Soil Stewardship Recipients Announced


Investing in our people & soils: Limestone Coast Soil Stewardship program recipients announced.


Times have undoubtably been tough in recent years in the grape and wine game, even somewhere as well suited to viticulture & agriculture in general, like the Limestone Coast.


However times like this sort out long term players who genuinely care about the past, present & future.


The Limestone Coast Grape & Wine Council continues to show wonderful long term vision for what they know is a sustainable area for high quality grape growing & wine production.


Recent projects like ‘Unearthing Viticulture in the Limestone Coast’  and  the ‘Culture project’.  These projects show the depth, humility and resilience of the natural resources and people who live and work there.


A new project has just been announced and is being co-ordinated by Ben Harris, Chair of the Limestone Coast Grape & Wine Council Technical committee and  Vineyard Manager of Wynn’s Coonawarra Estate, Dr Mardi Longbottom, Padthaway grape grower and Senior Viticulturist at the Australian Wine Research Institute and Sue Bell,winemaker at Bellwether.



The four talented recipients of a place in the program are:

Anna Hooper

(Winemaker Cape Jaffa)

Luke Tocacui

(Winemaker/Director Patrick wines, Coonawarra).

Kim Longbottom

(Proprietor Henry’s Drive Vignerons)

Nick Baverstock

(Vineyard Manager, Penfolds Robe Vineyards)


The participants will travel to WA, Adelaide, the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Victoria meeting peers and experts from other industries to devise a long term soil management strategy for the Limestone Coast. Their journey will start in the Coorong in the Limestone Coast and will end in Coonawarra where they will present their plan.


The program is supported by funding from the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation’s regional program, the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council and the Australian Wine Research Institute.


‘We are hoping they will help build on recent projects, adding more depth and devise creative local solutions that value the world famous resources we work with’ says Sue, ‘the recipients come from different disciplines & regions across our zone, we have a great facilitator, Russell Fisher from Sustainability in mind, based in Victoria.


For further information about the program, please contact Ulrich Grey-Smith, Executive Officer Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council on 0429 499 355 or by email: [email protected]


Grape industry seeks watertight mining commitment




26 February 2014

Grape industry seeks watertight mining commitment


One of South Australia’s peak viticultural organisations is calling for State election candidates to add their voice to widespread calls for a moratorium on unconventional shale gas mining. The Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council (LCGWC), which represents all vineyards in the Limestone Coast, believes that water resource protection should take priority over mining and exploration, and has established a sub-committee to address the issue. LCGWC chair, Brendan Provis, says the wine industry won’t be the only sector to feel the impact of reduced aquifer volume and/or quality if regional exploration plans go awry.


“The greater Limestone Coast is absolutely dependent on the ground water supply which services our towns, our industry, our livestock and our irrigated agriculture. We have no other options; if this goes wrong, we do not have access to the Murray River, reservoirs, or desalination, and this is why any uncontrolled change in aquifer levels or any well failure rate is such a major concern,” he says.


The LCGWC is also concerned about the use of water during mining activity, given that stakeholders have been asked to accept significant reductions in water allocation since the Lower Limestone Coast Water Allocation Plan (WAP) was approved by the Environment Minister in late November 2013. “The WAP has no provision for mining – every drop is accounted for, and any new water uses will need to come from existing licence holders, be they viticulture, agriculture, potatoes or forestry,” says Mr Provis.


The Victorian State Government has a moratorium on ‘fracking’ in place until mid 2015, and the LCGWC is seeking a watertight commitment from both major South Australian political parties that water resources in this state will be protected. “While only exploratory licences have been issued, the intention to explore the possibility of many wells and large scale hydraulic fracturing using old and new techniques raises many risks,” says Mr Provis, adding that the offer of a parliamentary enquiry is unsatisfactory. “Parliamentary enquiries become a political process whereby compromises can occur. We, along with many other long-term local industries, cannot compromise our water resources.”


The LCGWC is concerned that the Liberal Candidate for Mount Gambier, Troy Bell, has not made his position on the issue clear enough. “Are they prepared to put an immediate halt to drilling or not? Saying that you will never support anything that puts the supply of water or its quality at risk simply isn’t enough when drilling activity is already underway,” says Mr Provis.


Meanwhile, the LCGWC has been buoyed by the support of Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, who recently indicated that he will move amendments to the Federal Government’s Environment Legislation Amendment Bill to prevent fracking from taking place where there will be an impact on water resources. “Senator Xenophon has listened to Limestone Coast residents and is aware of the loophole in the existing law, which is placing our groundwater supplies in jeopardy,” says Mr Provis.


