Currency Creek was established as a viticultural area in 1969 and the first vines planted are still contributing to the success of two of the region's renowned wineries. Stretching from the coastal village of Port Elliot in the west to Lake Alexandrina in the east, the region is a great spot for tasting wines, watching whales from the coastline or spotting the hundreds of species of birds at Coorong National Park. The strongly maritime climate avoids the extremes of hot and cold temperatures and the region has an excellent ground water source, which is readily accessible through bores.

Captain Charles Sturt first explored this region when he travelled down the Murray River in 1829-30 and made his last campsite near what is now the town of Goolwa. However it was not until 1969 that Wally and Rosemary Tonkin planted one acre each of Riesling, Grenache, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, the main wine styles produced include Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz.

Regional Checklist:

  • Viticulture commenced in the region in 1969.
  • Currency Creek is adjacent to the Southern Fleurieu wine region.
  • The region is currently home to around five wineries
  • Agriculture and tourism are major industries in this scenic region.
  • Strong maritime climate, influenced by the surrounding ocean.
  • The dominant soil type is sandy slopes overlaying friable cracking clay.
  • Principal grape varieties are Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Regional website:

The climate is slightly cooler than that of Langhorne Creek and shares similarities with Margaret River and California's Carneros. In common with those regions, it is a strongly maritime climate due to Lake Alexandrina and the Southern Ocean, thus avoiding extremes of cold or heat. There has been only one September day of frost in the past 37 years, and no hail or fog. Excellent ground water is readily accessible through bores and this is used during the growing season to compensate for the lack of rainfall.

Plantings are on the dominant rolling sandy slopes, which allow easy infiltration of water into the overlaying friable cracking clays that are easily accessed by the roots of the vines. The other suitable soils are loams with red alkaline clayey subsoils.

Sauvignon Blanc:
This was one of the wines to bring attention to Currency Creek in the early days. The wines have delicacy and freshness, with great varietal definition.

Cabernet Sauvignon: A variety ideally suited to the temperate, mild climate of the region, producing complete and rounded wines with clear varietal definition. As the level of ripeness increases, the flavours move from coffee to blackberry and on to black currant at optimum ripeness.

Shiraz: This wine is renowned for lifted aromas that lead into medium-bodied, Rhone Valley-like spicy fruit flavours. This is supported by tannins with elegance and finesse.

Vital Statistics:
Map Coordinates:                                      35°29'S 
Altitude:                                                   50-70 metres (164-230 feet) 
Heat degree days, October - April:               1525(cut off at 19ºC (66.2ºF) but otherwise not adjusted)
Growing season rainfall, October - April:      155 millimetres (6.1 inches) 
Mean January temperature:                         18.5° (65°F) 
Relative humidity, October - April, 3 pm:     Average 64%
Harvest:                                                    Early March - mid April

Richard & Marie Shaw,  Ballast Stone Estate & Currency Creek Estate, Currency Creek, South Australia

The Shaw family has more than 35 years of wine industry experience and, with more than 430 hectares under vine, is one of the largest owners of vineyards in the premium cool climate regions of Currency Creek and McLaren Vale. Their modern winery in Currency Creek was built in 2000 and continues to expand.

Richard and Marie have a range of distinguished labels under the two family brands, Ballast Stone Estate and Currency Creek Estate.

“Ballast Stone’s wine is predominantly produced from grapes picked from the family vineyards.  We believe it is essential that the winemaker and the grapegrower "connect" to ensure grapes are delivered to the winery at the moment of optimised fruit ripeness,” Richard says.

“We are meticulous with vineyard site selection and has established vineyards of ultra premium quality, encompassing diverse soil types and micro climates that deliver distinctively different varietal styles. Modern viticultural technologies are combined with a time-proven, hands-on management approach to producing grapes that optimise fruit flavour.

”Our dream is to create a vibrant family business, expanding our vineyard holdings, winery development and two successful cellar doors to provide opportunities for future generations. Love of the land and family ties bind us together.”

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