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*



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



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!


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


see the Flyer

From our AGM 2018: Welcome in New Board


From our AGM held on 20th November 2018, we welcome the new members of our Board and thanks those stepping down.

See New Board make-up 

‘I Am George’ – yes indeed! #WS18 Results


Friday 26th October 2018


‘I Am George’ – yes indeed!


A wine honouring the spirit and legacy of Australian shiraz pioneer George Wyndham was the big winner at this year’s Limestone Coast Wine Show. The 2016 George Wyndham ‘I Am George’ Shiraz Cabernet won the Bill Redman Trophy for Best Wine of Show at last night’s sell-out presentation feast in Naracoorte, after earlier winning Best Blended Red and the David Wynn Trophy for Best Red Wine of Show. Viticulturist Tim McCarthy was awarded the highly coveted Arthur Hoffmann Trophy for ‘Viticulturist of Best Wine of Show’.


Chief judge, Samantha Connew, proclaimed ‘I Am George’ “a seductive wine”. “There was just another level of complexity in this blend which earned it the top gong – lots of juicy, primary, bright berry fruit but with some structure and tannin to give it complexity and length,” she said.


It was a triple trophy treat for DiGiorgio Family Wines after dominating the white classes. The 2017 DiGiorgio Family Wines Coonawarra Chardonnay won the Trophy for Best Chardonnay, and collected the Colin Kidd Trophy for Best White of Show. Judge Julian Langworthy praised the wine’s poise and complexity: “There’s great white wines in the Limestone Coast and this is a really complex and exciting wine to come from Coonawarra,” he said. Meanwhile, the 2018 DiGiorgio Family Wines Kongorong Riesling won the Karl Seppelt Trophy for Best White (excluding Chardonnay).


Leconfield Wines took home two trophies for the second year in a row; the NV Leconfield Syn Rouge won Best Sparkling Wine and the 2018 Leconfield Coonawarra Rose claimed Best Rose. St Hugo also had a double haul, with the 2015 St Hugo Vetus Purum Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon named Best Individual Vineyard Wine, and the 2010 vintage of the same wine winning the Ewen Fergusson McBain Trophy for Best Museum Wine.


The highly anticipated Provenance Trophies, which provide a platform for exhibitors to enter three vintages of the same wine, went to Raidis Estate’s ‘The Kid’ Riesling (2018, 2010, 2008) and a trio of Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon (2015, 2010, 2005). The 2015 Jacaranda Ridge Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon won the H.R. (Ron) Haselgrove Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon, with cabernet also capturing the attention of New Zealand judge, Sam Kim, who gave the International Judges’ Award to the 2016 Black Wattle Vineyards Mt Benson Cabernet Sauvignon. “It had that amazing fruit purity and intensity without being overblown,” he said. “Beautifully composed, seamless with terrific length – the complete package for me.”


The Chief of Judges Wine to Watch was the 2017 Norfolk Rise Estate Shiraz, with Samantha Connew dubbing it “a really modern interpretation of Australian Shiraz with beautiful slurpy fruit.” Rounding out the trophy winners, the 2016 Petaluma Merlot won the Peter Wehl Trophy for Best Merlot, the 2016 Berrigan Shiraz won the Eric Brand Trophy for Best Shiraz, the 2018 Bellwether Ant Series Wrattonbully Barbera won the Small Batch and Experimental Wines Award, and the 2018 Penley Estate Spring Release Cab Franc was the Best Alternative Red Variety.


A record-high 338 medals were awarded at the 18th annual show, including 43 Gold, 110 Silver and 185 Bronze. Orlando Wines was named most successful exhibitor. All entries will be uncorked and available for public tasting at the Coonawarra Hall from 9am-1pm today.


The full list of trophy winners and digital images photographed by Adrian Gale are available here. Video interviews with selected trophy winners will also be available Friday afternoon. For further information, please contact LCWS Publicity Officer Gretel Sneath on 0417 382 035.                    




15 OCTOBER 2018

Judging for the 2018 Limestone Coast Wine Show starts next Tuesday at the Coonawarra Hall, with 501 of the region’s favourite wines facing close scrutiny. New chief of judges, Tasmania’s Samantha Connew, will lead a panel of 10 expert critics during the 18th annual event.


“I haven’t spent a compact period of time in the region for a long time, so I’m looking forward to seeing what changes have occurred in terms of winemaking and quality,” she says. “Cabernet is always going to be the centre of attention because of the legacy that is involved, but from my experience judging other wine shows, there’s also some really exciting things happening with alternative varieties and other red blends.”


Samantha Connew predicts that the Provenance Class, featuring three vintages of the same wine, will be one of the most highly anticipated elements of the show. “We know that Limestone Coast wines age so well, so that should be a real delight,” she says.


This year’s major winners will receive a new-look trophy created by Penola sculptor Guy Detot. Since the wine show’s inception, Mr Detot has collaborated with Mount Gambier architect and artist Robert Miles, who sadly lost his battle with cancer last year. As an ongoing legacy, the 2018 trophies continue to feature Robert Miles’ original designs laser cut in stainless steel. Penola artist Andy Clifford has supplied salvaged fence posts from his historic property Yallum Park, and is assisting Guy Detot with the design of the coveted creations.


“I’m really excited about this new design, which has a more free-form style compared to our previous trophies,” Mr Detot says. “While each trophy follows the same theme, they feature subtle differences reflecting each individual piece of wood and also the individuality of the wines selected.”


