The small township of Robe is situated on the shores of Guichen Bay. The region is made up of large areas of natural bush and scrub, which include scenic national parks and waterways. Robe was proclaimed a port in 1847 and became a major outlet for produce from the south east of South Australia and a large hinterland extending into Victoria and the south west of New South Wales. At one stage it was the third largest port in South Australia and played an important role in the development of the Limestone Coast region until the advent of railways, which heralded a steady decline to a town dependent on tourism and fishing.
The Robe region has a defined history in fishing, pastoral activities and tourism, with little viticulture prior to 1989. It has a strong history of pioneering people who settled the area and in more recent times many of those same people developed the wine region. Robe’s proximity to the coast not only influences the lifestyle and related industries, such as fishing and tourism but plays a major role in the
climatic conditions that are ideal for viticulture. The first commercial vineyards were established in 1994 by Penfolds and several independent operations followed soon after.
Today Robe is an exciting wine region located on the eastern side of the Woakwine Range on an unspoilt, rugged coastal landscape nestled between lakes and the Southern Ocean. Highly respected in discerning wine circles, the region’s wines enjoy acclaim for their distinctive character and premium quality. The soils, aspect and protected maritime climate, along with the long growing season are all distinctive attributes leading to the production of powerful, yet elegant wines which are rich in colour.
Robe’s oldest vineyards were planted in 1994 and include the key varieties Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Around 90% (659 hectares) of the current vineyard area in Robe was planted between 1995 and 2000. This included 230 ha of Cabernet Sauvignon, 165 ha of Shiraz and 110 ha of Chardonnay. Expansion of the region has slowed since 2001; however the diversity of varieties has increased to include Pinot Gris and Savagnin Blanc.