Rang­ing on the River­land

Element - - Wellbeing - By Yvonne Lorkin

If you’re head­ing to South Aus­tralia and have a han­ker­ing for one heck of a daytrip, then by­pass the usual Barossa, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra sus­pects and in­stead seg­way north east to­wards the chic and cheer­ful River­land.

For the eco-con­scious wine fan, the River­land wine district is chock full of op­tions to slake your thirst for sus­tain­abil­ity in ac­tion.

Tucked away on a scenic corner of the Mighty Mur­ray River (you must al­ways say ‘mighty’) in a spot known as Hog­wash Bend, you’ll find Caudo Vine­yards. It pro­duces wines named af­ter the roses that were once grown there; Peace Chardon­nay, Honor Shi­raz and Olympiad Mer­lot. Recog­nised as one of Aus­tralia’s most beau­ti­ful cel­lar doors and lo­cated just me­tres from the river bank, the Caudo fam­ily recog­nise the river is the 60 mil­lion-year-old lifeblood for all man­ner of wildlife and mag­nif­i­cent stands of gi­ant river Red Gums which must be pre­served. They’ve teamed with world ex­perts in dry land agri­cul­ture to de­velop state-of-the-art wa­ter man­age­ment sys­tems to max­imise ef­fi­ciency and min­imise wastage in an op­er­a­tion geared to­ward main­tain­ing eco­log­i­cal bal­ance.

Time now to head east and con­nect with the A20 again for a 40 minute drive to the fa­mous Ban­rock Sta­tion Wine & Wet­land Cen­tre. Launched in 1995, Ban­rock Sta­tion was the first wine brand to in­tro­duce the con­cept of wet­land restora­tion on a large scale. Over 50% of Aus­tralia’s wet­lands have been de­stroyed and the nat­u­ral sea­sonal cy­cle of Ban­rock Sta­tion’s la­goons were in­ter­rupted back in 1925, how­ever they’ve been com­pletely re­stored thanks to years of pour­ing pro­ceeds from bot­tle sales into this mam­moth en­vi­ron­men­tal effort. The lo­cals rave about the child-friendly restau­rant, which show­cases tasty lo­cal pro­duce and the eight kilo­me­tres of self-guided walk­ing trails and wheel­chair-friendly sec­tions of board­walk which wind through the two la­goons, fea­tur­ing story cen­tres, in­for­ma­tion huts and bird-view­ing hides.

Snake your way east back onto the A20, veer onto the B201 to­wards Monash Road and then take a left onto Hodges Road to 919 Wines. Owned and op­er­ated by cham­pi­ons of the River­land re­gion, Eric and Jenny Semm­ler, the vine­yard was planted in 2002 and to­day this gor­geous Glos­sop vine­yard and win­ery are cer­ti­fied or­ganic and bio­dy­namic. At 919 they pro­duce a smorgasbord of wine styles, there’s def­i­nitely some­thing for ev­ery­one, from light, sweet Moscato to ver­mentino, petit manseng to big reds like du­rif, touriga and tem­pranillo, shi­raz and san­giovese. How­ever those with a sweet tooth will sali­vate over their port­fo­lio of drool-in­duc­ing for­ti­fied wines crafted from va­ri­eties used in the for­ti­fied wines of Ruther­glen, Por­tu­gal and Spain and in­spired by the Euro­pean tra­di­tions.

Your last stop of the day is just a short 15-minute drive away to the doorstep of Salena Es­tate, the largest or­ganic wine pro­ducer in Aus­tralia. Bob and Sylvia Fran­chitto are the brains be­hind this op­er­a­tion which had its first vin­tage back in 1998, and has since ac­cu­mu­lated hun­dreds of medals, tro­phies and other ac­co­lades at shows around the world. You’ll find Shi­raz, Caber­net Sauvi­gnon, Petit Ver­dot, Chardon­nay, Colom­bard, Semil­lon, Pinot Gris, Ries­ling and Mer­lot, but they also have a sta­ble of un­usual va­ri­eties such as Ver­mentino, San­giovese, Mul­tip­ul­ciano, Gra­ciano and Viog­nier, How­ever it’s their lit­tle-known Biano d’Alessano which is at­tract­ing much at­ten­tion af­ter scoop­ing the Tro­phy for Best Wine of the Show as well as the Tro­phy for Best Ital­ian Va­ri­etal and Tro­phy for Best White Wine at the Aus­tralian Al­ter­na­tive Va­ri­eties Wine Show.

“...the river is the 60 mil­lion-yearold lifeblood for all man­ner of


Ban­rock Sta­tion win­ery and wet­lands.

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