 2022 | Cath Williams

Our favourite things to see & do on Kangaroo Island

We love sharing our Kangaroo Island home with guests. Here are just a few of our team's favourite places to visit, things to do, and places to eat, drink & stay. So you can explore Kangaroo Island like a local.

Stay Central:  Cygnet River, Kingscote & Surrounds

The area encompassing Cygnet River, Kingscote & Emu Bay offers a fantastic half-day cellar door cruise (or add in breakfast & lunch for a full date saunter).  There are plenty of things to see & do between tastings.


TASTE:

THE ISLANDER ESTATE VINEYARDS
How could we not invite you to visit our intimate Tasting Room first & foremost?  We pride ourselves in providing personally hosted tastings, showcasing our handcrafted wines which blend the best of old-world French winemaking techniques with the creative freedom & stunning environment Kangaroo Island offers.

The Islander Estate Vineyards is both Kangaroo Island's only Halliday Wine Companion 5-star rated winery & Australian Gourmet Traveller Wines Star Cellar Door 2022.

Book one of our premium food & wine experiences & save.  Or indulge in a private tasting experiences.

Visit us 6 days a week (closed Wednesday), noon to 5pm
78 Gum Creek Road, Cygnet River, Kangaroo Island

SPRINGS ROAD WINES
Our neighbours and friends Joch Bosworth & Louise Hemsley-Smith grow classic Australian varietals at their Springs Road vineyard (orignally a sheep farm). They also own the respected McLaren Vale winery Battle of Bosworth which has been accredited organic for almost thirty years, so they have great credentials.  Drop into their cellar door for a tasting.
Don't miss: The Terre Napolean Shiraz.
761 Playford Hwy, Cygnet River, Kangaroo Island
www.springsroad.com.au

KANGAROO ISLAND SPIRITS
Have you even been to Kangaroo Island if you haven't had a cocktail in the KI Spirits gin garden?   Their recent expansion means they offer fantastic gin blending & cocktail classes.
Don't miss: We love the Mulberry Gin
856 Playford Hwy, Cygnet River, Kangaroo Island
www.kangarooislandspirits.com.au

BAY OF SHOALS WINES
Just a few minutes outside of the town of Kingscote, visit to take in the wonderful views across the vineyard to the sea over a tasting or a picnic hamper.
Don't miss: Alternative white varietals from Spain like Albarino & Arinto.
749 Cordes Rd, Kingscote, Kangaroo Island
wwww.bayofshoalswines.com.au

EMU BAY LAVENDER
Set amongst commercial lavender groves which yield a wonderful variety of lavender products, Emu Bay Lavender offers some of the best breakfasts on Kangaroo Island & great lunches to boot.
Don't miss: For brunch - Eggs Benedict with a glass of bubbles.  At lunch the Johl Momo Dumplings are fantastic.
205 Emu Bay Rd, Wisanger, Kangaroo Island       
www.emubaylavenderfarm.com

THE ODD PLATE - Temporarily closed due to fire, stay tuned for reopening info.
Kingscote's hottest dining venue, created by team Dylan & Yolandi in a 1927 heritage guesthouse, The Odd Plate has set the town abuzz.
Don't miss: Sit back & experience the sharing menu (& the cocktails are amazing)
51 Chapman Tce, Kingscote, Kangaroo Island 
www.theoddplate.com.au

CAFE BELLA
If a long day of touring has you craving an easy dinner, Cafe Bella pumps out delicious pizza and pasta from their tiny cafe in Dauncey Street, Kingscote.  Dine in or get take-away to enjoy on the seafront lawns with a delicious glass or three of local Sangiovese.
64 Dauncey Street, Kingscote, Kangaroo Island
www.bellacafekangarooisland.com.au

OZONE HOTEL
As well as being the primary hotel in Kingscote for accommodation, the Ozone Hotel has a bistro restaurant serving great quality modern Australian & pub food.  If you're planning to eat in, the bottle shop has a lovely selection of Kangaroo Island wines.
67 Chapman Terrace, Kingscote, Kangaroo Island
www.ozonehotelki.com.au

EXPLORE

DUCK LAGOON NATURE RESERVE
Just a few minutes from The Islander Estate Vineyards' tasting room, Duck Lagoon Nature Reserve is a secret picnic spot alive with native wildlife.  It has bird hides, picnic tables, BBQs & toilets onsite.
Don't miss: Look up as well; there are koalas to find!
Duck Lagoon Road, Cygnet River, Kangaroo Island

EMU BAY BEACH
With calm waters and stunning white sand, Em Bay is the local beach for many Kangaroo Islanders for after-work swims with a cold wine in hand.
Don't miss: Dolphins cruising by.
Emu Bay Road, Emu Bay, Kangaroo Island

KANGAROO ISLAND E-BIKE TOURS
A new way to experience Kangaroo Island from our friends at Exceptional Kangaroo Island.  Put yourself in the hands of a local expert on the Gin, Wine & Wildlife E-Bike Tour.  It's an easy ride on their modern e-bikes along back roads & to visit secret spots while you take in a cellar door trail of the Cygnet River area.
Don't miss:  A fully catered lunch in a secluded private bush setting alongside the Cygnet River.         www.exceptionalkangarooisland.com.au

STAY

HAMILTON & DUNE
Two of the most luxurious homes on Emu Bay & our favourite place to deliver a private wine masterclass.
Don't miss: A private catered degustation dinner overlooking the ocean.
Dune Road, Emu Bay, Kangaroo Island                
www.hamiltondune.com.au

STOWAWAY
If you're seeking luxury couples' accommodation, Stowaway has luxury covered to the very last detail.  From a private sauna, double-sided wood fire, huge bath & outdoor hot tub with the ocean, farm-scape and native bushland views where the only visitors might be local kangaroos.
Don't miss: A glass of champagne in the bath watching the sunset.
3923 North Coast Road, Stokes Bay, Kangaroo Island
www.stowawayki.com.au

THE CAPE
Stunning self contained accommodation for 8 people with paonormic views across Emu Bay beach.  If you're holidays with friends or family, The Cape is a great option.
Don't Miss:  Cocktails on the deck at sunset
61 Bayview Road, Emy Bay
www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/31193629

 

Go East:  Dudley Peninsula

Most people start & finish their Kangaroo Island holiday on the eastern end of Kangaroo Island.  While many of the main tourist attractions are on the western end, it's well worth allocating some time to exploring Kangaroo Island's Dudley Peninsula.

