Complete Wine Guide to Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island Wineries

Kangaroo Island, a jewel off the coast of South Australia, is famed for its stunning natural beauty and diverse wildlife. But there's more to this island paradise than meets the eye! Wine aficionados, rejoice! Kangaroo Island boasts a burgeoning wine scene that rivals established Australian regions.

wine and dine on Kangaroo's island produced wines.

Unveiling Kangaroo Island's wine gems - fueled by fertile soils and a perfect climate, Kangaroo Island's vineyards are producing exceptional wines. This guide will be your compass, navigating you through the island's unique wineries. We'll help you discover hidden gems, savor exquisite drops, and ensure you have an unforgettable wine experience on Kangaroo Island.

History of Winemaking on Kangaroo Island 

Kangaroo Island is considered a relatively new wine region, with many of the region’s brands founded by farming families with multiple generations of agricultural history on the Island. Other brands were established by seasoned winemakers taking advantage of the climate and soil Kangaroo Island offers.

The wine industry on Kangaroo Island received a boost with Kangaroo Island Wine Region officially recognised as a Geographical Indication (GI) in 2000. This helped to promote the island's wines and set them apart in the competitive Australian wine market.

False Cape Winery

Signature Wine Varietals

Kangaroo Island's unique climate and landscape provide ideal conditions for growing a variety of grapes. 


Shiraz is one of the most used grape varieties on Kangaroo Island, thriving in the island's moderate climate and diverse soil types. It flourishes in a warm, dry climate.

Notable Wines:

  • Dudley Wines’ Shearing Shed Red: This well-rounded blend of Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot tastes of blackberries, plum pudding spice and savoury notes of black olives and pepper.
  • The Islander Estate Old Rowley: Made from their Grenache and Shiraz bush vines, this medium-bodied wine has spicy, earthy aromas with supple raspberry and boysenberry flavours. 
Dudley Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon

This grape is known for its ability to produce wines with great depth and complexity.

Notable Wines:

  • Island Estate Vineyards Boxing Day: This Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon offers notes of pepper, eucalyptus, toasted vanilla, cedar and baking spices. 
  • Springs Road Wines Cabernet Sauvignon: This medium-bodied wine features fresh red fruits with fine long tannins and a smooth finish.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc thrives in the cool to moderate climates. The cool sea breezes on Kangaroo Island helps make sure the grapes don’t ripen too quickly.

Notable Wines:

  • False Cape Wines Sauvignon Blanc: This wine requires a very precise timing of harvest to keep its delicate flavours. You will taste hints of passionfruit and guava and just a little grassiness.
  • Bay of Shoals Wines Sauvignon Blanc: This wine has won multiple awards for its vibrant and refreshing style, showcasing the best of what Kangaroo Island’s climate can produce.

Top Wine Regions

Kangaroo Island, though relatively small, still has some distinct wine regions, each offering unique wineries and signature wines for you to taste your way through. 

Region 1: Dudley Peninsula

Located on the northeast corner of Kangaroo Island, this region benefits from the cool sea breeze temperatures. 

Notable Wineries:

  • Dudley Wines: As one of the first wineries on the island, Dudley Wines is run and owned by Jeff and Val Howard, their three children and their families. You can sample their range of wines at the bar, or find a space on their lawn as you soak up the incredible views across Backstairs Passage. It’s the perfect day out.
  • False Cape Wines: Located on the banks of the Wilson River between Pennshae and Cape Willoughby, False Cape Wines produces a variety of wines, including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. The winery is known for its sustainable practices and welcoming cellar door experience complete with a fun nature playground for the kids and basketball backboard.
Bay of Shoals winery

Region 2: Cygnet River

The Cygnet River region is the perfect place to spot a koala perched in one of the River Red Gums doted along the river. It’s home to several industries, including a bustling cellar door and brewery scene. 

Notable Wineries:

  • The Islander Estate Vineyards: Known for its dedication to organic farming, Islander Estate Vineyards produces high-quality wines that showcase the natural flavours of the region. Stay for a regional platter on the deck and enjoy one of their food and wine experiences.
  • Springs Road Wines: This boutique winery focuses on small-batch production, creating handcrafted wines with a distinct character. 

Region 3: Kingscote + Emu Bay

The Kingscote and Emu Bay region sits on Nepean Bay and is home to the island's airport, making it a popular stop for tourists. It is also well-known for its wines. 

Notable Wineries:

  • Bay of Shoals Wines: When visiting their cellar door, you can sample their Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Savagnin, Rose, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Island Blend, Tawny and Vintage Fortified. 

Must-Visit Wineries

Kangaroo Island is home to many exceptional wineries that allow you to sample fantastic wines, while also creating memorable experiences. Here is a list of top wineries to visit, each with its own unique history, signature wines and experience.

