Mount Benson is a unique coastal wine region situated approximately 300 kilometres from Adelaide and halfway between the historic townships of Kingston SE and Robe in the south east of South Australia.
The first viticultural trials occurred in the region in 1978, with Colin Kidd of Lindemans planting Riesling, Traminer, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The first commercial plantings consisted of a 2 hectare block of Cabernet Sauvignon in 1989. Since then, a further nineteen vineyards have been established, spanning an area of approximately 600 hectares.
The Mount Benson vineyards are planted on gently undulating terrain ranging from five to 50 metres above sea level and attracted the interest of viticulturists due to prevalent loam-based terra rossa soils that sit atop free-draining limestone.
The biggest draw card from a viticultural point of view is the moderate maritime climate. Cold and wet winters and long, cool and dry growing seasons are typical in the region. Strong winds prevailing from the South in spring and summer keep foliage dry and assist with disease management. Winter frosts are also moderated by our coastal location, as are summer temperature extremes. It’s these favourable conditions which provide the foundation to an elegant and delicate style of wines.
The oldest winegrape plantings in Mount Benson are Cabernet Sauvignon, planted in 1989. More than half of the total current vineyard area in the region was planted between 1991 and 2000. During that period the varietal mix became more diverse to include other key varieties Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz. Pinot Gris was not planted in Mount Benson until 2000. Growth in vineyard area has continued steadily over the past decade bringing the total area to 503 hectares.