Multiple trophy winner Wolf Blass Wines will be aiming for its fourth overall win at the show. The high-profile brand first claimed the top award in 2011 for its 2009 Grey Label Shiraz Cabernet, and was back on top again in 2012 and 2017 after judges declared that their Coonawarra Gold Label Cabernet Sauvignon “just screamed its region”. Wolf Blass viticulturist, Martin Wirper, will be a guest speaker at next Thursday’s sell-out LCWS Trophy Dinner at the Naracoorte Town Hall, sharing details of a recent trip to Hungary, Bulgaria and Germany as part of his 2017 Arthur Hoffmann Trophy prize.


“These countries have a long and rich history with wine, yet you don’t really hear a lot about them on the world stage,” he explains. “I was mindful that I would be presenting my findings to marketers, winemakers and fellow viticulturists, so I wanted to go somewhere completely different and look at all aspects of their industry over there, from viticulture to wineries, varieties and innovation.”


For interviews, please contact Sarah Pidgeon (LCWS Committee) on 0412 825 149, Martin Wirper (2017 Arthur Hoffman Trophy winner) on 0438 862 690.


Captions for Dropbox Photos: Martin Wirper visiting the rootstock nursery and wine sales area (with Dr Zora Nagy and Dr Attila Nagy) at the NARIC Research Institute for Viticulture and Enology in Badacsonytomaj, Hungary.


Key dates:

Judging 23rd-24th October at the Coonawarra Hall

Trophy dinner 25th October at Naracoorte Town Hall

Exhibitors & Public Tasting Friday 26th October at Coonawarra Hall 9am-1:00pm






A total of 499 of the region’s favourite wines have been entered in next month’s 2018 Limestone Coast Wine Show (LCWS), representing 77 producers from all seven Limestone Coast sub-regions. Entries have now closed for the October 23-26 event, with the two-year-old cabernet class again attracting the largest number of nominations. The LCWS committee’s Sarah Pidgeon says the response reflects excellent recent vintages.

“Cabernet is certainly the hero variety for this part of the world, and it’s pleasing to see such strong support again for the 2018 event, with 76 wines vying for this class,” she says.

The wine show has also received strong shiraz entries, while pinot gris is the fastest-growing category, reflecting a varietal shift in the region towards this trending wine.

“It’s starting to rival the more classic sauvignon blancs and rieslings that are doing well, although it still has some way to go to match solid chardonnay entry figures,” Sarah says.

Judging will take place at the Coonawarra Hall, with 10 judges overseeing the event rather than the traditional six. New chief of judges, acclaimed Tasmania-based winemaker and consultant Samantha Connew, will lead three distinguished panels of critics including high-profile wine communicator Jeni Port and New Zealand-based wine judge and author Sam Kim. In a first for the 18-year-old event, a local Limestone Coast-based judge will also join each panel this year, with winemakers Sue Hodder (Wynns Coonawarra Estate), Anna Hooper (Cape Jaffa Wines) and Luke Tocaciu (Patrick of Coonawarra) adding their broad expertise to the event.

Trophy winners will be announced on Thursday 25th October at the Naracoorte Town Hall, which is being hosted by the Wrattonbully Wine Region. Co-ordinator Susie Harris says a limited number of tickets are still available for the event, with local caterers St Bee’s creating an unforgettable menu with matched trophy and medal-winning wines from Wrattonbully.

“It’s going to be a fabulous evening that pays homage to the ancient coastline and geology that gives rise to Wrattonbully’s unique and award-winning wine styles,” Susie explains.

Wolf Blass viticulturist Martin Wirper, the 2017 Arthur Hoffmann Trophy-winner, will be a guest speaker at the dinner, sharing details of his recent study tour abroad. Tickets are available at

For further information, please contact Sarah Pidgeon on 0412 825 149.

Key dates:

Judging 23-24 October at the Coonawarra Hall

Trophy dinner 25th October at Naracoorte Town Hall

Exhibitors & Public Tasting Friday 26th October at Coonawarra Hall 9am-1:00pm





Work is underway on a major cross-border interactive wine trail designed to expand and enhance the unique wine tourism experiences across the Limestone Coast and South West Victoria. A steering committee has been appointed to map the future direction of the Mixed Dozen Interactive Trails Project, and the search is now on for an independent project manager with demonstrated high-level management skills to bring the concept to life over the next 18 months.

The Trail will target international wine visitors in a bid to bolster the global reputation of Australia’s food and wine, with a particular focus on China and the United States of America. The project manager will work with local industry bodies and associated tourism-based organisations to develop tailored experiences designed to increase length of stay and maximise tourism expenditure. They will also oversee the design of a digital consumer-facing portal designed to inform, entice and disperse travellers across the target areas.

Project chair, Peter Bissell, said producers from all Limestone Coast wine zones plus Victoria’s Henty and Grampians regions will be promoted as a combined attraction due to the variety of compelling wine experiences found over a short distance.

“This cross-border partnership will generate a seamless overlap with the well-established Melbourne to Adelaide Touring Route and represents a whole new level of collaboration across the region and with our Victorian neighbours,” he said.

The Trail project has attracted $175,000 of federal funding, with local tourism officials confirming that it’s the largest allocation to the region for a single tourism initiative in more than a decade. The money is being matched dollar-for-dollar with a $125,000 grant from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA and $50,000 from stakeholders on both sides of the SA-Vic border.

APPLICATIONS CLOSE Friday 24th August 2018. For more background, please visit

An information pack including instructions on how to apply is available by emailing

For further comment please contact Peter Bissell, chairman, Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council 0427 852 315