Author Archive

Eutypa Survey Results Webinar was well attended
Monday, June 8th, 2020

The Zoom webinar with Mark Sosnowski to review EDS was well attended.

For those that missed it – watch the video.

Monday, June 1st, 2020


1st June 2020




The 2020 Limestone Coast Wine Show will be cellared for 12 months due to COVID-19.


Organisers have confirmed that they will put the event’s highly anticipated 20th anniversary celebrations on hold until October 2021. The announcement has been prompted by the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus pandemic, with ongoing uncertainty surrounding public restrictions.


Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council executive officer, Ulrich Grey-Smith, says the decision was not taken lightly, and was primarily made to support those involved with the popular event.


“Everyone involved in the show – from organisers to exhibitors, sponsors, and local suppliers –  is focusing on safely and successfully mobilising their own businesses and workplaces right now, and this really needs to be the priority this year in such a challenging economic environment,” he says. “We acknowledge the impact of this decision on our wine regions and communities, and we’re incredibly grateful for their continued support.”


The Limestone Coast Wine Show is run by a dedicated team of committee and stewards who take time out of their own business to ensure its success. Judges and many exhibitors also fly in from all parts of Australia and overseas for the five-day event.


The 2021 Wine Show will run with the same format as in 2019; judging will take place at the Coonawarra Hall from October 18-22, with the Presentation Dinner set to be hosted by the Mount Gambier Wine Region. UK-based international judge Sarah Ahmed has already committed to next year’s event, while Samantha Connew, winemaker/owner of Stargazer Wine in Tasmania, will continue her tenure as chief of judges in 2021.


“I completely understand and support the Limestone Coast Wine Show Committee’s decision to delay this year’s event,” Sam says. “Nobody should have to potentially compromise either their health or their business by involvement in a wine show, either as a judge, steward, exhibitor or committee member – particularly with so many questions as to regulations and travel still remaining. I am looking forward to returning next year.”


All wine shows that Sam Connew is involved with have made a similar decision for 2020.


Keep an eye out for news on your emails and at


For further information, contact LCGWC executive officer Ulrich Grey-Smith on 0429 499 355.


Saturday, December 28th, 2019

17th December 2019


Mount Gambier wine producer and owner of Caroline Hills Winery, Helen Strickland, has been appointed the new president of The Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council Inc. (LCGWC).

The current secretary of the Mount Gambier Regional Grapegrower’s Association, Helen says she is looking forward to working with a dynamic group that achieves results in a wide variety of areas across a highly successful industry.

“The Limestone Coast has a strong reputation for its premium wine production and it contributes strongly and sustainably to the region’s economy, providing diverse employment opportunities across all skill levels,” she says. “I admire the way that the LCGWC thinks regionally across grape growing, winemaking and viticulture, and I like the fact that members work collaboratively in a competitive environment. It was wonderful to be asked if I would be interested in this role, and I look forward to continuing the amazing work achieved by Peter Bissell and his team.”

Helen Strickland also sits on the board of the Mount Gambier Chamber of Commerce, chairs the Mount Gambier & District Community Bank (Bendigo Bank), and is the independent chair of the South Eastern Professional Fishermen’s Association Inc., representing the interests of South Australia’s most valuable commercial fishery. Her appointment has the full support of outgoing LCGWC president Peter Bissell and vice president James Freckleton.

“It’s great that Helen agreed to take over at the helm of the LCGWC after the position was vacant for a short time after the November 20 AGM; we will value her broad experience and she is a good fit into the business of the council,” James says. “She has been fully endorsed as president by the Committee of Management.”

Peter Bissell spent five years as president of the LCGWC and has been a member of the management committee for more than 15 years.  Significant projects during his tenure include the review into the 2012 Water Allocation Plan, successful lobbying for a Moratorium on Fracking during the Parliamentary Inquiry into Unconventional Gas, and an increase in LCGWC council levies to improve financial stability. The continued success of the LCGWC’s Limestone Coast Wine Show is also part of his legacy; Peter was a founding member of the show in 2001, and served on its committee for 10 years. Peter will continue as public officer to complete the Limestone Coast Mixed Dozen Wine Trails Project, which will be officially launched early in the new year.

For further information or interviews, please contact Helen Strickland 0458 198 81, Peter Bissell 0427 852 315 or LCGWC executive officer Ulrich Grey-Smith on 0429 499 355.

