Wrattonbully, South Australia

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Wrattonbully’s temperate climate and elevated sites combine to create particularly good conditions for growing quality grape varieties. Its free-draining terra rossa soils also help the likes of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz thrive, with merlot another top performer, while chardonnay rules the whites.

There are around 50 grape growers and 20 producers in the region, and as the vines mature and new sites are discovered, its wines are becoming more complex, concentrated and enticing. Spend time here and watch the weather move across the landscape, and it’s easy to see why each vineyard produces such different expressions of the grapes it grows.

With limestone caves one of the drawcards of the area – including the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves – Wrattonbully has a rich geological history to explore.

James Halliday on Wrattonbully

This is another important region to emerge with a separate identity in the wake of the Geographical Indications process. Only Pemberton (in Western Australia) has generated as much debate over its correct name. The common sense solution would have been to name the region Koppamurra, making special arrangements to accommodate the particular position and needs of Koppamurra Wines. (It not only made wines from estate-grown grapes, but also from grapes grown outside the putative Koppamurra region. This would have led to insuperable problems under the Geographic Indications legislation, restricting Koppamurra Wines to sole use of grapes grown within the region.)

Just when it seemed that common sense would prevail, negotiations collapsed, a situation which displeased many inside and outside the region. However, the die has been cast, and with the registration process finalised, the name is Wrattonbully. The ultimate irony is that the Koppamurra Vineyard has been purchased by a distinguished consortium headed by Brian Croser and renamed Tapanappa.

After a slow start (the Koppamurra Vineyard was established in 1973) the pace of development accelerated dramatically during the 1990s. There are over 10 major vineyard developments and 2000 hectares of vineyards have been established. As in the case of Padthaway, much of the production is used by major wine companies (notably Hardys, Beringer Blass and Yalumba) in blended wines, but Yalumba’s Smith and Hooper range is regionally identified.

In 1998 a large contract crush and winery was constructed. Its primary purpose was to service the needs of the major grape (and bulk wine) buyers from the region. In 2001 the winery was leased to Orlando Wyndham and is now called Russet Ridge.

South Australia Facts

South Australia Wineries 6
South Australia Tasting Notes 150


Latitude 40°45’S
Altitude 75–150 m
Heat Degree Days 1468 (Struan), 1535 (Naracoorte)
Growing Season Rainfall 205 mm (Struan), 232 mm (Naracoorte)
Mean January Temp 19.4°C (Struan), 20.5°C (Naracoorte)
Harvest Mid March to mid April
  • SA
  • Wrattonbully