The LCGWC also has the support of Independent Mount Gambier MP, Don Pegler, who wrote to the Environment Minister, Ian Hunter, in December calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing “until such time that an iron clad guarantee can be given that our environment will not be threatened”.


For further comment, please contact Brendan Provis, Chair LCGWC, Mobile 0408 849 566.

Key’s Report 13 February

Travelling the underground

Written by Tony Keys, The Key Report 13th February 2014

Fracking is causing upset in the south-east of South Australia. It poses a possible threat to the wine regions of Coonawarra, Padthaway, Wrattonbully, Robe, Mount Gambier and Mount Benson, or, collectively, the Limestone Coast.

Beach Energy commenced drilling on January 11 just  two kilometres south of Penola. The (Jolly-1 vertical) well is exploring the potential of shale and tight sandstone, which have potential for liquids-rich gas.

The map shows the situation of the well and just how far the company wants to explore. Can it be trusted to look after the land? The company, of course, says yes. But it also says the aim of Beach Energy is “to increase shareholders’ wealth through profitable investment in exploration, development and production” .

As we are well aware, wealth creation is often at the cost of the land.

As in other parts of Australia and the world, this is a sensitive issue, and an issue that has politicians arguing. The Greens are clear they are against it; other parties are confusing as they appear to want the product but not the method of obtaining it. They want to save jobs but not lose the vote of the farmers and landowners. It’s ongoing and will affect all our lives, and possibly those of our children as well.

The practical issue of concern as far as grape growers and other farmers is pollution of the aquifer. Beach Energy says the community is confusing the extraction of coal seam gas with shale gas extraction. The former requires a lot of water; the latter not as much and the water is reused. TKR asked Allen Jenkins, president of Coonawarra Grape and Wine Incorporated, to state the growers’ case. Jenkins is also senior viticulturist for Treasury Wine Estates in the region. He said:

“This issue is one of relevance to much of the Lower Limestone Coast (not just Coonawarra). If unconventional shale gas mining and associated high volume, high pressure slickwater fracking were to expand over this sort of area (180,000 hectares) a large number of wells would be required and the long term future of our water supplies in this important part of South Australia could be seriously compromised.

“A local newspaper has reported the wells would be five kilometres apart. If they were to locate the major well heads on a 5 X 5 km grid then 10 wells per year would cover around 250 sq km or 25,000 hectares.

“The whole Limestone Coast is absolutely dependent on the ground water supply which services our town water, our industry, our livestock, and our irrigated agriculture. We have no other options, we do not have access to the River Murray, or reservoirs, or desalination. We are not confusing coal seam gas with the unconventional shale gas (USG) exploration currently underway just south of Penola.  

“Our understanding is that all USG needs fracking and Beach Energy indicated in their Penola public consultation their intent to hydraulically fracture these first two exploration wells. (Evidently they have no approval for fracking as yet.)

“Despite the commentary about a long history of gas wells in the Limestone Coast, our understanding is they have all been conventional wells, not unconventional shale. This is a new deal with new risks and an array of unknown consequences.

“Beach in their Penola consultation indicated that approximately four megalitres of water would be required for establishment and fracking of each horizontal well. Our understanding is that at each major well pad around six horizontal wells are drilled through the shale layer, each up to 1.2km long. This would mean around 24 ML would be required at each major well site. How much is recycled and really required is beyond my expertise.

“The big issue for us is that wells don’t last forever – steel and cement decay. We are a long term industry and many vineyards are being replanted in Coonawarra, and the expectation is for a 40 to 50-year life span. If the gas wells fail in 30 years’ time, and the ground water is contaminated or potentially drained into lower geology then the future of this region is compromised. Short term thinking and financial gain should not be allowed to compromise this amazing water supply and landscape for future generations. Seismic activity potentially precipitated by extensive high pressure fracking and also naturally occurring is also a very real long term risk to well integrity.

“We also have just completed 12 years of negotiations and activity leading to a new Lower Limestone Coast Water Allocation Plan (WAP) which has a precautionary principle as its major tenet. As part of this WAP we are taking 15 per cent cuts to assist preserve our water resource, and so it is very concerning to see another industry come in and be given carte blanche access to water.

“Unfortunately, we don’t see any precautionary principle in evidence from our SA Govt re USG when compared to Victoria and NSW, who are taking a more measured approach. We also don’t know what contaminants the fracking water will bring to the surface when returned. Nor do we know what will be done to dispose of this waste in an environmentally safe manner.