TASTE

MILLIE MAE' S PANTRY
An overnight cafe icon in Penneshaw, the garden setting is as good as the delicious food for breakfast or lunch.
Don't miss: Mimosa for breakfast?  Don't mind if we do!
Nat Thomas Street, Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island           
www.milliemaespantry.com

PENNESHAW PUB
This historic pub has been keeping locals & visitors fed & watered since 1886.  It's been renovated many times since & today the place to spend an afternoon is on their outdoor terrace with spectacular views overlooking backstairs passage.  You may even spot a whale while you sip on a glass of wine.  The food is also delicious for lunch & dinner.
Don't miss:  Live music afternoons on the terrace
North Terrace, Penneshaw
www.penneshawpub.com.au

DUDLEY WINES
Dudley Wines is run by one of the oldest farming families on the Dudley Peninsula.  Their Cellar Door at Cuttlefish Bay has spectacular views back to mainland Australia that can't be beaten.
Don't miss: A tasting paddle over lunch & a hit of golf
1153 Cape Willoughby Road, Cuttlefish Bay, Kangaroo Island
www.dudleywines.com.au

EXPLORE

KANGAROO ISLAND SCULPTURE TRAIL
This 4.5-hectare art trail nestled amongst the sand dunes of Penneshaw is a testament to a group of dedicated community volunteers. The Kangaroo Island Sculpture trail is a must-do experience featuring a growing collection of art from local, national & international artists.
Don't miss: Scan the QR codes on each installation to hear directly from the artist
Frenchmans Tce, Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island
www.kangarooislandsculpturetrail.com

BOOMERBANK
Found object sculptor Indiana James has been a favourite KI artist for many years. Stop at his Pelican Lagoon gallery for an authentically Kangaroo Island experience.
Don't miss: Wife Linda's handmade hats.
3196 Hog Bay Rd, Pelican Lagoon, Kangaroo Island         
www.indianajames.com.au

BROWN BEACH
Two adjacent beaches offer stunning sunset views across the bay to American River & fantastic facilities like warm showers, bbq facilities & toilets make this a favourite spot for an evening wine.
Don't miss: A walk along the beach for coveted Cowrie shells
Brown Beach Campground, Hog Bay Road, Brown Beach, Kangaroo Island
www.tourkangarooisland.com.au/experiences/brown-beach

ANTECHAMBER BAY
Chapman River flows down to the spectacular Antechamber Bay beach providing a huge array of sheltered picnic spots alongside the river & with beach access.
Don't miss: Fishing for bream in the river mouth.
Cape Willoughby Road, Antechamber Bay, Kangaroo Island
www.southaustralia.com/products/kangaroo-island/attraction/antechamber-bay

CAPE WILLOUGHBY LIGHTHOUSE
The most easterly point of the island, Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, has stood guard here since 1852 to protect passing ships from danger.
Don't miss: A guided tour with local experts or an overnight stay in the lighthouse keeper's cottages.
Cape Willoughby Rd, Cape Willoughby, Kangaroo Island
www.parks.sa.gov.au/parks/cape-willoughby-conservation-park

STAY

MERCURE LODGE AMERICAN RIVER
American River is a stunningly peaceful place to end the day & the Mercure Lodge team will make you very comfortable.
Don't miss: Dinner at the Reflections Restaurant & a visit to the local oyster farm
Scenic Drive, American River, Kangaroo Island
www.kilodge.com.au

ONE KANGAROO ISLAND
Our friends Corrina & Hugh have created one the most spectacular luxury accommodation on Kangaroo Island, so splurge!
Don't miss: A soak with a glass of champagne in one of South Australia's most stunning outdoor baths.
Hog Bay Road,  Brown Beach, Kangaroo Island   
www.onekangarooisland.com.au

THORN PARK B&B
For an intimate & fully hosted accommodation option we recommend staying with David & Michael at Thorn Park.  With decades of experience hosting luxury B&B guests you'll be well looked after.  Their beautifully appointed property has spectacular views overlooking Penneshaw. A stay includes indulging in David's delicious catering paired with some phenomenal wines.
Don't miss: Booking in for a private cooking class
50 Wright Street, Penneshaw
www.thornpark.com.au/thorn-park-on-kangaroo-island/

Download this 'Our Favourites' Guide to Kangaroo Island

Ready to start booking?  Start with a premium food and wine experience at The Islander Estate Vineyards

Time Posted: 07/11/2022 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Our favourite things to see & do on Kangaroo Island Permalink
Cath Williams
 
25 October 2022 | Cath Williams

A Year in Our Kangaroo Island Vineyard - Spring

A Year in our Kangaroo Island Vineyard - Spring
 

A Year in Our Vineyard:  Spring

Our annual vintage may last just a few weeks, but it takes an entire year of hard work to ensure we are harvesting the best possible grapes.
Come with us for a guide to a year in our vineyard – one season at a time.

 

The growing season on Kangaroo Island

Thanks to the influence of the Southern Ocean & its prevailing south-easterly breezes, Kangaroo Island has a maritime environment significantly different to the rest of Australia, even to nearby McLaren Vale. These ocean breezes mean an even climate without extremes. They cool the vineyards in summer and keep it a few degrees warmer and wetter during winter, offering some protection from disease and frosts caused by extreme cold.

The annual cycle of a grapevine

A vineyard's reliable annual growth rhythm is a reminder that nature will continue, no matter what variation or disasters might occur in a single year.

Kangaroo Island’s native vegetation is perennially green. Its grasslands & crops thrive in winter, becoming a dry Mediterranean landscape in summer.   Conversely, our vineyard works on an opposite calendar, becoming dormant in winter & bursting to life in Spring as much of the Island begins to dry and turn brown and is at its most productive at the end of a long dry summer.

Spring in our Vineyard

Budburst (late Aug/early Sept) 

Budburst is the first sign of life in the dormant vines. The roots and wood of the vine release a surge of energy, the sap rises and the buds begin to break through.

The woolly buds are extremely delicate during this time, so viticulturalist's pray for Spring frost to stay away. Luckily, our vineyard favours elevation & ocean breezes which largely protect cold air from settling & becoming frost.

Three factors impact the arrival of budburst. Firstly, the air temperature dictates the timing and pace of bud formation.  Secondly, the variety, with each variety classified as early, mid, or late budding. Early budding varieties like Chardonnay tend to be more frost tolerant and often early ripening. Finally, the temperature of the soil plays a role in bud development.

Early Shoot & Leaf Growth (October/Nov)

Early shoots on Grenache grapevines at The Islander Estate Vineyards Kangaroo IslandOnce budburst is underway, growth starts to speed up, with shoots growing and leaves forming almost before our eyes. 

Shoots are initially fuelled by the carbohydrate reserves fed up from the roots, but photosynthesis kicks into gear as leaves start to unfurl and mature.

At this early stage of the growing season, it's important to ensure the vines have a good water supply and nutrients, employing organic principles. 

