South Australia is well known for it’s wines. Adelaide is one of the ten Great Wine Capitals of the World. Throughout the state there are 18 different wine regions. Kangaroo Island is just one of them. Wine lovers should visit at least one during your stay, but which one? Here are some of the best Kangaroo Island wineries to consider during your visit.
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About the Kangaroo Island Wineries
Kangaroo Island was declared an official wine region in 2000. There are approximately 14 wineries on the island, but not all of them have cellar doors for tastings. The most popular grapes grown on Kangaroo Island are cabernet, shiraz and chardonnay.
Best Kangaroo Island Wineries
The wineries suggested here are mostly in two areas, making it convenient to split the tasting over two days. This way it can be combined with visiting some of the other Kangaroo Island producers, such as a honey farm, brewery, a gin distillery, lavender farm and a eucalyptus distillery.
I’m not by any means a wine expert, but I do enjoy visiting cellar doors and tasting the various wines on offer. While of course everyone hopes to taste good wines, often the experience of tasting can be the thing that really makes the wines stick in the memory.
Bay of Shoals Wines
Bay of Shoals Wines is conveniently located on the outskirts of Kingscote, in a stunning spot with views over the vineyards and out across its namesake, the Bay of Shoals. All of the grapes used in their wine are grown here on Kangaroo Island and are made into wine right here too. You will also find the only fortified wine made on Kangaroo Island here at Bay of Shoals winery.
The cellar door has a maritime theme to match the pelicans on the bottles and the seaside location. While small, there is plenty of room for a few small groups of tasters, with outdoors area available too on warmer days. Platters and other light meals are available, as are an assortment of local produce that would be great in a picnic basket. This is a great location to not only for a quick tasting, but also a place to linger for a while with a glass of the local drop and a few friends.
Bay of Shoals had a nice variety of white wines, the standard Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, and a few other more unusual wines. One that I enjoyed was the Savagnin (no, it’s not the same as Sauvignon), a variety of grape mostly grown in the Jura region of France and often used to make sherry. I took home a bottle of the 2019 Savagnin, and also a bottle of the 2017 which was being sold exceptionally cheaply to reduce excess stock. While I didn’t try the 2017, I was assured it was a very different wine to the 2019 as there was a different winemaker at the time, so it will be interesting to see what it is like.
The list of wines included three different sparkling wines, a Cuvée, a Rosé and a Shiraz. The was also a still Rosé, and a small selection of red wines, all standard wines for this area – Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. While these wines we all perfectly drinkable, we thought the white wines were the pick of the bunch here.
Tastings at Bay of Shoals cost $5 each but that is taken off of the price of any wine you purchase.
Springs Road Wines
The Springs Road Wines vineyard was established in 1994. In 2016, a visiting winemaker noticed that it was up for sale, and on the spot decided to buy it. So Springs Road Wines became the sister company to Battle of Bosworth and Spring Seed Wine Co, both from McLaren Vale.
The Springs Road Wines cellar door was opened in 2018. It is quite a small space, but has a lovely outdoor deck with views over the surrounding countryside. My favourite thing about wine tasting here was the staff member telling us about the wines. She was fabulous and I wish I had made a note of her name. Her poodle, Edward, was also a fun inclusion in our visit.
We were able to try wines not just from Springs Road Wines but also some from the other wineries in the group too. Spring Seeds Wine Co has a very nice organically grown Rosé. It was especially impressive since I don’t tend to be a Rosé fan. From the reds, the Shiraz was our favourite. There is a premium Terre Napoleon Shiraz but it was not available for tasting during our visit.
While we were here to taste wines, there was also a beer offered as well – a Battle of Bosworth Pale Ale. For those who like a pale ale, this one is worth a taste, and we ended up taking home a six pack of beer. Not something I thought we would do at a winery.
Tastings at Springs Road Wines are $10/person. While it wasn’t specifically spelled out, we did not pay the tasting fee so we are assuming it was waived when we made a purchase.
The Islander Estate Vineyards
The Islander Estate Vineyards was established by a French winemaker after he visited Kangaroo Island and fell in love with the area around Cygnet River. He had produced wines in the Bordeaux region in France, and there is a definite Bordeaux feel in the wines produced here too.
The cellar door at the Islander Estate is the smallest of the ones we visited, but there is still enough room for a couple of small groups inside. There is also some outdoor seating that is perfect for sitting and relaxing with a glass of your favourite after you have tasted all the wines. The cellar door also sells a selection of local food and can put together a platter to enjoy with your wine.
