25 Sep 2020

Go green for your next happy hour and drink one of South Australia’s best eco-friendly drops.

Sustainable sipping is a way of life for a plethora of boutique wineries, small-batch distillers and craft brewers in South Australia. From biodynamic wine to natural gin and organic beer, here’s our guide to the best sustainable wineries, breweries and distilleries in South Australia. Get sipping – it’s good for the environment, after all.

1. Gemtree Wines, McLaren Vale

Gemtree Tree, McLaren Vale
Gemtree Tree, McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale’s Gemtree Wines’ commitment to sustainable production has roots as deep as their decades-old vines. The wineries’ organic and biodynamic credentials speak for themselves, as does their commitment to improve the land for future generations. Flocks of sheep replace pesticides to keep weeds under control, ground quartz prevents fungal infections and negates the need for chemical fungicides, cow manure and recycled water feeds the vineyard and solar powers the irrigation, winery and cellar door. Judged the world's best winery for Sustainable Wine Tourism at the Best of Wine Tourism awards in Bordeaux, the resulting wine is exceptional, and best enjoyed on the Fleurieu Peninsula cellar door’s deck overlooking the vines.

2. d’Arenberg Wine, McLaren Vale

d'Arenberg Cube, McLaren Vale
d'Arenberg Cube, McLaren Vale

A holistic approach to wine production and commitment to sustainability is also well and truly alive down the road at d’Arenberg Wines, the largest biodynamic wine grape grower in Australia. Reliant on sheep agistment, solar power and natural disease control, the harmony between environmental sustainability and cutting-edge production techniques is evident in every glass poured. The best place to sample their biodynamic, organic and vegan varieties? At the unique d’Arenberg Cube cellar door – a five-level wine extravaganza seemingly floating above rolling vineyards.

3. Angove Family Wine, McLaren Vale and Riverland

Angove Family Wine, McLaren Vale
Angove Family Wine, McLaren Vale

Sustainability is a theme that carries on through McLaren Vale and into the Riverland, with Angove Family Wine also leaders in organic and biodynamic viticulture, resulting in exceptional fruit and wine. Indian Runner Ducks and specialised equipment help keep 430 hectares of certified organic vines (some of which happen to be among the oldest Shiraz and Grenache vines in the region) pest and weed free. The entire growing and wine making process is completely free of synthetic chemicals and non-organic input. Angove even have a certified organic gin label, Blind Tiger Organic Gin, which you can sample from their second winery and cellar door in the Riverland. Here, hand-picked organic botanicals are blended with organic wheat in a traditional small-batch still to create a citrusy, dry London-style gin.

4. Battle of Bosworth, McLaren Vale

Biodynamic and organic growing practices result in seriously premium wine at Battle of Bosworth. The boutique, family-run winery makes single vineyard, organically grown wines from their property on the edge of McLaren Vale. Native revegetation plantings frame the vines, which are grown as they would have been 50 years ago with no chemicals. Instead, weeds are combatted with strategic plantings of the humble soursob, which competes out other weeds and forms a protective ground mat. It’s such an integral part of the process that the soursob has even found its way onto the wine label. The cellar door - a converted 1850s chaff shed and stables - lies at the end of the Shiraz bike trail in Willunga.

5. Hayes Family Wines, Barossa

Hayes Family Wines, Barossa
Hayes Family Wines, Barossa

Low intervention methods and certified organic practices are at the forefront of boutique Barossa winery Hayes Family Wines. Winemaker Andrew Seppelt draws on generations of knowledge to farm the vineyard sustainably, boycotting synthetic herbicides and pesticides and limiting additives in the wine making process. Solar energy powers about 60% of the winery and cellar door needs, rainwater is collected to supply the vineyard and cellar door, native tree plantings attract beneficial insects and natural grasses and composts improve the soil. The result is award-winning wine that’s good for you, and the environment, and is also vegan friendly.

6. Hutton Vale Farm, Barossa

Hutton Vale Farm, Barossa
Hutton Vale Farm, Barossa

Nearby at part winery, part farm, Hutton Vale Farm has embraced a sustainable approach to wine and food production. A seventh generation run farm, the Angas family believe as the current custodians of the land, they should take only what is necessary and give back wherever they can to allow for future generations. In practice, they focus on conserving water, minimising herbicide use, relying on solar power and replanting natural habitat on and around the farm. Pull up a seat at the historic farm cellar door for a guided tasting paired with a regional produce platter or check into their cosy onsite accommodation, the perfect base to explore the Barossa.

7. Unico Zelo and Applewood Distillery, Adelaide Hills

Unico Zelo, Adelaide Hills
Unico Zelo, Adelaide Hills

In the Adelaide Hills, sustainable wine, gin and liqueurs await at Unico Zelo and Applewood Distillery. Husband and wife duo Brendan and Laura have a deep passion for living in harmony with nature and take their motivation and ingredients "from the land we belong to". They have an ever-evolving sustainability strategy tackling everything from replacing plastic packaging to reducing product waste. To minimise water consumption, they have forgone conventional grape varieties for vines that require minimal water. When life gives them (ugly) second-grade lemons that would otherwise go to compost, Brendan and Laura make Unico Cello aka Limoncello!

8. Ngeringa, Adelaide Hills

One of the pioneering biodynamic wineries in Australia, Ngeringa is focused on creating sustainable, ecologically minded wines. The Adelaide Hills winery sits just outside Mount Barker on a 75-hectare farm, with five hectares dedicated to vineyards. Their sustainable approach to farming and viticulture is evident as soon as you arrive with a straw bale cellar door and vineyard seamlessly entwined with the farm, which is home to Scottish Highland cows, sheep and chickens, a flourishing paddock overflowing with veggies and extensive revegetation plantings. Here, you can sip wine grown, made and bottled without leaving the estate.

9. Robe Town Brewery, Limestone Coast

Under the eaves of a hand-made cobbled brew house, beer is made in according to organic methods of bygone days at Robe Town Brewery. Sitting seaside in the chic coastal town of Robe, the Limestone Coast brewery uses straw filtration, wood-fired kettles and open fermentation to create their award-winning hand-crafted brews. The brewery believes this organic approach to brewing is unique across the world and paired with locally grown barley and foraged local ingredients, the result is a naturally unique style of beer.

10. Beer Garden Brewing, Eyre Peninsula

On the Eyre Peninsula, Beer Garden Brewing crafts beer with sustainability in mind. Local grain sourced from the peninsula is used for every beer brewed, and sustainable practices including solar power, use of rainwater for brewing, recycling wastewater and an edible beer garden completes the eco-friendly loop. Spent grain from the brewing process is even repurposed to feed local cows. Tucked just metres from the pristine waters off Port Lincoln, it’s one of the best spots to cool down after a day exploring this oceanic utopia.

Sustainable dining experiences

Thirst quenched, venture onto one of South Australia’s best sustainable restaurants with our guide to the best Adelaide eats for the environmentally conscious diner.


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