Our vineyard team gets busy thinning shoots to ensure we have optimal selections and training the shoots where needed.  Shoot thinning ensures the vine concentrates its energy into the shoots selected for fruit production in line with our high-density, low-yield growing principles.

 

Flowering & Fruit Set (Nov/Dec)

Flowering at The Islander Estate VineyardsNext, flower buds will begin to form on the new growth in tiny clusters, also known as inflorescence. Also known as ‘perfect flowers’, the grapevine flowers self-pollinate. Bees are not required!

This is the time of the growing season when we pray for warm sunny days, moderate frost-free nights, gentle breezes and little or no rain.

These are the conditions for maximum self-pollination and pave the way for fruit set, the formation of tiny bunches of fledgeling grapes.

Once fruit set is complete, grapes begin to form, and this provides us with the first indication of the vintage to come.

Fruit-set provides us with the vintage potential, but challenges come as Summer approaches!

 

We look forward to continuing to share the journey to vintage as our growing season progresses.

Follow our social media channels to share our story as we head towards Vintage 2024.
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Time Posted: 25/10/2022 at 8:00 AM Permalink to A Year in Our Kangaroo Island Vineyard - Spring Permalink
Cath Williams
 
26 September 2022 | Cath Williams

Kangaroo Island Cellar Door trails with something for everyone

Kangaroo Island Cellar Door Trails

The Kangaroo Island wine region is a new discovery that's well worth setting aside some time to explore.  We’ve put together two one-day itineraries that blend cellar-door experiences with loads of things to see & do on Kangaroo Island to keep the entire crew entertained.
 

Start here: Book a Premium Wine & Food Experience at The Islander Estate Vineyards & save.  


Itinerary 1: Cruise Cygnet River & surrounds. 
A great place to start if you are staying in Kingscote or Emu Bay.

Emu Bay Lavender Farm Cafe Kangaroo Island
Breakfast at Emu Bay Lavender Farm 

Start your day with a delicious breakfast at the Emu Bay Lavender Farm.  They’re famous for their lavender scones (legitimate breakfast food, we think), but there’s so much more on the menu.   They have a stunning setting, and when the scent of lavender is in the air, how can the morning be anything but relaxing?  
www.emubaylavenderfarm.com
 

Emu Bay Beach Kangaroo Island
Stroll along Emu Bay beach 

Work off breakfast with a stroll along this stunning 5km beach, one of the most popular on Kangaroo Island.  The sheltered north coast waters are mostly calm and clear, making it a great spot for a morning swim.  The main car park also has a playground where the kids can work off breakfast or explore the jetty for sea creatures.

Take the road less travelled 

From Emu Bay, head off the bitumen along Boxer Road for a shortcut to your first wine tasting at The Islander Estate Vineyards.  Stop en-route to check out the White Lagoon salt lake.  This road will take you past traditional farming properties, and at the right time of year, you’ll pass stunning fields of bright yellow canola.
 

The Islander Estate Vineyards Cellar Door Cygnet River Kangaroo Island
Start your wine discovery at The Islander Estate Vineyards cellar door

Start your tasting day with an introduction to our world of wine at The Islander Estate Vineyards. Our team will welcome you for a hosted tasting of our French-influenced cool climate wines crafted by our owner, Jacques Lurton.

After a career spanning several decades making wine in his native Bordeaux and around the world, Jacques fell in love with Kangaroo Island in 2000, purchased a property and established a vineyard with a vision to showcase the true potential of our Island region on the world stage of wine.  On Kangaroo Island, Jacques combines his expertise and traditional French winemaking techniques with the freedom of winemaking offered in Australia.  The result is a range of wines that blend old and new-world wine styles. 

Treat yourself to one of our premium food and wine experiences.  Or, after your tasting, choose your favourite wine and let our team help you create a picnic hamper of French charcuterie, regional cheeses and local produce to match. 

 

Kangaroo Island Wool's tour experience

Discover Slow Fashion at Kangaroo Island Wool

Kangaroo Island Wool's new custom-built facility, just a few minutes from the airport and The Islander Estate's tasting room, offers an immersive experience from farm to fashion.  Book one of their 45-minute tour experiences. Explore the history of wool on Kangaroo Island before taking a fully guided tour through their working mill. Then purchase a beautiful piece of hand-crafted woollen fashion you'll be wearing for decades. 
www.kangarooislandwool.com

Take a picnic and your favourite The Islander Estate Vineyards wine to stunning Duck Lagoon
Picnic immersed in nature at Duck Lagoon

Just a few minutes drive from The Islander Estate’s cellar door, you'll discover Duck Lagoon, a stunning natural lagoon.  It's home to a huge array of birds, echidnas and resident koalas.  With picnic facilities, BBQs, toilets and a bird hide, it's a fantastic spot to relax with a picnic while the kids explore and count how many different animal species they can spot.
 

Kangaroo Island Spirits Cellar Door Cygnet River Kangaroo Island
Get in the spirit at Kangaroo Island Spirits 

Continue exploring the Cygnet River Artisan trail with a visit to Kangaroo Island Spirits for a paddle of their award-winning gins, or settle in the garden with a cocktail.  Their new cellar door development is truly stunning, and if you have the time, you can even join in a cocktail masterclass (book ahead).  www.kangarooislandspirits.com.au

Our pick: We can’t help but be partial to the Kangaroo Island Coastal Vodka, which features samphire hand-picked locally from the Island's shores.

Springs Road Wines Cellar Door Cygnet River Kangaroo Island
Sip a new wine style at Springs Road Wines

Our neighbours and great friends, Joch and Louise Bosworth have a fantastic reputation for their organic wines in McLaren Vale under their labels Battle of Bosworth and Spring Seed Wine Co. So we were excited when they also fell in love with Kangaroo Island and purchased an established vineyard in Cygnet River in 2016.  Springs Road Wines bring a new dimension to the Kangaroo Island wine industry, and their intimate tasting room set overlooking the vineyard is a must-visit for any lover.  www.springsroad.com.au

Our wine pick:  James Halliday’s 2021 Wine Companion rates the Springs Road Wines Kangaroo Island Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2018 at 94 points, and we can’t argue with that. 
 

Bay of Shoals Wines Cellar Door Reeves Point Kangaroo Island
Sundowners at Bay of Shoals 

Vineyards don’t get much closer to the ocean than at Bay of Shoals.  Their cellar door overlooking Reeves Point and the Bay of Shoals is a great place to wind up your tasting tour. Their wines are grown, harvested and made onsite alongside the Cellar Door, offering guided tastings and build-your-own platters to enjoy outdoors overlooking the bay. www.bayofshoalswines.com.au

Our wine pick:  We love Bay of Shoals' alternative varietal white wines like their SavagninArinto.

