Grape vines were planted on Kangaroo Island as early as 1837 by island settlers striving to create a familiar life in unfamiliar surroundings. Grapes were grown for personal consumption until around 1990 when commercial vineyards began to appear. In 2001, Kangaroo Island was officially declared an Australian wine region. Today 30 growers tend more than 200 hectares of vines serving 18 Kangaroo Island wine labels.
Many of the island’s vignerons are generational farmers who have diversified into wine production, while others have recognised the ideal growing conditions and started an enterprise. What they have in common is the bond they create between the environment they grow in and the wine they produce.
The island’s temperate, coastal climate is ideal for growing grapes. With a longer ripening period than many mainland regions, Kangaroo Island wines have a purity and restraint that makes them a perfect match to the region’s artisan food.
As Jacques Lurton from The Islander Estate Vineyards has said: “I can have permanent contact with nature on this island. For me, this is the environment for high quality wines. Innovation is the key to winemaking here because nothing is predictable.”