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

13th November 2019


The Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council Inc. (LCGWC) is thrilled to announce that Dr Kerry DeGaris was last night named the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) Viticulturist of the Year. The prestigious award sponsored by Wine Australia honours an outstanding viticulturist who demonstrates a broad positive contribution to the Australian wine industry, and acknowledges adoption of innovative practices, technologies or standards.

The chair of the ASVO Awards selection committee, Liz Riley, described Dr DeGaris as an exceptional communicator: “It’s that willingness to collaborate and work with industry beyond your region and that generosity with knowledge; there are people who do it really well and Kerry is certainly one of them,” she said.

Dr DeGaris is a technical viticulturist for Treasury Wine Estates based in Coonawarra, and is also the chair of the Technical sub-committee of the LCGWC. LCGWC executive officer, Ulrich Grey-Smith, said she has been instrumental in facilitating and conducting research and extension in the Limestone Coast.

“Kerry has really made a difference in terms of research inroads in this region, and has fostered some really strong and productive relationships between local growers, PhD students and other up-and-coming researchers,” he explained.

Projects steered by Dr DeGaris have enabled growers to better understand and manage a range of challenges including Eutypa, iron bacteria in irrigation water, salinity and cabernet berry shrivel. Her work has also included winemaking trials from local rootstock trials, while her passion for locally-targeted research has seen the development of numerous fact sheets, webinars and workshops which are now being utilised at a national level.

ASVO Award recipients are nominated by ASVO-appointed selection committees comprised of individuals who themselves are distinguished in the fields of viticulture and oenology. Dr Catherine Kidman, viticulturist for Wynns Coonawarra Estate, was also among the finalists, along with Brett McClen, chief viticulturist for Brown Family Wine Group.

“It was an extremely tight, high-calibre field and certainly the toughest year in which I have had to judge, which really reflects the depth of the industry at the moment, and all three viticulturist finalists were extremely worthy contenders,” said Liz Riley.

McLaren Vale winemaker Corrina Wright was named 2019 ASVO Winemaker of the year, taking the title from 2018 winner Pete Bissell, Balnaves of Coonawarra chief winemaker and outgoing chair of the LCGWC.

For further information or interviews, please contact Kerry DeGaris on 0417 408 796 or LCGWC executive officer Ulrich Grey-Smith on 0429 499 355. A Dropbox link to photos from last night’s awards is available here. (Photo credits: John Kruger)

Friday, October 25th, 2019

Thursday 24th October 2019



A classic Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon that has been produced by one of South Australia’s oldest wineries since the 1980s was the big winner at this week’s 2019 Limestone Coast Wine Show. The 2016 St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon won the Bill Redman Trophy for Best Wine of Show at tonight’s trophy presentation feast held at Penola’s Rymill Hall, after earlier winning the HR (Ron) Haselgrove Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon and the David Wynn Trophy for Best Red Wine of Show. The result saw St Hugo viticulturist, Tim McCarthy, awarded the Arthur Hoffmann Trophy for Viticulturist of the Year for the second year in a row, after last year taking top honours with the 2016 George Wyndham ‘I Am George’ Shiraz Cabernet.

Chief of Judges, Samantha Connew, described the 2016 St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon as “A beautiful example of a wine from a terrific variety which highlights exactly what Cabernet from this region should be about.”

The St Hugo trophy haul continued when the 2015 St Hugo Vetus Purum Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon claimed the Trophy for Best Individual Vineyard Wine for the second year in a row, taking the tally to five for the evening.

Tonight saw the official unveiling of the new Pam Dunsford Trophy for Best Chardonnay. The 2018 Brand’s Laira Blockers Chardonnay was named the inaugural winner of this trophy honouring the esteemed winemaker’s contribution to the Limestone Coast’s winemaking heritage.

Meanwhile, it was a triple trophy treat for seasoned performer Leconfield Wines across a range of grape varieties. The 2019 Leconfield Coonawarra ‘La Sevillana’ Rosé won the Trophy for Best Rosé, the 2018 Leconfield Coonawarra Merlot claimed the Peter Wehl Trophy for Best Merlot, while the 2018 Leconfield Coonawarra ‘Old Vine’ Riesling won the International Judges’ Award. “This wine was definitely one of the wines that stood out this week,” said Guest International Judge, Michelle Bouffard, from Montreal, Canada. “Bone dry with great tension and energy. Love the structure. Simply thirst quenching.”

Riesling from Coonawarra really shone at this year’s event claiming a total of five trophies. “It just demonstrates that Coonawarra has got multiple strings to its bow and the story is not just about red varietals; Riesling from this region also really shines,” said Samantha Connew.

