Mount Gambier, South Australia

Award Winning Wines From Mount Gambier

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On the back of a dairy industry and lush agricultural heritage, Mount Gambier has found recent success with its relatively recent vineyards that thrive in the region’s diverse soils. The number of boutique cellar doors is slowly growing, and winemakers, vignerons and grape-growers are working to produce standout wines. The region specialises in aromatic pinot noir, while white styles include riesling, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.

With a volcanic history, Mount Gambier is famed for its natural lake-filled craters, such as the iconic Blue Lake with its electric-azure hues. It’s also home to the Big Lobster sculpture and ancient Babylonian-like sunken gardens can be found at the Umpherston Sinkhole. Visitors travelling from Adelaide will arrive within an hour’s flight or a scenic road trip from the capital is less than a five-hour drive.

James Halliday on Mount Gambier

Next is the complex nature of the generally flat and misleadingly simple topography and soil types. Two entirely different geological processes have shaped the physical structure of the region. First has been the migration of the coastline as the result of changing sea levels during the last ice age. Second is the (relatively) recent volcanic activity along the southern margins of the south-east of South Australia.

Prior to this, the region (and the greater Limestone Coast Zone) was a vast sedimentary basin overlain by ancient warm shallow seas. The deposition of skeletons of trillions of minute marine creatures has led to the formation of thick layers of limestone bedrock. The inland movement and subsequent retreats of the shoreline gave rise to a system of stranded sandy beach dunes interspersed with lagoons.

Then a weakness in the earth’s crust led to the eruption of lava through a number of craters (including that of the Blue Lake) running from the present town of Mount Gambier north-east to the town of Glencoe, and the dispersal of large amounts of volcanic ash throughout the region.

Finally, Mount Gambier is by some distance the coolest region in South Australia. While the number of wineries is modest, and their production small, the suitability of the region for fine pinot noir and chardonnay destined either for sparkling wine or table wine will underwrite further growth in the coming decades.

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