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 limestonecoastwine.com.au

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 https://limestonecoastwine.com.au/mixed-dozen-wine-trails.com.au

An information pack including instructions on how to apply is available by emailing admin@limestonecoastwinetrails.com.au

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





International visitor numbers to Limestone Coast wine regions are expected to increase after a unique wine trail proposal received a major federal funding boost.

The Turnbull Government will pour $175,000 from its International Wine Tourism Competitive Grants Program into the project to develop ‘Mixed Dozen Interactive Wine Trails’ that traverse both sides of the SA-Vic border. The funding will be matched dollar-for-dollar with a $125,000 grant from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA and $50,000 of local stakeholder money.

Tourism Industry Development Manager, Biddie Shearing, said it’s the largest amount of funding to be allocated to the region for a single tourism initiative in more than a decade.

“This is a really significant opportunity to expand and enhance our unique wine tourism experiences, and grow the reputation of Australia’s food and wine abroad,” she said.

The Mixed Dozen Interactive Wine Trails will target visitors from China and the USA in particular, and will feature a central consumer tool or website that promotes tailored experiences designed to increase length of stay and maximise tourism expenditure. The initiative was developed by the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council with the support of Wine Australia. Project chair, Peter Bissell, said it’s unique because it will pitch wine producers from two neighbouring states as a combined attraction.

“We have enlisted 12 stakeholders – including all the wine zones in the Limestone Coast plus the Henty and Grampians regions across the border – to join forces to build a digital tool to help attract and disperse international wine travellers across the region,” he explained. “This represents a whole new level of collaboration across the region and with our Victorian neighbours, and we have secured strong support from local government leaders and industry bodies.”

The cross-border partnership will generate a seamless overlap with the well-established Melbourne to Adelaide Touring Route – one of Australia’s most prolific self-drive itineraries. The aim is to entice visitors beyond popular attractions like the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians and Kangaroo Island by offering a range of compelling experiences relating to wine.

“We have a depth of variety in terms of wine and wine experiences and all within a short drive or in some cases walk of each other,” Mr Bissell said. “For example, there could be a ‘Coastal Trail’ that links coastal terroir with wine varieties and seafood experiences, or we could highlight Coonawarra and the adjacent Penola and Glenroy Conservation Park walks, or the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves nestled in the heart of the Wrattonbully Wine region, which contain a wealth of information about regional geology.”

The Federal Member for Barker, Tony Pasin, has described the grant as “great news for local producers and the local economy”. “By enhancing the wine tourism experiences of international visitors, we are helping grow wine exports and further bolstering the Limestone Coast’s excellent wine reputation at an international level,” he said.

 A project manager and local steering committee will oversee the initiative, with hopes the trail experiences will be firmly entrenched in travellers’ itineraries by mid-2020.

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

Italian Pruners coming to Wrattonbully & Coonawarra


Italian Pruners coming to Wrattonbully and Coonawarra

Where: Smith & Hooper Vineyard Offices, Wrattonbully.

When: Wednesday July 4, 10am – 3.30pm, lunch included.

Cost: $75pp – 20 places only.  

The techniques behind ‘soft-pruning’ will be extended to Limestone Coast grape growers in July by the self-proclaimed Italian ‘pruning-guys’, Simonet and Sirch who have taken the Australian viticultural industry by storm over the past few pruning seasons.

Known for their modified  Pousset methodology for pruning grapevines where by an understanding of the way a grapevine moves nutrients and water  and thereby choosing canes that provide an uninterrupted supply of sap is one of the fundamental take home messages.

Their workshops consist of a two hour technical session where you learn about the methodology before heading out for 2 hours in a vineyard to put into practice what they have been teaching.

Workshop on July 6 at the Coonawarra Hall is SOLD OUT.  

Book Here

June: Grapevine Nutrition Workshop in Padthaway


Grapevine Nutrition workshop returns to the Limestone Coast

Understanding grapevine nutrition and how this influences yield and quality will be focus of a one day workshop on Tuesday June 5 at Treasury Wine Estates Padthaway.

