Regions > South Australia

: Limestone Coast Zone



Limestone Coast Wine Industry Wine

Limestone Coast Zone

The plains of the Limestone Coast in the south-east corner of South Australia produce wines of consistent cool climate quality and style.

The gently undulating zone, based on ancient seabeds, includes the famous Coonawarra region and also emerging wine regions: Padthaway, Wrattonbully, Mount Benson and Robe. While the limestones were laid down 15-20 million years ago the coastal plains in the area was under the sea as recently as 6,000 years ago.

The famed soil of the Limestone Coast is the terra rossa, which is most famously manifest in the Coonawarra. The success of Coonawarra led viticulturalists to seek out similar ground on the zone. Back in 1944 the CSIRO had recommended the region for horticulture due to its rich soil and underground water supply. The climate is Mediterranean with coastal influences.

blue lake
Mount Gambier's famous Blue Lake (in a volcanic crater that intruded through the vast slab of limestone that dominates the area's soils) stays blue regardless of cloud cover due to the impact of calcites in the water on light diffraction. Actually it does go through an annual cycle, when we visited it was during its least blue winter phase. Mount Gambier vineyards are having some modest success with cool climate varieties such as Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc (presumably away from any excessively fertile volcanic soils).

The classic wines from the zone are the Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays. Outside of the old family wineries in the Coonawarra the region is the preserve of the large wine companies. Seppelt first established vineyards in the area followed by BRL Hardy, Mildara Blass, Orlando Wyndham, and Southcorp.

The vineyards here produce fruit for red and white table wine and sparkling wine for both cask and premium labels. The area is receiving special notice for its white table wine but if yields are kept down it is capable of producing good reds outside of the Coonawarra.

Several wineries and vineyards do not fit into the existing wine regions and are included here.