Southern Fleurieu wine region: Where wine meets the sea
Sand and sea hold a special place in the hearts of Southern Fleurieu’s winemakers and vignerons. Living in a natural paradise that is ripe for exploration, they have all of the ingredients and inspiration they need to produce premium wines.
A 30 minute drive from Adelaide will take you to the start of the Fleurieu Peninsula which is home to four different wine regions: McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Currency Creek, and Southern Fleurieu.
McLaren Vale might receive the most attention. However, bright sandy beaches, crystal blue water, rolling hills, stunning restaurants, and premium wines are awarded to those who are willing to drive about 30 minutes further from Adelaide, to explore the other side of the Fleurieu Peninsula.
The closely neighbouring Southern Fleurieu wine region stretches from the hills to the ocean and has a cool maritime climate. The breezes benefit the vineyards around Goolwa and Currency Creek, providing protection from excessive heat and prolonging the growing season to produce premium wine with balanced and elegant acidity. The gentle hills and soft slopes of the region are also very welcoming to viticulture and enhance the natural beauty of the region.
There are two soil types for wine producers to play with: sandy to clay loam over limestone subsoil to buckshot grave over limestone. You also can’t talk about Southern Fleurieu without talking about the beaches. Picture crystal blue water and white sand. The vast expanses of the Southern Ocean surrounding the region have a moderating influence on the climate and small vineyards take advantage of the microclimates that can be found among various sites nestled in the hills and valleys.
The elegant wines of the Southern Fleurieu wine region
Growers benefit from the cool climate, without the risk of extreme weather and severe frosts. The temperatures in summer are mild and a long, dry autumn helps the grapes to reach full ripeness. As a result, many of the grapes retain their acidity and aromatics, creating fruit-forward wines with character.
The region mainly produces medium-bodied red wines with balance, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Southern Fleurieu’s Chardonnay is also known for its fragrance and elegance. Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon Blanc are also grown in the region, so most of Australia’s favourites are covered.
Expanding the bubble
People in South Australia love to support their local businesses and communities. The term parochialism gets thrown around a lot and farmer’s markets in Adelaide and Willunga are frequently visited by locals who want to stock up on fresh produce, fish, meat, and wine. However, people in Southern Fleurieu don’t just embrace and enjoy everything the region has to offer. They are also willing to share the best of their lifestyle with others and the tourism industry is blossoming.
Winemakers and producers in the region don’t tend to come from long family lineages and are open to experimentation. No. 58 Cellar Door and Gallery is found on the historic Waverly Estate in Port Elliot, providing a unique opportunity to explore local art and wine.
The Joinery Wine Room also offers a relaxed wine-tasting experience with “no rules and no pressure”. You can simply hang out, play board games, enjoy share plates featuring local produce, and try delicious wines from Charlotte Dalton and Cooke Brothers. Based on the fringe of Port Elliot at Factory 9, it sits among a row of humble sheds that are home to other local artisans, producers, and artists.
Southern Fleurieu is a beautiful summertime destination and neighbours some of South Australia’s best tourist destinations: Victor Harbor, Goolwa, and Port Elliot.
Exploring Southern Fleurieu's idyllic landscape
Southern Fleurieu is a beautiful summertime destination and neighbours some of South Australia’s best tourist destinations: Victor Harbor, Goolwa, and Port Elliot. The calm, crystal blue waters surrounding the region are full of marine life and perfect for paddle boarding. You might even spot seals, dolphins, or whales on your adventures.
Hiking or driving along the nearby Waitpinga Cliffs in Newland Head Conservation Park is one of the best ways to admire Fleurieu Peninsula’s captivating coastline.
The seaside town of Port Elliot also has a vibrant coastal culture, wine rooms and eateries, and sweeping beaches. You can stroll along the coastline, wander the shop-filled streets, and finish your day with a glass of wine. We recommend resting at the Flying Fish Cafe to enjoy fresh local produce while admiring the sea from your seat.
Victor Harbor is a historic coastal town where the Fleurieu Peninsula’s community meets the sea. The horse-drawn tram celebrates the town’s rich maritime history, taking visitors on a journey across the causeway to Granite Island. You can also see the dotted islands surrounding Victor Harbor when you travel along the Rosetta trail.
Riding the Cockle Train along Australia’s oldest steam railway is also a fun way to see the sights. The 30-minute adventure meanders along the coast from Goolwa at the mouth of the River Murray to Victor Harbor.
Yours to explore
The Southern Fleurieu wine region might not be widely known outside of South Australia, but it’s open for exploration to anyone wanting to enjoy local wines by the sea.
Images of the Fleurieu Peninsula are courtesy of South Australian Tourism Commission.
Featured top to bottom: Lost in Mount Jagged Lakeside Retreat captured by Mish and Kirk (images 1-2), No. 58 Cellar Door & Gallery at Port Elliot captured by Adam Bruzzone, Port Elliot Jetty capture by Trent Martin Photography, Granite Island captured by Trent John Martin.
The South Australian Tourism Commission releases photographs and/or video footage solely for the purpose of positive promotion of South Australia as a tourism and travel destination. Any breach of this condition may result in legal action.