Wind up the day

Finish your day with dinner in Kingscote. Our favourite places to dine:
The Ozone Hotel for great quality pub fare (www.ozonehotelki.com.au/restaurant-bar),
Café Bella for Italian cuisine (www.bellacafekangarooisland.com.au). 

Stay

Get a good night’s rest because tomorrow has a whole new day of Cellar Door touring in store!   

There’s no shortage of unique luxury accommodation options within reach of today’s trail.  Some of our very favourite places to settle in are:
At Emu Bay, Hamilton and Dune www.hamiltondune.com.au and Copperstone Kangaroo Island www.copperstoneki.com
On the northwest coast,  Lifetime Private Retreats www.life-time.com.au and Top Deck at Snellings Beach www.topdeckatsnelling.com. New in the luxury market is Wander Kangaroo Island www.wander.com.au/locations/kangarooisland/
At Stokes Bay, Stow Away offers absolute luxury for couples. www.stowawayki.com.au

We’ve even created a Google map for our
Cruise the Cygnet River & Surrounds itinerary,
Click here, and you’re good to go!  

 


Itinerary 2:  Explore the East End
 

Millie Maes Pantry and Cafe Penneshaw Kangaroo Island
Get nourished with breakfast at Millie Mae’s

Start your day in Penneshaw with breakfast at Millie Mae’s Pantry.  This café has become a star of the east end’s eating scene.  Treat yourself to local pastries, great coffee, fresh juices, or a cooked breakfast.  They’ll even wet your whistle with a mimosa made with The Islander Estate Vineyards Petiyante sparkling.www.milliemaespantry.com

Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail Penneshaw
Stretch your legs on the Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail 

Just a few minutes walk along the Penneshaw foreshore from Millie Mae’s, this sculpture trail is a constant evolution, set amongst 4.5 hectares of dunes overlooking stunning Hog Bay beach with views back to the mainland. 

The 1.5 km trail winds through the dunes and features lookouts, steps, boardwalks, a swing bridge, seating, and scenic views with a surprise at every turn. Stunning sculptures are dotted along the trail, and new installations always appear, each one bringing to life an aspect of our Island’s culture, community, and natural environment. 
www.kangarooislandsculpturetrail.com

Look for surprises on the Wallaby Track 

If you have kids on board with some energy still to burn, the ‘locals secret’ Wallaby Track a little further along the foreshore is an entirely different trail for the little visitors to explore.  Look out for the signs at the start of this 3 km return hike which follows a spring-fed creek bed with naturally occurring waterfalls (in winter) into limestone features. Look out along the way for hidden animals, real and play. Find it here.  
 

Dudley Wines Cellar Door on Kangaroo Island
Land at Dudley Wines for lunch with a view

Head out of Penneshaw on the road towards Cape Willoughby lighthouse, and you can’t miss Dudley Wines cellar door.  Relax on the deck with a pizza or platter and a wine paddle while you look back over the Backstairs Passage to mainland Australia and see if you can spot a whale.  They have a great nature playground for little kids and a golf tee for the big ones.  The Howards have a true family-run business incorporating wine and traditional farming on Kangaroo Island.  www.dudleywines.com.au

Our wine picks?  Dudley Wines have some great options for wine drinkers who enjoy fruit-forward wines.  Try Thirteen Sparkling Shiraz NV, Dudley Ripple or Glossy Black Sweet Red.

Antechamber Bay and Chapman River Kangaroo Island
Explore where the river meets the sea at Antechamber Bay

After lunch, continue on the road towards Cape Willoughby lighthouse.  After about 10 minutes, you’ll spy the signs for Lashmar Conservation Park, which includes the vast Antechamber Bay and the Chapman River flowing to the sea.   A wonderland for kids, take the second Southern turn-off, and you’ll pass a great variety of picnic and camping spots dotted along the river.  Continue to the end of this trail, and you’ll come to a picnic area beyond with a magical grove of stringybark trees to play amongst and gently sloping riverbanks, perfect for paddling, feeding the fish or kayaking.

Make your way down onto the Antechamber Bay beach, where you can walk on white sand for miles.  Stunning views back to mainland Australia make this a tempting spot to stop for a play or an afternoon nap.  Explore more here.  

www.parks.sa.gov.au/parks/cape-willoughby-conservation-park
Step back in time at Cape Willoughby Lighthouse  

At the most easterly point of the island, Cape Willoughby Lighthouse has stood guard over this part of the Kangaroo Island coastline since 1852.  A guided tour offers the chance to walk in the shoes of the lighthouse keepers and their families who worked 24 hours a day to assist the safe journey of ships passing through the treacherous stretch of water known as Backstairs Passage. Explore here.  

Hint:  While you’re here, stop and explore Windmill Bay's stunning granite boulders and surf.

Stop for a sip at False Cape Wines

After leaving Cape Willoughby, head west along Willson River Road & stop in for a wine & a platter at False Cape Wines.  Their grapes are grown locally onsite & wine is made by the Follets of Lake Breeze Wines in Langhorne Creek.  With a lovely outlook & plenty to keep the kids happy, it's well worth a stop.  www.falsecapewines.com.au

Sunset at Brown Beach Kangaroo Island
Watch the sun sink into the sea at Brown Beach 

Head back along Cape Willoughby Road and turn left onto Willson River Road until you come to East-West Road. Within 10 minutes, you’ll roll down the hill towards the coastline, landing at Brown Beach campground. This is a stunning place to pop open a bottle of wine you’ve collected during the day for a sundowner while the kids play or swim in the safe waters. Explore more. 

If you’re equipped, take advantage of the excellent BBQ facilities here and stay for a casual dinner, head to American River to the Reflections Restaurant at the Mercure Hotel (see below) or otherwise complete your day's loop with a short drive back into Penneshaw for dinner at the Penneshaw Hotel (known as ‘The Penny’ by the locals).

Our favourite Dudley Peninsula dining options:

Sunset Food & Wine: Kangaroo Island foodies are doing a happy dance that Jack Ingram & Vanessa Chu are reopening the east end’s icon restaurant for the summer season. A modern bistro focusing on local produce, Sunset Food & Wine combines stunning views overlooking American Beach, a killer wine list & elegant dishes that are a work of art. Opening season - October to April (closed May to September).  Bookings: www.sunsetfoodandwine.com

Mooncake:  A new venture for Kangaroo Island Source's Kate Sumner and a favourite of Dudley Peninsula locals, Mooncake goes off on weekends when it offers cocktails and modern Asian cuisine on the deck with stunning views over the township of Penneshaw and Backstairs Passage to the mainland.  Bookings: www.mooncakekangarooisland.com.au

Stay

Two of our favourite places to stay on the eastern end of Kangaroo Island are:  American River, Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge www.kilodge.com.au or Cape Willoughby, Sea Dragon Lodge:  www.seadragonlodge.com.au

We’ve even created a Google map for our
Explore the East End itinerary, click here you’re good to go! 

