The Mount Benson region is located along the South Australian coastline in close proximity to the Coonawarra, Wrattonbully and Padthaway wine regions. The region is strongly influenced by the Southern Ocean and features a cool, maritime climate.
The Mount Benson region is already being acknowledged for its cool climate Cabernet and Shiraz - but there is so much more to try in this region. Here you are sure to find fabulous take-away fish and chips - or a succulent lobster from the Southern Ocean. The main wine styles produced include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet and Shiraz.
The region lies on the South Australian coast in close proximity to Coonawarra.
Viticulture is new to the region, commencing in 1989.
The climate is cool and maritime.
The region is currently home to more than 15 wineries.
Spring frost is the chief viticultural hazard.
Crisp, grassy, herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc is a popular style from the region.
Principal grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc
Strongly influenced by the Southern Ocean, the climate in Mount Benson is cool and maritime. Summer temperatures can be three degrees cooler than the nearby Coonawarra region, and though budburst occurs two weeks earlier, harvest is about the same time or slightly later.
Irrigation is provided by high quality ground water, which exists in abundance in the underlying limestone.
Chardonnay: Chardonnay is fine and elegant and has an excellent intensity.
Sauvignon Blanc: These crisp, grassy, herbaceous wines are very different from the far richer examples of Padthaway, reflecting the distinctly warmer climate of Mount Benson, with attractive touches of gooseberry and passionfruit.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot: Natural tannin levels are good, and the overall extract and weight are more than satisfactory. To date, Mount Benson’s Cabernet styles have won a number of trophies and gold medals.
Shiraz: The wine quality and style is exciting, with cherry, black pepper and spice flavours in a medium-bodied frame lending itself to the use of French oak. Other winemakers, well experienced with Shiraz, are also adding a small quantity of Viognier to enhance the suppleness and style.
Map Coordinates: 31° 09'S
Altitude: 50-150 metres (164-492 feet)
Heat degree days, October - April: 1226 (cut off at 19ºC (66.2 ºF) but otherwise not adjusted)
Growing season rainfall, October - April: 217 millimetres (8.5 inches)
Mean Jan temperature: 22.7°C (72.8°F)
Relative humidity, April - October, 3 pm: Average 64%
Harvest: Late March - late April
Ben & Andrea Tidswell, Tidswell Wines, Limestone Coast, South Australia
The magnificent Heathfield property, home of Tidswell Wines, is located four kilometres west of Bool Lagoon, a wetland of international significance near Naracoorte. Tidswell is the only wine company which grows and makes wine in this important environmental precinct. The vineyard, which was planted in 1995, rests on ancient Mount Gambier limestone covered with terra rossa soils and is surrounded by beautiful lagoons and giant red gums.
Ben and Andrea Tidswell’s philosophy is to make varietal wines of a consistent quality that enhance food enjoyment and express the unique cool climate characters of the vineyard.
“The focus is on wines from estate grown fruit that are balanced and elegant but also have intensity of fruit flavours with soft tannin structure. Fortunately, the unique geology of the vineyard produces fruit ideally suited to this style,” Ben says.
“Battling elements like frost is a challenge and we protect our vines with a long-term sustainable management plan to ensure grape quality for years to come. Currently 50% of the vineyard is organically certified. I work closely with viticulturist Neil Jones to "get it right" in the vineyard so the winemaking can be kept simple.
“Fiercely proud to be hands-on and responsible for every stage of production, from grapegrowing through to making and marketing our award-winning wines, our experienced team create exceptional wines under three labels; Jennifer, Heathfield Ridge and Caves Road.”