Discover the Limestone Coast Wine Region
Home of the celebrated Coonawarra region, South Australia’s Limestone Coast wine region is a genuine wonder of Australian wine.
Shop Wines from Limestone Coast
South Australia is home to some of the most revered wine regions in Australia: McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, the mighty Barossa Valley... and, of course, Coonawarra, regarded by many as the birthplace of some of Australia’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon.
Yet Coonawarra is but a part of a larger wine region, known as the Limestone Coast. Made up of a number of sub-regions that are now gaining increasing recognition in their own right for their sensational wines, it’s a region that’s as beautiful as its name suggests.
Where is the Limestone Coast?
Located in the south-eastern pocket of South Australia, the Limestone Coast stretches west from the Victorian border to Kangaroo Island, and from the coast of the Southern Ocean north to the Lower Murray, encompassing a wealth of distinctive sites whose conditions are ideal for the production of premium grapes.
Touring the Limestone Coast presents the wine-loving explorer with a cavalcade of delights, not just for the tastebuds. From the seaside limestone cottages of Robe to the heritage-listed limestone caverns of Wrattonbully and the crater lakes and sinkholes (most notably the Umpherston Sinkhole) of Mount Gambier, it’s one of the most enchanting slices of Australia to be found anywhere.
Sub-regions of the Limestone Coast
Including Coonawarra, the Limestone Coast consists of the following sub-regions:
Bordered by Wrattonbully in the North, Mount Gambier to the south and the Victorian border to the east, Coonawarra enjoys an enviable reputation for its world-class Cabernet and its famous terra rossa over limestone soils – considered by some as perhaps the most desirable terroir in the New World. The region’s maritime climate and soil leads to some of the most elegant, approachable, and critically-acclaimed Cabernet in the world. First planted in the 1890s, it also turns out notable expressions of Chardonnay and Riesling.
Halfway between the South Australian towns of Kingston SE and Robe, Mount Benson was first planted under vine in the 1980s. Like Coonawarra, it is also home to terra rossa soils atop free-draining limestone, and production is largely focussed on Cabernet, Shiraz and other red wines, though white varieties like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling are also produced here.
First planted in the early 1980s, the Mount Gambier wine region lies just south of the city of the same name. Bordered to the north by Coonawarra, to the south by the coast, and to the east by the Victorian border, it is home to some 20 vineyards and 8 associated wineries, all family-owned and operated. Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Merlot are the dominant reds here, while white wine varieties form the majority of all plantings, particularly Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Extending northwest from Naracoorte along the Riddoch Highway, the Padthaway region was first planted by Seppelt in the 1960s, who recognised the potential in its terra rossa soils and who first dubbed it Keppoch. Thomas Hardy soon followed, as did Lindemans, who purchased land closer to the town of Padthaway itself, by which the region came to be known. It consists of some 4,500 hectares of plantings, predominantly Shiraz, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Located in southeast South Australia adjoining the seaport town of the same name, Robe lies along about 20km of coastline, bordering the Mount Benson and Beachport regions. A relatively young region – it first began to flourish in the mid-to-late 1990s – its cool maritime climate makes it ideal for the production of concentrated yet refined wines, most notably Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Its Cabernet and Shiraz are also increasingly capturing the attention of discerning wine lovers.
Although founded by pioneering farming families in the 1840s, it wasn’t until the 1960s that Wrattonbully was first planted with grapevine. Its potential started being realised in full from about the 1990s onwards by winemakers attracted to its soils, temperate climate and elevated sites, and today the region has come to be recognised for its premium Cabernet, Shiraz, Merlot and Chardonnay.
Best Limestone Coast Wineries to Visit
Coonawarra – Brand’s Laira
One of the Limestone Coast’s most celebrated and historic wineries, Brand’s Laira, is a fixture of Coonawarra winemaking. Centred on the original stone building of Eric Brand’s Cellar, their Cellar Door is your opportunity to travel through time to explore not just the history of the winery, but of Coonawarra wine itself.
14860 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra, SA
By appointment only
Visit the Brand’s Laira website for more
Mount Benson – Wangolina
A meeting place of the contemporary and historic in the heart of the Mount Benson wine region, the Wangolina Cellar Door offers wine lovers the chance to enjoy the fruits of the winery’s labours upon lush lawns that let you soak up the scenic pastoral views in style and comfort – before taking in some art at their dedicated exhibition space. Nice!
8 Limestone Coast Road, Mount Benson, SA
Open 7 days a week, 11am-4pm
Visit the Wangolina website for more
Mount Gambier – Herbert Vineyards
Featuring a 1300m2 hedge maze planted in 2000, Herbert Vineyard is a two-level winery/cellar door located on the outskirts of Mount Gambier, showcasing in particular the Pinot Noir, Rosé and Sparkling Blanc de Blanc made here by locals David and Trudy Herbert.
Bishop Road, Mount Gambier, SA
By appointment only
Visit the Herbert Vineyard website for more
Padthaway – Padthaway Estate
Featuring a restored 1850s stables as a cellar door for private tastings, and a revived 1840s kitchen due to open soon to experience all the charm and character of the 19th century, Padthaway Estate is the ideal place to experience the region’s wines for yourself, from one of the area’s most notable producers.
Riddoch Highway, Padthaway, SA
By appointment only
Visit the Padthaway Estate website for more
Robe – Karatta Wines
Experience the unique coastal hinterland of the wild Robe region – a windswept landscape that produces wines of subtlety, richness and beauty – at the Karatta Tasting Room, where you can sample the estate-grown selections produced by David and Peg Woods from Karatta’s two vineyards, Tenison and 12 Mile.
5 Victoria St, Robe, SA
Open 7 days a week, 11am to 4pm
Visit the Karatta Wines website for more
Wrattonbully – Redden Bridge
Redden Bridge Wines is a unique, family-owned-and-operated biodynamic wine producer situated in the picturesque Wrattonbully wine region. Its cellar door is just a short drive away in the nearby town of Naracoorte, where you can sample their range, produced by the award-winning Derek Hooper from Cape Jaffa Wines.
3/44 Robertson Street, Naracoorte, SA
Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm
Visit the Redden Bridge Wines website for more
No doubt about it, the Limestone Coast will definitely reward your attention. We’ve only scratched the surface of the wineries you can visit in Coonawarra, so make sure to check out our list of all our favourites Coonawarra wineries and cellar doors, or dig a little deeper into what makes the Coonawarra wine region one of our best.
But as we’ve shown, it’s certainly not the only region making waves along the Limestone Coast. So next time you’re thinking of picking up a South Australian wine, look beyond the familiar names and make your pick one of the Wine State’s next rising stars – you won’t be disappointed!