“In essence, enough doubt exists that there can be no guarantee of zero harm to the precious ground water, and as a consequence we want to see a more precautionary approach to this issue.”

Announcing the 2014 soil stewardship program


The Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council (LCGWC) are pleased to announce an exciting project taking place the Limestone Coast Wine Zone. The LCGWC are calling for applications to their ‘Soil Stewardship’ program, a year long program that will take participants on several regional study tours and assist in the development of highly skilled grape and wine industry leaders.

The LCGWC Chairman, Mr Brendan Provis, said, “This project will give 4 members of our viticulture and winemaking community a unique opportunity to study soil related issues in other parts of Australia, and evaluate how those learnings can benefit our own soil environment.”

Dr Mardi Longbottom, AWRI Senior Viticulturist and recipient of the 2012 Limestone Coast Sustainability Leaders Award said, “The aim of this program is to build the capacity and expertise of the group which will support adaptation and sustainability in the Limestone Coast. It is a fantastic opportunity for the leaders of the region to experience innovation in practice in other regions and in other industries.”

“The Limestone Coast has a wealth of talent and resources in its people. This program will assist them to take their skills to the next level,” Dr Longbottom said.

The Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council Technical Sub Committee is the peak research body for the Limestone Coast Zone. The main endeavour of this group is to facilitate the growth of technical knowledge in viticulture and winemaking. The Soil Stewardship program will support a group of passionate individuals to travel to Western Australia, Adelaide, the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek to experience innovative soil management practices with the potential to benefit the Limestone Coast. The group will also participate in leadership activities which will assist with the adoption of the learnings in the Limestone Coast.

The LCGWC ‘Soil Leaders’ program is available to 4 people in the Limestone Coast grape and wine community. The program is being funded through the generous support of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation Regional program.

For further information contact Ulrich Grey-Smith on 0429 499 355 or email: [email protected]

2013 Wine Show Top 50



December 2013


Toasting the Top 50 wines for 2013


The Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council (LCGWC) has come up with the ultimate tool to guide consumers through the festive season – a comprehensive list of the best performers at the 2013 Limestone Coast Wine Show. The Limestone Coast Top 50 features all trophy winners and gold medallists from the high profile show held in Coonawarra and Naracoorte from 29th October – 1st November. Several high scoring silver medallists are also included in the enticing selection of red, white, sparkling and sweet varieties, with the list offering the perfect blend of quality and style.


“The competition is open only to wines made from fruit grown within the Limestone Coast zone, and attracts entries from winemakers in Coonawarra, Padthaway, Wrattonbully, Robe, Mount Benson and Mount Gambier,” says LCGWC member Sarah Pidgeon. “These are the wines that our judging panel particularly loved, and whether you’re familiar with the regions or looking to sample some proven performers, this list offers a learned introduction to some exceptional wines and wineries within the Limestone Coast.”


Many of Coonawarra’s familiar names have made the grade, such as Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Majella, Rymill, Redman and Brand’s Laira. But the list also draws attention to some lesser-known companies achieving great things within the region, like the multi-award winning family-owned Malone Wines from Wrattonbully, Padthaway’s Henry’s Drive, and Mount Benson’s consistent performer Black Wattle. Recommended retail prices are included, and reflect the depth and variety of quality wines within this region.


“Several of the trophy winners fall below the $20 dollar mark, while the slightly more expensive cabernet sauvignon styles have a reputation which precedes them, and will be well worth the investment,” says Sarah. “The list really is the ultimate gift-giving guide, but it’s also going to be handy if you’re looking to stock your own wine rack ready for the holidays.”


The Barossa Valley’s Andrew Wigan, who is chief winemaker at Peter Lehmann Wines, chaired this year’s judging line-up, and was joined by one of Australia’s most respected wine writers, Jane Faulkner, independent wine consultant, educator, writer and speaker, Sophie Otton, highly decorated WA winemaker Virginia Willcock, and fellow Margaret River winemaker, Ed Tomlinson. China’s Fongyee Walker, co-founder of Beijing’s Dragon Phoenix Fine Wine Consulting, was this year’s international judge, bringing extensive judging experience from the London International Wine Challenge, the Hong Kong International Wines and Spirits Competition, the Annual Wines of Chile Awards, and several prestigious Australian shows.