  • Dudley Wines: Established in 1997, as one of the island’s first wineries it is well worth the visit. The family’s commitment to producing high-quality wines and their passion for sustainable practices have made Dudley Wines a standout in the Kangaroo Island wine scene.
  • The Islander Estate Vineyards: Founded by Bordeaux winemaker Jacques Lurton in 2000, The Islander Estate Vineyards combines traditional French winemaking techniques handcrafted on Kangaroo Island. 
  • Bay of Shoals Wines: This cellar door was designed by artist Bernie Walsh, the creator of their distinctive pelican labels. Join them for a delicious hamper and look out across incredible sea views.
  • False Cape Wines: Their cellar door has become a top attraction on Kangaroo Island. Settle down in one of their indoor or outdoor spaces, and enjoy the lawn, nature playground and more while you sip a glass of award-winning wine.

Hidden Gems

  • Springs Road Wines: Admire the stunning view of Nepean Bay before tasting their delicious wines on the large deck. 
  • Hazyblur Wines: Known for their limited production and high-quality Shiraz, this winery is a must-visit for those looking to discover unique and highly regarded wines.
  • Amadio Wines: If you’re after a good feast while you sample some fine wines, then head to Vino e Cucine where you can enjoy tasty pasta, gnocchi and breads by Chef Fabio Rocco Ricciardi. They showcase the finest Amadio Wines in a nice and relaxed setting.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Wineries

  • Cape Willoughby Vineyards: Near the historic Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, this winery provides stunning views and distinctive wines that are worth the journey.
  • Stoke Wines: Situated on the north coast, this winery is known as ‘The Rock’ to the locals and is less frequented by tourists. It offers a wonderful tasting experience with friendly, knowledgeable staff.
Hazyblur Wines is a small boutique winery established in 1998 by Ross and Robyne Trimboli. We crush less than 100 tonnes of grapes per vintage.

Wine Events and Festivals

Kangaroo Island hosts some annual wine events and festivals that celebrate the island's budding winemaking culture. These events provide an excellent opportunity for visitors to sample local wines, meet winemakers and enjoy the island's beauty.

Gutsy Kangaroo Island

Launched in 2022, this drinking and eating event celebrates the determination and brilliance of some of the island’s producers. It’s a great excuse to visit in the winter months, where you can enjoy a feast for the gutsy at heart and sample some of the finest wines. 

This festival is a showcase of the island’s best food, wine and art. You can sample wines from local wineries, enjoy gourmet food from local producers, and browse artworks from local artists. The festival also features live music, cooking demonstrations and family-friendly activities.

Kangaroo Island Racing Carnival 

There’s no better place to sample some of the finest wines the island has to offer than at the annual Kangaroo Island Racing Carnival. It is the biggest event to take place on the island and attracts more than 3,000 visitors each year. You can dress up in racing style and soak up the amazing atmosphere while enjoying delicious local food, wine, gin and cocktails.

Kangaroo Island Racing Carnival

Tips for Wine Enthusiasts

Ready to take off on a tasting adventure across Kangaroo Island? It helps to come prepared, so you can sample plenty of local food and wine, while also experiencing the stunning landscapes and wildlife the island is famous for. 

Plan Your Route

  • Map out the wineries you want to visit and create an itinerary. It helps to group wineries by location to make the most of your time.
  • Some wineries require reservations for tastings, especially during peak seasons, so book ahead where possible.

Pace Yourself:

  • Aim to visit no more than three to four wineries each day so you can fully enjoy each tasting experience. The wines can get a little hard to distinguish between if you have a few too many.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and cleanse your palate between tastings.

Engage with Winemakers

  • Winemakers and staff are passionate about what they do. Don’t hesitate to ask about the wines, the vineyard’s history and their winemaking process.
  • Bring a notebook or use a wine app to jot down your favourite wines. This way you can come back or shop online when you need your next stock up.

Be Respectful

  • Enjoy the tastings but know your limits. It’s important to drink responsibly.
  • Be polite to staff and other visitors and handle wine glasses and bottles with care.

Exploring Kangaroo Island’s wineries is not just about tasting great wines (however this is a bonus!). It’s touring the many vineyards, learning about their craft and getting to know the locals. The winemaking industry on Kangaroo Island is a fairly new craft and local winemakers are all too eager to share their passion with you. Whether you’re strolling through the vineyards, enjoying gourmet food pairings, or taking part in their annual wine festival, get ready for adventure. Cheers to discovering this wine lovers paradise.

Felicity Frankish
Felicity Frankish
: 26 Jun 2024 (Last updated: 26 Jun 2024)

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