Don’t want to drive?

Let a local do the driving. A range of local guides now offer unique cellar door trail experiences. Two of our favourites are Exceptional Kangaroo Island (www.exceptionalkangarooisland.com) and Kangaroo Island Hire A Guide (www.kiguide.com.au).

Time Posted: 26/09/2022 at 5:30 PM Permalink to Kangaroo Island Cellar Door trails with something for everyone Permalink
Cath Williams
 
4 August 2022 | Cath Williams

Halliday's Favourites: 2023 Halliday Wine Companion round up

Discover Halliday Wine Companions new favourites

Your guide to the 2023 Halliday Wine Companion team's
favourite The Islander Estate Vineyards Wines

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.  The annual Halliday Wine Companion features tasting notes on over 5,000 wines & guides where to visit, what to taste, buy and cellar for Australian wine lovers.
We're proud to submit our wines each year for tasting and rating, it gives us a great feel for how our wines sit amongst the best in the country. 
In the 2023 Haliday Wine Companion we were excited to maintain our red 5-star winery rating (the highest possible rating) and add to our portfolio of wines rated Gold and Silver.  It is great to see wines from all three ranges receiving excellent scores, demonstrating value for money across all our wines.
See the Halliday Wine Companion team's tasting notes and ratings for all our current & upcoming vintages below.
 
Varietal Range:

2021 Pinot Gris
“While the back label shows South Australia as the GI (and the front label is silent), the information supplied by the winery says Adelaide Hills is the region, and the wine in the mouth is emphatically cool grown. Its exceptional power and texture is derived from wild ferment of the pressings in used French oak, the balance cool fermented in stainless steel. This throws down another challenge explaining to young wine students that the grape skins are purple.
Reviewed by:  James Halliday, December 2021
Rating:  SILVER, 94/100

2021 Sauvignon Blanc
“From an estate vineyard, managed organically though not certified. Machine harvested at night. Pale quartz green. Classic sauvignon blanc flavours, ranging from snow pea to wild herbs to gooseberry. No compromises needed – nor used. Revels in the exceptional vintage, flawless mouthfeel and balance.”
Reviewed by:  James Halliday, December 2021
Rating:  SILVER, 94/100

2021 The Red Shiraz
“30% extended maceration post mechanical harvest late April. Matured 5 months in French puncheons (30% new). The crimson magenta hue is striking. Positively juicy, with black cherry and plum fruit; tannin extract minimal. Altogether unusual wine, and it would be interesting to buy 6 or so bottles and track its development over the next 5 years or more.”
Reviewed by:  James Halliday, December 2021
Rating:  SILVER, 94/100

Estate Range:

Petiyante Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir
A playful sparkling in name and deed - Petiyante is a nod to the French word for bubbly. Lemon tart, baked apples, white florals and citrus zest is a good representation of the island's cooler climate. Bright on entry, the grapefruit and sherbety lift melds well with a sense of fresh-baked bread. Fine and steely.
Reviewed by:  Jenni Port, February 2020
Rating:  SILVER, 92/100

2019 Wally White Semillon
Going the extra step in the semillon department, fermented in barrel and bringing something extra to its already on-point ripe fruit. Creamy and complex, rather than austere and bracing like many semillons. With a couple of years of initial development, the structural foundations of acidity and a light pithiness carry this wine with the future in mind.
Reviewed by:  Tony Love, August 2021
Rated:  SILVER, 94/100

2019 Bark Hut Road Shiraz Cabernet Franc
Kangaroo Island's maritime climate is a dominating presence in the wines produced at The Islander. That, and the role of the native bush lands of old-growth eucalyptus and mallee. Both are evident here. Sea spray, red currant, raspberry and spice with an earthy savouriness, reveal a sense of place. A tad reductive on the palate, but it blows away with some swishing to reveal a savoury-infused palate, charcuterie and game with a rising pepper imprint. A complex lovely just starting out.
Reviewed by:  Jenni Port, February 2020
Rating:  SILVER, 93/100

2019 Old Rowley Shiraz Grenache
A brilliant purple sheen is an enticing introduction to this smart, young shiraz grenache. Softness is the key here together with a discreet, still emerging personality. It has a way to go. Pepper, spice, blackberries and red earth aromas. Deliciously ripe palate with dark cherry, black fruits and grenache violets and confection. Tannins are firm. Bottle age is a must.
Reviewed by:  Jenni Port, February 2020
Rating:  GOLD, 95/100

2018 Boxing Bay Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon
This blend can come in so many stylistic variations, but rarely is it as bright-eyed, lifted and crunchy as this. Fragrant with bush florals, dusted with sumac-like spice, tinted with background eucalypt, while the varieties find a delicious harmony of flavours and mouth-teasing structures.
Reviewed by:  Tony Love, February 2021
Rated:  SILVER, 94/100
 

Flagship Range:

2015 The Investigator Cabernet Franc
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.
Reviewed by:  James Halliday, February 2019
Rating:  GOLD, 95/100

2017 The Cygnet Shiraz (not yet released)
Organically managed estate bush vines, hand picked, destemmed and and whole-berry table-sorted. Wild-yeast fermentation in used 600L demis, mlf completed before the must is basket pressed and gravity racked to new 600L French demis for 24 months' maturation. The quality of the oak is clearly good and is still to pull its head in, but will certainly do so as part of a long future. It's an elegant wine and already attractive, with more in store as the oak diminishes.”
Reviewed by:  James Halliday, December 2021
Rating:  GOLD 95/100

2015 The Cygnet Shiraz
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.
Reviewed by:  James Halliday, February 2019
Rating:  GOLD 97/100

2016 The Independence Malbec (not yet released)
Hand-picked fruit, destemmed, table-sorted then barrel fermented in seasoned 600L demi-muids; left 5 weeks on skins, matured 24 months in new 600L demis. Deep crimson-purple hue, showing no sign of age. An alluring, expressive bouquet with licorice, polished leather, eastern spices, dried plum and earth all calling out. The palate tucks in behind that array, giving substance and cedary oak tannins on the long, perfectly balanced finish.”
Reviewed by: James Halliday, December 2021
Rating:  GOLD 96/100

2015 The Independence Malbec
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.
Reviewed by: James Halliday, July 2018
Rating:  GOLD 96/100
 

Limited Release Wines:

2018 Boundary Track Shiraz: 
"Estate-grown bush vines, hand picked and sorted, berry by berry. Wild fermented in 1000L ceramic eggs; left on skins for 8 weeks for conclusion of mlf, thence matured in French demis (25% new) for 24 months. Still holding a crimson edge to the hue, it is a beautifully made wine with silky tannins and fruit freshness, the oak playing a nigh-on unseen hand. One glass insists on another."
Reviewed:  James Halliday, December 2021
Rating:  GOLD 96/100

Shop all of the Halliday team's favourites

 

Time Posted: 04/08/2022 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Halliday's Favourites:  2023 Halliday Wine Companion round up Permalink
Cath Williams
 
20 June 2022 | Cath Williams

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

Kangaroo Island is at its most beautiful in Winter, and our team has the locals' secrets for getting the most from your winter escape. 