A total of 401 entries were received from 77 exhibitors in 2013, and 39 gold medals, 42 silver and 143 bronze medals were awarded. Brand’s Laira was the most successful exhibitor for the second year in a row, with the 2010 Brand’s Laira Coonawarra One Seven One Cabernet Sauvignon collecting four trophies, including the David Wynn Trophy for ‘Best Red Wine of Show’, the HR (Ron) Haselgrove O.B.E. Trophy for ‘Best Cabernet Sauvignon’, the Bill Redman Trophy for ‘Best Wine of Show’, and the Arthur Hoffman Trophy for Viticulturalist of Best Wine of Show.


Interviews with a selection of winners and judges and the complete list of results can be viewed at For further information, please contact Sarah Pidgeon on 0412 825 149.

Limestone Coast Wine Show – Entries Close Friday


                    MEDIA RELEASE 

2nd September 2013

Limestone Coast Wine Show – Entries Close Friday


Nominations close this Friday for next month’s 13th annual Limestone Coast Wine Show, and the high profile judging panel secured for the event has prompted widespread interest from exhibitors. China’s Fongyee Walker, the co-founder of Beijing’s first and fully independent wine consulting and education service, Dragon Phoenix Fine Wine Consulting, has been confirmed as this year’s international judge. Fongyee brings extensive judging experience from the London International Wine Challenge, the Hong Kong International Wines and Spirits Competition, the Annual Wines of Chile Awards, and several prestigious Australian shows, and says she is looking forward to exploring the variety of wines from the Limestone Coast along with the diversity of its various sub-regions.


“The area as a whole is growing in popularity and awareness in China, so I feel it is important to really be able to convey to people in Asia what is happening in the area,” she says.


The Barossa Valley’s Andrew Wigan, who is chief winemaker at Peter Lehmann Wines, will return as chairman of judges for the second year in a row. Mr Wigan has described the role as an “honour”, and says he is looking forward to seeing some of the new wines from the exciting 2013 vintage as well as developing wines from past vintages.


“The Limestone Coast offers not only quality but also diversity of style and as the newer regions gain a foothold, there is added interest to the overall picture, so I am looking forward to seeing what unfolds this year,” he says. “In addition, the judging panel has a number of new faces in 2013 and I am very much looking forward to working with the new line-up.”


The line-up includes one of Australia’s most respected wine writers, Jane Faulkner, and the former Wine Director of Sydney’s famed Rockpool Bar and Grill, Sophie Otton, who has recently ventured out as an independent wine consultant, educator, writer and speaker.  Highly decorated WA winemaker Virginia Willcock, and fellow Margaret River winemaker, Ed Tomlinson, will also be joining the judging panel. Their favourite Limestone Coast wines will be revealed at a Trophy Feast at the Naracoorte Town Hall on October 31st, 2013. The dinner, which is hosted by the Wrattonbully Wine Region, is expected to be another sell-out, and tickets may be purchased when show entries are lodged at



Editors: More comprehensive bios of the judging panel are available at For further information or interviews, please phone Bruce Gregory on 0409 670 139.

A digital image of Fongyee Walker is att. for your use


Key dates – 2013 Limestone Coast Wine Show:

Deadline for entries: Friday, 6 September 2013

Judging: 28-30th October 2013

Presentation dinner: 31 October 2013, hosted by Wrattonbully Wine Region

Exhibitor & public tasting at Coonawarra Hall: 1 November 2013

Get Red-dy for the 2013 Wine Show


A new red wine trophy will be added to the awards line-up for the 2013 Limestone Coast Wine Show. Entries open today for the 13th annual event being held in late October, and producers of single varieties like merlot, sangiovese and tempranillo will now be in the running for a Best Dry Red ‘Other’ Trophy sponsored by Torresan Estate Contract Wine Bottling and Packaging.

“These wines were previously being judged alongside regional blockbusters like cabernet and shiraz, but due to the increase in production and interest in recent years, we thought they should compete on a separate playing field,” said the Wine Show Committee’s Bruce Gregory. “Of course they still have the opportunity to compete against those varieties for the David Wynn Trophy for ‘Best Red Wine of Show’ and the Bill Redman Trophy for ‘Best Wine of Show’, so it will certainly make for an exciting judging process.”

A surge in the popularity of sparkling wine has also prompted wine show organisers to revamp the Sparkling Wines class and break it down into four separate exhibition classes. Rose and Sparkling Red will now have its own category, with a further three classes being offered for the white varieties – Tank Fermentation, Time on Lees and Lower Gas (ie. Moscato).

“In the past, all sparkling entries were placed in a single class regardless of the production process, but we have identified that there is a wide variety of sparkling in this region – and strong interest from consumers – so it made sense to broaden the scope,” said Mr Gregory.