Utilising the well-known Research to Practice training module developed by the CRC for viticulture and updated by the AWRI –, the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council (LSCGWC) will run a one-day course on the topic of grapevine nutrition.  The day will be coordinated by Drs Mardi Longbottom and Kerry DeGaris from the Australian Wine Research Institute. Both Mardi and Kerry are well-known locals with expertise in grapevine nutrition.

To ensure the day is tailored to the Limestone Coast, a survey has been created to enable local grapegrowers to identify their nutritional practices and challenges. The link to the survey is located on the LSCGWC website and can be found here.

Grapevine nutrition management, principles of nutrition, key grapevine nutrients, managing nutrition in the vineyard and measurement tools and techniques will be the main topics of discussion.

The day can be a refresher for those who have been in the industry for a while but also an introduction for new growers in the region.

The day is subsidised by the Wine Australia regional program with a cost of $25 per head to cover catering.

To register please go to the LSCGWC website: https://limestonecoastwine.com.au/whats-on/nutritionrtp/ 

For more information contact: Kerry DeGaris (0417) 408796 or Mardi Longbottom (08) 83136600

From AGM: New Committee of Management


The Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council AGM was held on 22nd November 2017.  Congratulations to new and returning office bears and committee of management. 

Report from Chair

Minutes available on request, contact Ulrich Grey-Smith, Secretary at tech3@limestonecoastwine.com.au.

And the winner is…WOLF BLASS WINES with a four trophy haul!


27th October 2017

And the winner is…WOLF BLASS WINES with a four trophy haul!

The 2015 Wolf Blass Gold Label Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon has won the Bill Redman Trophy for Best Wine of Show at the 2017 Limestone Coast Wine Show. The celebrated drop also collected the David Wynn Trophy for Best Red Wine of Show and the H.R. (Ron) Haselgrove Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon at last night’s sell-out presentation feast held in Padthaway, with viticulturist Martin Wirper awarded the highly coveted Arthur Hoffmann Trophy for ‘Viticulturist of Best Wine of Show’.

It’s the second time a Wolf Blass Gold Label Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon has taken top honours, with the 2010 vintage dominating the 2012 Limestone Coast Wine Show. Chief of Judges, Jane Faulkner, declared that it “just screamed its region”: “There’s a lot to like with this cabernet sauvignon, from its vibrant fruit profile to its detailed tannins and above all, freshness,” she said.

The 2017 show unearthed the broadest and most comprehensive list of trophy winners in the event’s 17-year history, with all 22 trophy categories awarded and all regions within the Limestone Coast represented. The 2017 Ottelia Mount Gambier Riesling won the Colin Kidd Trophy for Best White of Show, and the Karl Seppelt Trophy for Best White (excluding Chardonnay). Wrattonbully’s Malone Wines also celebrated a trophy double, with the 2014 Malone Cabernet Sauvignon named Best Individual Vineyard Wine, and the 2009 vintage collecting the Ewen Fergusson McBain Trophy for Best Museum Wine. Leconfield Wines’ double trophy haul featured the 2016 Leconfield Coonawarra Petit Verdot (Small Batch and Experimental Award) and the 2016 Leconfield Cabernet Franc (Best Alternative Red Varietal). “This wine is a knockout – it’s delicious – and it’s a really lovely modern example of a variety that has been around for a while,” said Jane Faulkner.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Judges’ Wine to Watch was the 2016 Wangolina Lagrein made from grapes grown near Bordertown: “I was rapt that someone is making this Northern Italian variety; in the glass it has the most insane colour, so obviously you get a bit seduced by this,” Jane Faulkner said. “It’s a very cool wine and I love the fact that someone is going out there and having a crack at it.”

Guest UK Judge, Sarah Ahmed, was also asked to select her favourite wine out of the 496 entries, with the 2017 International Judges Award going to the 2017 Lost Ram Syrah by Robe’s Karatta Wine Co: “This is a really aromatic, juicy, smashable wine with lovely complexity – it’s not out of the box or necessarily what you would expect, and it was a lovely surprise,” she said.