The 2019 The Ridge Terra Rossa Coonawarra Riesling won the Colin Kidd Trophy for Best White Wine of Show and the Karl Seppelt Trophy for Best White (excluding Chardonnay). The 2014 Patrick of Coonawarra Aged Riesling won the Ewen Fergusson McBain Trophy for Best Museum Wine, and the Blok Coonawarra Riesling 2018, 2010, 2006 won the White Wine of Provenance Trophy.

The Red Wine of Provenance Trophy went to Wynns Coonawarra Estate for the second year in a row, for its Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon (2016, 2010, 2006).

The Chief of Judges Wine to Watch went to two wines in 2019 – the 2018 Vandenberg Ari Shiraz and the 2019 Penley Estate Francis Cabernet Franc: “They were certainly two wines that stood out for me in terms of style and varietal – the Shiraz demonstrating the Australian tradition of inter-regional blending to make a seamless wine, and then the Cabernet Franc gave that modern interpretation of crunchy and vibrant red wine that consumers are increasingly looking for,” said Samantha Connew.

The 2017 Majella The Musician won the Trophy for Best Blended Red, with Majella also winning the Trophy for Most Successful Exhibitor. Rounding out the trophy winners, the 2018 Two Truths Shiraz won the Eric Brand Trophy for Best Shiraz, and the 2016 Ortons Road Shiraz won the Small Batch and Experimental Wines Award. The 2018 Wangolina Tempranillo was declared the Best Alternative Red Variety, the 2018 Hollick The Nectar won the Trophy for Best Sweet Wine while the NV Grey-Smith Wines Blanc de Blanc Coonawarra won the Trophy for Best Sparkling wine, with the judging panel’s Liz Heidenreich declaring it “a cracking wine that dances in the glass”. “It was seamless; it had really lovely complexity and was a really complete wine; really enjoyable and a delight to drink,” she said.

A total of 43 Gold medals were awarded at the 19th annual show, matching last year’s tally. All entries will be uncorked and available for tasting at the Coonawarra Hall from 9am tomorrow (Friday October 25).

The full list of trophy winners and digital images photographed by Adrian Gale is available here. Video interviews with selected trophy winners are also in production. For further information, please contact LCWS Publicity Officer Gretel Sneath on 0417 382 035 or Alice Davidson from the LCWS Committee on 0479 119 588.                            

 Public Tasting – Coonawarra – Friday 25 October, 2019

Exhibitor Tasting: 9am – 1.30pm
Public Tasting: 11.30am – 1.30pm ($15 Admission including Results Book)


Friday, October 4th, 2019


2 October 2019


The unique wine experiences on offer across the Limestone Coast and South-West Victoria will soon be available at the touch of a button. Award-winning digital team, Alpaca Travel, has been appointed to build a new interactive online platform for the Limestone Coast ‘Mixed Dozen’ Wine Trails Project to connect and build on the tourism offering across eight different wine regions.

The online platform is set to target international wine visitors in addition to the domestic market in a bid to bolster the global reputation of Australia’s food and wine, with a particular focus on the wine tourist markets of UK and the USA. The new digital planning tool will not only bring together multiple wine and tourism businesses and attractions, but will encourage self-guided exploration with curated itineraries and inspiring stories that give visitors the confidence to venture further.

Mixed Dozen project manager, Toni Duka, says it will function like a digital concierge or experience curator, with the focus more on journeys rather than just giving directions.

“Visitors can find a place on a map, but where you add value is by curating a set of unique experiences that showcase the best of your area,” she says. “It’s about inviting visitors to explore somewhere new and see more along the way; we want to inspire them to take the road less travelled beyond the popular self-drive travel routes of the Great Ocean Road and Adelaide-Melbourne touring route, to go somewhere that is perhaps unfamiliar and ideally, persuade them to stay longer.”

The Alpaca team took home the gong for Technology Provider of the Year at the 2018 Australian Travel Awards, and is well known within the travel industry for its innovation when it comes to sharing and showcasing meaningful tourism experiences. The Spirit of Tasmania, Destination NSW, Visit Grampians, Visit Sunshine Coast and the City of Adelaide are among those to have already adopted the technology, and Alpaca Travel co-founder, Zoe Manderson, said the company is thrilled to be working with the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council.

“We know that itineraries are inherently important for getting visitors exploring beyond the gateways and uncovering the experiences that make the region so special,” she said. “In bringing these experiences to life in the digital world, we can give people the confidence to go exploring in the real world.”