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

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

Winter is a stunning time to visit Kangaroo Island. The Islander Estate Vineyards team is sharing our favourite things to see and do during these cool months.

Book your Islander Estate Vineyards food & wine experience now & save.

Visit The Islander Estate Vineyards cellar door on the Cygnet River Artisan Trail

Meander the Cygnet River Cellar Door Trail

Where else could we start but with the opportunity to spend time with our fantastic local artisan 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 stories - and to learn yours.

Central to the Island, the Cygnet River Cellar Door Trail offers two cellar doors (The Islander Estate Vineyards and our neighbours Springs Road Wines), award-winning spirits at Kangaroo Island Spirits and an immersive experience into our agricultural story at Kangaroo Island Wool.

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.  A little along the road, Emu Bay Lavender is super popular for its lavender products and their café fare – its lavender scones are legendary, and its 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 and stop in at The Oyster Farm Shop in American River – oysters are at their prime in winter.  Continue the tasting trail at Dudley Wines for wines with a view and great pizza.  In Penneshaw, The Penneshaw Pub is a great spot for a meal by the fire.

Winter bird watching on Kangaroo Island

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 fun spotting koalas in the treetops.

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 Cockatoos. 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 – hearing their distinctive “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

On the east of the Island, Antechamber Bay is truly spectacular and you can follow up a beach walk with a sheltered picnic by the 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. Baby joeys have begun venturing from their mother’s pouch to feed all over the Island, but they are often visible at Duck 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 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 a 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 is great for catching and eating.

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. 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 the 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 be 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, there is no better activity than hunting for our native orchids. With over 80 native species, hunting these tiny but spectacular flowers really slows you down to meander and absorb the beauty to be found on a micro-level.  Whether it’s these tiny flowers, lichens, and fungi, flowering native ground shrubs, or the spectacular Wattle, it’s worth slowing down.

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, and 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 iconic of Kangaroo Island. 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!

Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance
South Australian Tourism Commission
Time Posted: 20/06/2022 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Our favourite things to see & do on Kangaroo Island in winter Permalink
Cath Williams
 
26 May 2022 | Cath Williams

Close up on Chardonnay

Get up close to Chardonnay

May 25th 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 is 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 in Australia in the 1830s.  It didn’t become a core Australian variety for almost a hundred years, but by the 1980s chardonnay became one 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 decade 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 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 Chardonnay, fermented in steel, usually with little or no oak so the Chardonnay grapes' taste and aroma can shine.  The Chablis wine style is dry, lean, and light-bodied with higher acidity and green apple, citrus, and mineral notes.

At our Tasting Room, two of our most common guest 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 (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 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 pork. 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 The Islander Estate Vineyards The White Chardonnay

Priced for everyday drinking, now is a great time to get your hands on The White.  Click on the image below to add some to your shopping cart now.

The White Chardonnay by The Islander Estate Vineyards

Time Posted: 26/05/2022 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Close up on Chardonnay Permalink
Cath Williams
 
6 May 2022 | Cath Williams

Take a fresh look at Sauvignon Blanc

It's the white wine in almost every Australian wine fridge during the warmer months. Sauvignon Blanc may be popular but producing high-quality wine requires a skilled winemaker & impeccable timing.

With its huge rise in popularity in recent years, most Australian white wine drinkers have included Sauvignon Blanc in their wine repertoire. There is a lot to learn about this variety which can produce very varied characteristics with a careful winemaking hand.

Here are some facts about one of our favourite varieties you may not know:

  1. It's no new kid on the wine block. Sauvignon Blanc originated in France in the 1500's the Loire Valley & Jacque Lurton's native Bordeaux, where it features in famous French wines like Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé.
  2. Sauvignon Blanc has a wild side. Its name comes from the French words' sauvage' meaning wild and 'blanc' meaning white.
  3. Sauvignon Blanc in Bordeaux is most known as a major player in the sweet wine Sauternes.
  4. Bordeaux's most famous white blend, Bordeaux Blanc, pairs Semillon & Sauvignon Blanc in the world's original Sem-Sauv-Blanc blends.
  5. Believe it or not, Sauvignon Blanc is the mother of the robust tannic red wine variety Cabernet Sauvignon (Cabernet Franc is the father).
  6. Sauvignon Blanc grows best in cool or maritime climates (both Bordeaux & Kangaroo Island feature maritime environments) where long, even growing conditions balance its crisp acidity with fresh fruit character. 
  7. Sauvignon Blanc was one of the first varieties to be described in terms of one of its dominant flavour compounds, methoxypyrazines. This compound is responsible for the Sauvignon Blanc's herbaceous nature, including characteristics like asparagus, cut grass, capsicum, dried herbs and gooseberries. Next time you taste wine with friends, drop this term!
  8. Not all Sauvignon Blancs are the same. It can vary wildly based on where it's grown & winemaking techniques, so try a wide range of regions & styles.
  9. It has an alias. Fumé Blanc –coined in California in the 1960s and popularized by Robert Mondavi. Fumé Blanc is Sauvignon Blanc. Sometimes aged in oak, giving it smoky notes (fumé means smoke), definitely one to try if you are looking for a more textural & complex Sauvignon Blanc.

Looking for foods that pair beautifully with Sauvignon Blanc? Easy, if a squeeze of lemon would enhance the dish, you'll be onto a winner serving them together.

We have minimal quantities of our 2021 Sauvignon Blanc left online & at our Tasting Room, order yours now

James Halliday Review of 2021 Sauvignon Blanc by The Islander Estate Vineyards

Time Posted: 06/05/2022 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Take a fresh look at Sauvignon Blanc Permalink
Cath Williams
 
29 April 2022 | Cath Williams

Falling in love with Viognier

Viognier at The Islander Estate Vineyards

If you haven't discovered viognier, you're about to fall in love.  One of the most beguiling white wines around, it's well worth hunting out producers with a dedication to bringing out its best.