The new classes and trophy are expected to attract strong interest from producers, who have until Friday 6th September to nominate their top drops. Entry in the show is open to any winery that produces wine using fruit from the Limestone Coast Zone, and at least 85 per cent of that fruit also needs to be local. Judging will take place over three days in Coonawarra from October 28-30, and the winners will be announced at a Trophy Feast at the Naracoorte Town Hall on October 31st, 2013, hosted by the Wrattonbully Wine Region. The dinner menu will be matched with previous Wine Show trophy winners and is expected to be another sell-out, prompting organisers to place tickets on sale from today.

“It’s the first time people will be able to purchase dinner tickets online at the same time as they enter the show, so we encourage people to move quickly in order to ensure that they don’t miss out,” said Mr Gregory.

Entry forms for the Limestone Coast Wine Show are available at

Editors: For further information or interviews, please phone Bruce Gregory on 0409 670 139.

Key dates – 2013 Limestone Coast Wine Show:
Deadline for entries: Friday, 6 September 2013
Exhibit delivery: 14-18th October 2013
Judging: 28-30th October 2013
Presentation dinner: 31 October 2013, hosted by Wrattonbully Wine Region
Exhibitor & public tasting: 1 November 2013

Lindeman’s claims wine show trophy haul!


The 2008 Lindeman’s Coonawarra Limestone Ridge Shiraz Cabernet has collected a remarkable five trophies at the 2010 Limestone Coast Wine Show. After being named ‘Best Blended Red/ Other Single Red Variety’, ‘Best Red Wine’ and ‘Best Individual Vineyard Wine’, the prized drop went on to claim the Bill Redman Trophy for ‘Best Wine of Show’ after two intense days of judging this week at the Kingston District Hall. The accolades earned Lindeman’s viticulturalist Scott Jolly the major award at last night’s Trophy Presentation Feast at Norfolk Rise Winery in Mount Benson – the highly coveted Arthur Hoffman Trophy for Viticulturalist of Best Wine of Show.

Chairman of judges, Huon Hooke, declared the 2008 Lindeman’s Coonawarra Limestone Ridge “an outstanding wine”.

“It has wonderful fruit character, pinpoint ripeness with beautiful, ripe fruit, luscious flavour and excellent structure…it is a full-bodied wine with a very good length of palate,” he said. Patrick of Coonawarra was another stand-out performer at the nautical-inspired trophy feast. The family-owned company’s 2010 Patrick ‘Estate’ Riesling Wrattonbully collected the Colin Kidd Trophy for ‘Best White Wine of Show’ and the Karl Seppelt Trophy for ‘Best White Wine, excluding Chardonnay’. Winemaker Patrick Tocaciu described the win as a fantastic example of what can be achieved in an Australian cool climate.

“We’re excited by these trophies not only for ourselves but also for Wrattonbully and the entire Limestone Coast region, as this area is dominated by red varietals and not generally recognised for its riesling,” he said.

Dorrien Estate also collected two trophies – for two different entries. The 2008 Tolley Elite Chardonnay was named ‘Best Chardonnay’ and the 2008 Black Wattle Black Label Mt Benson Cabernet Sauvignon won the ‘International Judge’s Award’ after impressing guest Hong Kong judge Rebecca Leung with “its concentration and fruit intensity, texture and elegance”.

“There were a number of very outstanding wines, but I found that this one had profound structure and substance which made me hungry for more,” she said.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate was named the most successful exhibitor, claiming the H.R. (Ron) Haselgrove Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon for its 2008 Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon, and collecting a further two gold and three silver medals. Jacob’s Creek Wines’ 2005 Jacob’s Creek Limited Release 35th Anniversary Padthaway Shiraz was named ‘Best Shiraz’, and Majella Wines’ 2001 Majella Cabernet Sauvignon won the Ewen Fergusson McBain Trophy for ‘Best Museum Wine’.

“It’s fitting that the results were spread across the region for our 10th Anniversary year – we are extremely committed to promoting the Wine Show as an all-inclusive, multi-regional wine event encompassing the entire Limestone Coast and our winners have certainly helped to achieve that in 2010,” said chief steward Sarah Squire.

All entries in this year’s show will be uncorked and ready for tasting at the Kingston District Hall this morning (Friday October 29), offering members of the public an opportunity to sample and compare notes with the expert judging panel.

Key Tasting Times – Friday, 29th October
9am-11.30am: Exhibitor’s Tasting Session, Kingston District Hall (Possible interview opportunities with medal winners.)
11.30am-1.30pm: Public Tasting Session, Kingston District Hall