The Limestone Coast Mixed Dozen Interactive Wine Trails Project has been funded through the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, through the International Wine Tourism Competitive Grants program, and 10 other funding partners across state and local government, industry and community. It’s anticipated that the digital platform will be ‘live’ by mid-November 2019.

Further comment:

Mixed Dozen Project Manager Toni Duka: 0417 083 626

Chairman of Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council Peter Bissell: 0427 852 315

2019 Limestone Coast Wine Show Set to *Sparkle*
Monday, September 16th, 2019


16th SEPTEMBER 2019

2019 Limestone Coast Wine Show Set to *Sparkle*

The entries are in for the next month’s Limestone Coast Wine Show (LCWS), and Sparkling wine has emerged as the standout class for 2019. With local sparkling nominations almost doubling those of last year, the party wine is continuing its stunning comeback.

The LCWS committee’s Sarah Pidgeon says people are looking for fun wines. “The growing interest in sparkling wine is very much a national trend, and Australian producers are certainly making more refined, elegant styles in response to this demand,” she explains. “Sparkling really thrives in our region’s cool climate and ancient soils, so the wine show represents a real opportunity for local producers to make a splash and capture the judges’ attention.”

A total of 79 producers representing all seven Limestone Coast regions have nominated their favourite drops for the October 22-24 show. The Two-Year-Old Cabernet class has retained its title as most popular category – no surprise, given the firm hero status of Cabernet Sauvignon in the Limestone Coast. However, there are strong signs of growth among several other varieties. 

“It’s always interesting to look at the trends regarding wine show entries,” says Sarah Pidgeon. “There is slow growth in the Rose class and Pinot Noir, the ‘other red varieties’ class has also grown year on year, with Cabernet Franc overtaking Tempranillo as the on-trend variety for the first time this year.”

Guest international judge Michelle Bouffard from Montreal, Canada, says she is looking forward to tasting a wide selection of Cabernet Sauvignon while also exploring the diversity beyond the region’s flagship variety: “The offering in the Canadian market is very limited, and I am very much looking forward to discovering the depth of what the Limestone Coast has to offer,” she says.

Three panels led by Chief of Judges, Samantha Connew, will spend two days taste-testing a total of 496 top local drops at the Coonawarra Hall on October 22-23. The 2019 Limestone Coast Wine Show winners will be announced at a Trophy presentation feast on Thursday October 24 in Penola, with event organiser Peta Baverstock preparing for one the biggest dinners in the show’s 19-year history. 

“Pipers of Penola are catering in the fabulous Rymill Hall with the theme for the dinner being ‘Spring Bud Burst’,” Peta reveals. “Twenty-two trophies and awards will be awarded on the night with attendees able to taste previous wine show winners, with a focus on early drinking styles as we celebrate all things spring.”

A limited number of tickets are still available for the dinner, which is being hosted by the Coonawarra Wine Region. For tickets, please visit

Printable pdf


Wine Drop Off 7-11 October

Judging 22-23 October at Coonawarra Hall

Trophy dinner 24 October at Rymill Hall, Penola

Public Tasting 25 October at Coonawarra Hall

For digital images of 2019 Wine Show Judges please click HERE. For further information, please contact Alice Davidson, LCWS Committee, on Mob. 0479 119 588 or visit

2019 Limestone Coast Wine Show will be Red, White…and Green
Monday, July 29th, 2019


29th JULY 2019

2019 Limestone Coast Wine Show will be Red, White…and Green

The Limestone Coast Wine Show (LCWS) is going green, with organisers expanding the use of digital technology at the 19th annual event. From today, all entries can be submitted online only, while the show’s official vineyard register and October judging process will also switch to a paperless system. LCWS spokesperson, Lauren Hansen, says the committee is continually refining its systems. “We want to demonstrate our commitment to a sustainable future and also keep the show efficient, relevant and interesting, so that it remains a highly anticipated event on the industry calendar,” she said.

Three judging panels will spend two days putting the finest wines from across the region to the ultimate test at the Coonawarra Hall on October 22-23. Tasmania’s Stargazer Wines chief, Samantha Connew, the 2007 International Red Winemaker of the Year, will return for her second year at the helm as Chief of Judges. “I’m looking forward to coming back, and with one year under my belt, I certainly feel that I’ve got a much better understanding of the fantastic Limestone Coast community and the wines that are being produced there, along with the changes that have happened over the past 10-15 years,” she said. “Cabernet is incredibly well known in this region, but I’m also excited about seeing more of the lesser-known varieties which really caught the judges’ attention last year, including cabernet franc, shiraz from Mount Benson and riesling from Mount Gambier”.