The Islander Estate white wines include a Pinot Gris and a Chardonnay. There’s also a Rosé, but unsurprisingly since there is a Bordeaux focus, the focus here is on red wines. Along with Shiraz, there is a Tempranillo and a Sangiovese in the “everyday” range. The Premium range includes a lovely Shiraz Cabernet Franc. Then there is the Flagship range, a Cabernet Franc, a Shiraz and a Malbec. And if that isn’t enough, then there are some museum wines available too.
We found the wines very drinkable and took home a bottle each of the Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Shiraz Cabernet Franc.
Tastings at The Islander Estate cost $12 per person for the standard wines. A premium tasting is $30 per person. These costs do not get taken off any purchases you make.
False Cape Wines
False Cape Wines are one of the oldest wineries on Kangaroo Island, and also the largest. It is family owned by Julie & Jamie Helyar who were formerly a teacher and a shearer. They focus on growing their grapes as naturally as they can, growing eight different varieties. Harvesting is done at night and the grapes are taken on the first ferry over to Julie’s brother’s wine processing plant in McLaren Vale to be turned into wine.
In late 2019 they opened their fantastic new cellar door. This rustic building has been purpose-made from local, mostly recycled, materials and took four years to construct. Now it has a great inside area for the cold weather, a shaded outdoors area for when it is too hot, and a lovely open deck with views over the vineyards. There are platters, snacks and light lunches available during your visit.
The tastings here are done a little differently to the other places. Each once consists of four wines. There is a choice of whites, reds or a combination. We chose one white tasting and one red so that we could try all eight of the wines between us. All four wines are brought out at once on a timber tray and then guests are left to taste at their own pace. Tasting notes are provided and staff members (mostly family) will happily stop to chat about the wines as they pass.
While all of the wines were good, we were particularly impressed with The Captain Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 and took home a couple of bottles to stash away for a few years time.
Overall False Cape Wines felt like a place to come and have lunch with friends rather than a quick stop to taste some wines. It was relaxed and picturesque and if I had to recommend only one winery, this would be it.
Tastings at False Cape Wines cost $12 for four wines which were slightly larger than the average tasting measure. This was not taken off any purchases.
Dudley Wines are probably the most well known of the Kangaroo Island wineries. It’s hard to miss photos of the stunning view from the deck on social media. The cellar door is large with an adjoining function space. Glass doors open up onto a huge deck with beautiful views across Backstairs Passage to the mainland. Along with wine, there are light meals (bookings essential) and tasting platters available to accompany the wine while you are enjoying the view.
While I was particularly impressed with the cellar door and location, we unfortunately timed our visit poorly so didn’t make the most of tasting all of the wines. We arrived just fifteen minutes before they closed for the day, and only had time to quickly taste a couple of wines each. Dudley Wines have a range of 14 different types. There are three sparkling wines, a Rosé, four whites and six reds. We particularly liked the Shiraz and purchased a bottle of the 2016 Porky Flat Shiraz.
We were lucky enough to also be able to taste the premium shiraz, The Stud 2013, since they had a bottle already opened, and we were suitably impressed. It was delicious. It is given a 94 rating by the Halliday Wine Companion, the authority on Australian wine.
The cellar door also showcases some local Kangaroo island artwork, local produce and a large range of Dudley Wines merchandise and souvenirs. If you visit on a Sunday there will be live music to add to the atmosphere.
While I enjoyed our visit, we couldn’t do Dudley Wines justice in just a few minutes. This is a place that needs some time to enjoy. For your visit, take note of the opening times because they do close a little earlier than the other wineries.
Tastings at Dudley Wines are free for the first four wines.
While we didn’t get to taste the Amadio wines as the cellar door was temporarily closed during our visit, this was the first winery to be located on Kangaroo Island. If you are looking for an easy, convenient cellar door to visit, Amadio is located right in the heart of Kingscote. It also has a restaurant serving pizza, pasta and other delicious Italian meals.
Amadio also have vineyards in the Adelaide Hills, and have another cellar door in Felixstow, so it is also possible to taste some of their great Kangaroo Island wines there.
For more Kangaroo Island information, try these posts
Where to Stay on Kangaroo Island
The Ultimate List of What to do on Kangaroo Island
How to Get to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide
Visiting more great South Australian locations? These posts might help
Adelaide 3 Day Itinerary
Best Places for South Australia Whale Watching
Best Coonawarra Wineries for a Wine Tasting Weekend
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Josie Kelsh is South Australian, born and bred. She has lived in the state for almost her whole life, just one short stint away as a teenager with her family. Travelling all over the world has shown her exactly how amazing South Australia is to live and travel in and she uses her passion to show it to you the way a local sees it.