Coastal producers had a strong showing in this year’s awards, with the 2016 Norfolk Rise Vineyard Shiraz winning the Eric Brand Trophy for Best Shiraz and the 2015 Woodsoak Wines Blanc de Noirs named Best Sparkling Wine.

The Red Wine of Provenance Trophy, which provides a platform for exhibitors to enter three vintages of the same wine, was won by Coonawarra’s Redman Wines, with Redman Cabernet Sauvignon from 2014, 2009 and 2000 declared stand-outs. The White Wine of Provenance Trophy went to The Ladbroke Grove Wines Schoolhouse Riesling (2016, 2010 and 2005 vintages).

Rounding out the trophy winners, the 2016 Brands Blockers Chardonnay was named Best Chardonnay, the 2016 Majella Merlot won the Peter Wehl Trophy for Best Merlot, the 2015 Lindemans Coonawarra Pyrus Red was named Best Blended Red, and the 2017 The Cellar Works Rose by Atlas Wines was Best Rose. The trophy for the Best Sweet Wine went to the 2016 Hollick Estates ‘The Nectar’ for the second year in a row, with consecutive vintages.

A total of 306 medals were awarded at this year’s show, including 72 Gold, 92 Silver and 142 Bronze. Wynns Coonawarra Estate was named most successful exhibitor, which awards the winery with the most high scoring wines across the show. All entries will be uncorked and available for tasting at the Coonawarra Hall this morning (Friday October 27), offering members of the public an opportunity to try the wines and compare notes with the judges. The Exhibitor’s Tasting will be held from 9:00am, and the Public Tasting from 11.30am – 1.30pm ($15 admission including results book).

Adrian Gale’s digital images of trophy winners and dinner guests are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/home/Limestone%20Coast%20Wine%20Awards%202017

Video interviews with selected trophy winners will also be available late today.

For further information, please contact Gretel Sneath on 0417 382 035.




19th September 2017


Entries for the 2017 Limestone Coast Wine show have fallen just five bottles short of a new record. A total of 497 of the region’s favourite wines have been nominated for the October 23-26 event, with organisers toasting the industry’s continued support

Cabernet has maintained its tradition as the most popular wine entered in the show with more than 140 nominations, and red varieties account for 70 per cent of overall entries. Rose numbers are up, and fizz has also made a comeback, with a sharp swing in sparkling wine submissions. ‘Other Red Varieties’ is another category on the rise, showcasing the region’s smaller experimental plantings of lesser-known varieties like Montepulciano, Tempranillo and Malbec.

The Provenance classes, meanwhile, have maintained their strong following after first being introduced in 2016. Established labels are asked to submit three vintages of the same wine to be judged for consistency of style and quality over time, providing a medium to long-term reflection of the growth and development of Limestone Coast wines.

“Provenance classes have become a popular addition to wine shows in recent years, and nowhere else does such a class make sense more than the Limestone Coast, where ageability of our reds already has such a strong reputation,” says the wine show committee’s Sarah Pidgeon.

Judging for the 17th annual event will again take place over three days at the Coonawarra Hall, and tickets for the October 26 trophy presentation feast are now on sale. The dinner is always incredibly popular and sells out early, with this year’s soiree set to be hosted by the Padthaway Wine Region.

“A marquee will be erected on the lawns of Henry’s Drive Cellar Door, and local catering firm St Bee’s will prepare a feast for 120 guests,” says dinner MC, Krysteen McElroy. “The evening will have a strong community flavour, with the menu and décor highlighting the region’s vibrancy and diversity.”

Speakers on the night will include chief of judges, Jane Faulkner, guest international judge Sarah Ahmed from the UK, and back-to-back winner of the Viticulturist of the Year trophy, Peter Balnaves. Tickets are available online at www.limestonecoastwine.com.au/wineshow/dinner/


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