Melbourne wine writer, author and wine judge, Jeni Port, will also be returning this year, along with Melbourne’s City Wine Shop retail manager Jeremy Prideaux. The guest international judge is Canadian wine educator, critic, author and sommelier Michelle Bouffard. Highly involved in the discussions around the effects of climate change in the wine world, Michelle is the organiser of the international conference Tasting Climate Change, which was first held in Montreal in October 2017.

Other key members of the three judging panels include Pernod Ricard Fine Wine Director Travis Fuller, Margaret River winemaker Cliff Royle, Manager of Industry Policy for Australian Grape and Wine Anna Hooper, and Coonawarra senior winemakers Sue Hodder (Wynns Coonawarra Estate) and Bruce Gregory (Majella Wines).

“A record-high 338 medals were awarded at last year’s wine show, including 43 Gold, 110 Silver and 185 Bronze, and we’re hoping that we will be able to beat that incredible haul in our 19th year of competition,” Lauren Hansen said.

Producers from across the Limestone Coast have until Friday August 23 to nominate their top drops for judging, and may register at  The 2019 Limestone Coast Wine Show winners will be announced on Thursday October 24 at a trophy presentation dinner at Rymill Hall in Penola. The dinner is being hosted by the Coonawarra Wine Region, and tickets will go on sale next week.


Entries close 23 August

Wine Drop Off 7-11 October

Judging 22-23 October at Coonawarra Hall

Trophy dinner 24 October at Rymill Hall, Penola

Public Tasting 25 October at Coonawarra Hall

For digital images of 2019 Wine Show Judges please click HERE. For further information, please contact Lauren Hansen, LCWS Committee, on Mob. 0409 090 598 or visit

Region’s wine tourism project kicking goals!
Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

1st May 2019

Region’s wine tourism project kicking goals!

With all funding now secured work is well underway on the cross-border wine tourism project announced mid-2018.  After six months on the ground the $350,000 Limestone Coast Mixed Dozen Interactive Wine Trails project has completed over 50% of the project’s actions! Steering Committee Chair, Pete Bissell said “It is a fantastic outcome and a great demonstration of the wide range of support for the project.”

He continued, “The project aims to increase awareness around the wine tourism offering across the region – which spans from the Mount Benson Wine Region in South Australia to the Henty Wine region in Victoria and six other wine regions in between.”  A major output for the project is a web-based itinerary planner which will highlight the wine tourism attractions across this region, enticing visitors to plan a holiday here and ultimately stay longer, enjoying all that the region has to offer.

Project Manager Toni Duka has recently been in the field meeting with cellar doors about wine tourism in the area, including Jenni Ling from Karatta Wines, Robe who said “It has been good to chat with Toni about what experiences are on offer, any future plans for new wine tourism experiences and what local businesses would like to see in the itinerary planner”. Toni has also been meeting with key people in the Henty wine region, including Andrew Lacey, President of the Henty Wine Region who commented that “the group are really enthusiastic about building relationships and increasing tourism in our regions, the partnership makes sense as there is so much in common and such a great array of attractions on offer between us.”

Toni further explains “One of the key focus areas is leveraging international visitation from the Great Ocean Road and other entry ways into the region and enticing them to travel a little further and experience what this part of Australia has to offer. It is a really exciting time, everyone has been very positive about the opportunity to collaborate and promote the fantastic wine tourism products we have.”

With over 150 wine tourism experiences mapped out so far there is certainly a lot to see.  The project also hopes to assist businesses, wherever possible, in building the offering in the region and the number of experiences we have, Toni says “Wine Tourism is evolving and while Cellar Door tastings are fantastic and central to wine tourism, visitors are also looking for that something extra to include in their holiday plans – something they can go home and tell their family and friends about.”

The project team have partnered with the University of South Australia to undertake regional research asking visitors about their holiday experience, what the region has to offer and if there are other things they’d like to see here.  Limestone Coast Tourism Industry Development Manager, Biddie Shearing said ”It will be really great to have some research that is quite specific to our region – telling us exactly what visitors here have valued about their visit and to also suggest where there might be further opportunities, it is certainly an exciting time for wine tourism in the area.”

If you would like to know more about the project please contact Project Manager, Toni Duka via mobile 0417 083 626 or email

The Limestone Coast Mixed Dozen Interactive Wine Trails is a collaborative project with funding from the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, Primary Industries and Regions SA, Local Government and Industry.

Join the Cabernet Rootstock Trail Field Walk on 21 March 2019
Thursday, March 7th, 2019

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