Vineyard History & Geography The Vineyards were planted around 1999 on mainly Sandy Loam soil over Limestone just above Bashams Beach and at Waverley Estate, Pt Elliot in the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula region, originally under contract to a boutique Adelaide Hills winemaker.
Thunderbird Wines is now operating under its own label, with retail sales and tastings from its new purpose built cellar door at No. 58 Cellar Door & Gallery, 58 Waterport Rd Pt Elliot, in the grounds of historic Waverley Estate c1856.We specialise in hand madesmall batch wine-making with an emphasis on ensuring that quality is maintained through our hands on approach to every step of the process, from the vineyard through to the bottle.
The Southern Fleurieu Wine Region is located immediately to the south of the more famous McLaren Vale Region, bounded by a line from Sellicks Beach to Willunga. The largest town in the region is Victor Harbor, well known as a seaside resort and as a whale watching center. Port Elliot is the next township heading east towards Goolwa a few kilometres away.
The Fleurieu Peninsula was named after the French explorer and politician Charles Pierre Claret de Fleurieu by the French explorer Nicolas Baudin as he mapped the south coast of Australia in 1802.
Topography, Climate and Varieties This part of the Fleurieu Peninsula is more undulating than McLaren Vale and hence there is greater range of microclimates. Vineyards tend to be smaller, seeking to exploit suitable sites among the hills and valleys.
The influence of the sea to the south and west is a moderating influence on the climate which follows the Mediterranean pattern of cool wet winters and dry summers. The Southern Fleurieu Region is considerably cooler than McLaren Vale.
It is a hilly cool area and subject to prevailing Southern Ocean winds for much of the year but with long dry autumns. The wind and the maritime influence allow growers to get the benefit of a cool climate without facing the risk of severe frosts and with enough autumn sun to reach full ripeness.
According to James Halliday’s Wine Atlas the noted international viticulturist, Dr. John Gladstone, identified the region as possessing the best climatic conditions for table wine production in South Australia. The soils have modest vigour with clay loams, buckshot gravel and limestone.
There has been some modest viticulture and wine production here intermittently since the 1860s. The most significant was Buxton Laurie’s Southcote Vineyard but it was destroyed in an 1890s bushfire being just 1km from the current Waverley Estate Vineyard and Cellar Door.
The region had nothing to offer in Australia’s fortified wine period but since the 1980s there has been a revival of quality table wine-making mainly through the dozen or so small boutique wineries. Wine production is still quite limited, despite the region’s potential, with most sales coming through weekend tourist cellar doors to local hotels and restaurants. It won recognition as an official GI region in June 2001.
Cool climate Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay does well here but in a light bodied style. The real stand outs in the best vintages are the medium bodied and spicy Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz which can achieve some outstanding elegance, balance and length that far exceeds the almost anonymous status of the region outside of South Australia.
The Southern Fleurieu Wine region produces mainly red wines with the Australian favourites Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot the principal varieties. White wine in this region comes mainly from Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc and Semillon, although Pinot Gris and Viognier are now used by a few growers
Liquor Licensing Act 1997 It is against the law to sell or supply alcohol to, or to obtain alcohol on behalf of, a person under the age of 18 years.Thunderbird Vineyards Pty Ltd - Producers Liquor Licence No. 50815984