Viognier's Origins

Originating from the Rhône Valley in France, Viognier is the only permitted grape variety in the Rhône appellations of Condrieu and Château Grillet, located on the west bank of the Rhône.

Viognier (pronounced vee-ohn-yay) almost became extinct as recently as the 1980s, when as little as 8 acres remained in France.  Thankfully it is now grown more extensively in the Rhone Valley & around the world, including in the USA &  Australia.

Yalumba planted the first viognier vines in Australia in 1980.  We weren't far behind, including viognier as one of the founding varietals at The Islander Estate Vineyards in 2000, the only viognier grown on Kangaroo Island.  We are thrilled that our vines are recovering from the 2020 bushfires.

Viognier is notoriously difficult to grow.  It is low yielding, subject to disease & picking must be carefully timed to get the best aromatics & balance of its oily character, so it's a grape grown by viticulturalists with a genuine love for it.

Why we love it

In Australia, viognier is often hidden away in Shiraz, with just a few per cent added to bring fragrance & texture to the red wine.  However, we know it is a stunning white wine as a single varietal & can't help but reserve a tiny quantity each year to showcase in our varietal range.
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Viognier sits in the middle of the scale between delicate unwooded varieties like pinot gris & sauvignon blanc and the richer, often-oaked varieties like chardonnay.

It is medium to full-bodied, dry & often golden in colour.  It can be unoaked but most often oaked to add texture, viscosity, spice & a touch of vanilla.

Viognier is a distinctive wine.  It has been described as reminiscent of apricots, rose, honeysuckle, ripe peaches & musk.  The best are floral & textural, even voluptuous.  

Viognier has a distinctive oily character in the mid-palate, which is 'tell' for the variety along with its unique floral & stone fruit aroma.

Viognier's Food Friends

Viognier is a food-friendly wine pairing with a wide range of dishes. Its fragrant characteristic pairs well with spicy Thai herb-based dishes or creamy mild Indian curries, hearty Moroccan & African dishes, freshly grilled seafood or barbecued chicken.

As a textural oaked white wine, serving viognier at the right temperature is important to get the best from its flavour & aroma.  We recommend lightly chilling viognier rather than serving it fridge-cold to allow its stunning aromas to come to the forward.

Viognier is also an excellent wine to add to your cellar & age for several years.

How we produce viognier

The Islander Estate Vineyards produced just a single barrel of viognier each year.  The grapes are wild fermented in seasoned barrels, cold settled for 24 hours, then the wine is placed in 400 litre seasoned French oak puncheons for ageing, with lees stirring for three months.  Malolactic ferment is avoided to preserve freshness and acidity.  After ageing, the wine is filtered and hand bottled with only 30 cases produced.

Tasting Notes

COLOUR:  Deep Straw
NOSE:  Fresh apricots, honey, orange blossom
PALATE:  Creamy, viscous middle palate with a slight nuttiness, apricot & dried fruit.
FINISH: A soft textural mouthfeel does not detract from the freshness in the finish.

Reviews 

Our new 2021 vintage is yet to be reviewed however, Jenni Port's review of our 2019 vintage for the Halliday Wine Companion tells you all you need to know.

"Archetypal viognier with the scent of honey-drizzled peaches and pears, orange blossom and fruit peel.  Intoxicating stuff.  Golden and creamy style with a slightly nutty demeanour that lasts to the finish, the apricot stone and dried fruit savouriness complete the textbook example.  A wine of many parts and with many years ahead."  95/100 points

Ready to discover viognier?  Our 2021 vintage has just been released exclusively to our Discoverer's Wine Club Members. 
Click here to order yours.

Time Posted: 29/04/2022 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Falling in love with Viognier Permalink
Cath Williams
 
26 April 2022 | Cath Williams

Secret Autumn Sunset Spots on Kangaroo Island

Secret Autumn Sunset spots on Kangaroo Island

When summer’s warm weather passes & Anzac Day is over, visitor numbers to Kangaroo Island traditionally slow.

But ‘Islanders’ know the cooler months are some of the most stunning on Kangaroo Island.  Warm days, crisp nights, and rains transform dry paddocks into vibrant green almost before your eyes. 

And our favourite part?  The light in the late afternoon & at sunset is magic.  Autumn sunsets are our favourite.  We asked our team to share their favourite spots to end the day with a glass of wine.
 


Yale, Managing Director, Winemaker, Wrangler of Staff

Sunset over West Bay Kangaroo Island, image courtesy of www.instagram.com/garrettlaur/

Favourite Sunset Spot?  West Bay Beach, Flinders Chase National Park

“I love watching the sun sink behind the horizon into the southern ocean at West Bay. Sitting on the beach with a glass of wine, feeling like you’re at the end of the earth.  Such a secluded spot but still totally accessible to anyone willing to make the drive.”

Favourite Sunset Wine?  Wally White Semillon
“Our white wine for red wine drinkers.  With enough  creaminess & texture to go with some rich Australian salmon caught fresh from the beach & cooked in a pan with a little wine over a beach fire”

Image courtesy of Lauren Garret on Instagram


Sophie, Cellar Door Manager extraordinaire

Favourite Sunset Spot? Flagstaff Hill Lookout, Reeves Point.  “Just a few minutes from my home in Kingscote, Flagstaff Hill is a stunning elevated spot for an evening after-work walk to watch the sunset over the Bay of Shoals.  With elevated views for almost 360 degrees, there’s no better place to let go of the day.” 

Favourite Sunset Wine?  Varietal Range Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. “A limited release wine, this is my new favourite for when you want something a little more textural & sophisticated in the white wine spectrum.  I’ve visited Jacques in Bordeaux & this reminds me so much of the Bordeaux Blanc blends that I tried there.”
Image courtesy of Ross Evans Photography on Instagram


Sunset over Pennington Bay Kangaroo IslandCarmen, Cellar Door host with most

Favourite Sunset Spot?  Pennington Bay.  “Most people visit Pennington Bay in the height of summer to swim & surf.  It is absolutely stunning in the cooler months just after a storm when it’s almost deserted & the sunset views are ours alone, it totally refreshes the mind & spirit.”

Favourite Sunset Wine?  Boxing Bay Shiraz/Cab Sauv "I love that this is a European take on a classic Aussie blend. A glass watching the sunset is perfect to ward the chill off & the rest goes down perfectly by the fire when we get home".

Image courtesy of Grant Coutts on Instagram


Sue, Cellar Door Hand, Luxury Accommodation Specialist, Farmer

Favourite Sunset Spot? One Kangaroo Island, Brown Beach
“There is no more luxurious experience on Kangaroo Island than sitting in a warm outdoor bubble bath on a crisp evening, in total privacy, overlooking Brown Beach & the sunset to the west.  Unforgettable”

Favourite Sunset Wine?  Petiyante
What else is there to drink in an outdoor bath at sunset than a delicious glass of Methode Champenoise sparkling?

