Robe is an exciting, emerging wine region located on an unspoilt, rugged coastal landscape nestled between lakes and the Southern Ocean on South Australia’s Limestone Coast. It is situated between the townships of Robe and Beachport and is south of the Mount Benson wine region.
The historic seaside resort of Robe is a mixture of old-world charm and new-world hospitality, interspersed with stunning beaches and rugged cliffs, tranquil lakes and mountainous sand dunes. Robe is famous for its crayfish and you can purchase the best catch from local outlets, or order it at local hotels and restaurants. Vineyard development began to flourish in the mid to late 1990s. The soils, aspect and protected maritime climate, along with the long and gentle growing season, are distinctive attributes leading to the production of powerful yet elegant wines.
- Vineyard development began to flourish in the mid to late 1990s.
- The region is currently home to around four wineries.
- The climate is cool and strongly maritime.
- Robe has a wide variety of soil types.
- The historic seaside resort of Robe is a mixture of old-world charm and new-world hospitality.
- The soils, aspect and protected maritime climate lead to the production of powerful yet elegant wines.
The climate is cool and strongly maritime, being influenced by the Southern Ocean to the west and lakes to the east. Winters can be cold and wet, but cool evening breezes are conducive to gentle ripening. The daily temperature range is smaller than for inland vineyards located to the east. The growing season is long, cool and dry and the Woakwine Range offers a degree of protection from the strong southerly winds generated from the Southern Ocean.
Robe has a wide variety of soil types, ranging from terra rossa and sandy loam on the limestone ridges to calcareous sand on the coastal dunes and rendzinas on the coastal plains.
Sauvignon Blanc: The wine has punchy tropical and grassy aromas and these aromas are underpinned by a palate that is pure, crisp and flavoursome.
Chardonnay: Offers fragrant citrus and apple aromas with rich, elegant citrus and mineral flavours. Balanced natural acidity gives the wines finesse and structure.
Cabernet Sauvignon: The wine has varietal aromas of blackberry, tobacco and mint. The palate has good structure and texture with sweet ripe fruit characters. This variety seems to be well suited to Robe's maritime climate.
Shiraz: Robe Shiraz is complex with intense raspberries, mulberries and black pepper aromas. The wines have rich elegant berry fruit and a succulent mid palate that is framed by fine tannins. Balanced acidity offering a long spicy finish.
Robe Weather Station
Map Coordinates: 37°09’S, 139°47’E
Altitude: 50-150 metres (164 - 492 feet)
Heat degree days, October –April: 1226
Growing season rainfall, October – April: 271 millimetres (10.6 inches)
Mean January temperature: 22.3°C(72°F)
Relative humidity, October - April, 3 pm: NA
Harvest: Early March – late April
Ben Harris, Vineyard Manager, Penfolds Vineyard, Robe, South Australia
In May 1994, almost 300 hectares of grazing land was purchased with the intent of establishing a premium vineyard. Planted with a range of grape varieties, the cool maritime climate was thought to have the potential to produce premium wine, but in a different style to other wine regions further inland, such as Coonawarra. Today the vineyard is consistently producing premium fruit that has excellent definition and palate structure. Ben Harris, Vineyard Manager, says the majority of the fruit goes into Penfolds products, including St Henri, Bin 389, Bin 407 and Thomas Hyland.
"The winemaker responsible for the Robe Vineyard, Brett Sharpe, believes the greatest attribute of the Robe region is that the fruit retains high levels of natural acidity, which gives the wines a freshness that can’t be attained by the addition of tartaric acid,” Ben says.
“The Chardonnay has citrus, apple and white peach aromas depending on ripeness, but the better wines are coming from the moderate sugar levels of around 12.5 Baumé. The flavours are similar to those exhibited by high quality wines displaying ripe apple and citrus characters and a backbone of fresh acid that adds to the length and structure of the wines. It is a region that could potentially rival the more highly regarded Chardonnay areas of Yarra Valley, Bellarine and Mornington Peninsula.
"The Shiraz is Brett’s favourite, with great vibrancy and depth of colour, spice and black pepper, rhubarb, mulberry and plum fruits matched by sweet fruit flavours, fine supple tannins, good structure and length. The wines have power with elegance and finesse. Experts have commented that the wines are very Rhone like."