Image courtesy of One Kangaroo Island on Instagram


Tracey,  Wrangler of all things financial

 Favourite Sunset Spot?  Cygnet River
“In the late afternoon just as dusk descends, the light through the trees surrounding the Cygnet River is something else.  And it only happens during the cooler months.  It makes you look up from your computer at our Tasting Room, step outside & take a deep breath.”

Favourite Sunset Wine?  Tracey’s been drinking Bark Hut Road, Shiraz/Cabernet Franc, our signature blend for 15 years ago.  It brings together our French & Australian heritage in a bottle & it suits just about any cool evening dish.

Image courtesy of Cath Williams on Instagram


Cath, Marketing & Story Teller

Favourite Sunset Spot?   Baudin Beach
“My home, Baudin Beach.  We live in a cottage snuggled behind a sand dune.  Just near our house is a path along the cliffs with a special chatting seat in honour of a much loved local.  After a long day on the social media tools, I can be there with a glass of wine, my partner, daughter & dog in just a couple of minutes.  We all take a deep breath & let go of the day.  Then back home out of the evening chill & into the warm cosiness of the fire.”

Favourite Sunset Wine? Old Rowley Shiraz/Grenache I am a grenache fan & absolutely love Old Rowley.  Elegant but robust, complex but drinkable.  Simply one of my go-to blends & I’m yet to find one I love more than the one we make at The Islander Estate Vineyards.”

Image courtesy of Cath Williams on Instagram


Plan your cool weather visit to Kangaroo Island now

Click to Visit The Islander Estate Vineyards
map of Favourite Autumn Sunset Spots

and
Visit the Tour Kangaroo Island Website

 

Time Posted: 26/04/2022 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Secret Autumn Sunset Spots on Kangaroo Island Permalink
Cath Williams
 
17 April 2022 | Cath Williams

Demystifying Malbec

Let's get intimate with stunning Malbec

Jacques Lurton has grown Malbec across three continents, including on Kangaroo Island. Get up close with this amazing varietal.

Malbec's Provenance
Malbec originated in Jacques Lurton's native Bordeaux (and also Cahors), where it plays a supporting role in classic Bordeaux blends, never really getting the chance to shine in the spotlight. In the late 19th century, phylloxera nearly destroyed all the Malbec vines in France. They eventually recovered before being later hit by deadly frosts in the mid-1950s. The variety struggled to return to France until the mid-1970s.

Luckily then, a French agronomist, Michel Aimé Pouget, had introduced the variety to South America in the mid-1800s, where the variety found its place in the sun in the hot high-altitude Argentinian climate around Mendoza.  Malbec finally found its place centre stage as a single varietal, becoming the shining star of Argentinian wine. 

In modern-day wine, Malbec has travelled all over the world, but Argentina still produces 75% of the world's Malbec and Cahors in France’s southwest the second-largest producer. 

Malbec's Australian story began in 1860 when it began growing particularly well in South Australia. Production is still selective, and Malbec represents less than 0.5% of Aussie grape and wine production. In Australia, Malbec’s beginnings were as a blending grape. These days, a small but growing number of producers are taking inspiration from South America and showing Malbec’s potential as a single varietal.

A Malbec love affair spanning three continents

Jacques Lurton’s relationship with Malbec began in his native France, where the variety originated. The love affair really took off when he spent extensive time in South America, establishing vineyards in partnership with his brother Francois in Argentina and Chile and experiencing Malbec as the powerhouse of the wine industry there.

As a flying winemaker, he had also spent time in Australia, seeing how well the variety transferred from Argentina's hot high-latitude climate to South Australia’s moderate Mediterranean climate. 

When Jacques set up his own Australian business, The Islander Estate Vineyards, on Kangaroo Island, he planted Malbec to blend with flagship varieties. 

Those plans changed almost from the first vintage when the quality of his Malbec on Kangaroo Island impressed Jacques so much that he saw it deserved to shine on its own. The Majestic Plough was born as the region’s only single-varietal Malbec.

The quality continued to increase from vintage to vintage.  Jacques was determined to show the true potential of Malbec on Kangaroo Island, so in 2015, The Islander Estate's flagship wine range was joined by The Independence Malbec – rated as one of the country’s best single variety Malbecs (96 points James Halliday's 2021 Wine Companion). 

"Hand-picked fruit, destemmed, table-sorted, then barrel fermented in seasoned 600L demi-muids; left 5 weeks on skins, matured 24 months in new 600L demis. Deep crimson-purple hue, showing no sign of age. An alluring, expressive bouquet with licorice, polished leather, eastern spices, dried plum and earth all calling out. The palate tucks in behind that array, giving substance and cedary oak tannins on the long, perfectly balanced finish."  James Halliday

The Islander Estate Vineyards is the only winery commercially producing Malbec on Kangaroo Island.

So, what's so special about Malbec anyway?

Often considered an alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, Malbec is a powerhouse wine of its own accord, the most structured and tannic wine we produce on Kangaroo Island.

Malbec is a thick-skinned, purple grape variety with an inky red hue.  On Kangaroo Island, the vines are low-yielding and one of the first red varieties to be harvested.

In the glass, it has an intense deep red colour, magenta-tinged at the rim.  On the nose, you’ll find savoury aromas of leather, tobacco, blackberry, dried herbs and spices with plenty of toasty oak.

In the mouth expect big, juicy and plush flavours of dark fruit with a robust structure and moderately firm tannins with natural acidity and a longer finish than you expect from overseas examples.

Malbec’s best food friends

Malbec loves lean proteins like a good-quality steak barbecued over coals (even better with a herb or chimichurri sauce on the side), roast lamb with robust stuffing, and roast game like duck or pheasant. 

It also loves hard or blue cheeses and sits beautifully alongside charcuterie.

Drink now or wait?

Malbec has great cellaring potential for 15+ years if you have the patience!

 

Get up close to The Islander Estate’s Vineyards' Malbec

2016 The Independence MalbecThe Independence Malbec from our Flagship range has just been rated as one of the best in the country. The Australian Wine Companion team rated both the 2015 and 2016 vintage releases 96/100 points. Pop this one away and try not to think about it for a few years—it will pay off.

Shop 2016 The Independence Malbec

 

2021 Majestic Plough MalbecOur Estate range Majestic Plough Malbec is back in stock and in high demand. It is an example of just how good a cool-climate Malbec can be. Drink now or cellar for up to 10 years.

Shop 2021 Majestic Plough Malbec

 

Time Posted: 17/04/2022 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Demystifying Malbec Permalink