Robe: A Secret Food and Wine Gem Hidden in South Australia

Positioned on the Limestone Coast, in the south-eastern corner of South Australia, the small seaside town of Robe is one of the state’s hidden gems. While many who visit are attracted by the glorious beaches, fascinating heritage and laid-back lifestyle, there has been a surge in culinary tourism in recent years. Television shows such as MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules reflect a burgeoning interest worldwide in all things food and wine, and for wine connoisseurs (or even amateur wine lovers like most of us), this is an exciting area to get to know.

An emerging wine region

Think wine regions in Australia, and the names that usually spring to mind are the Hunter Valley, Margaret River and the Barossa Valley. However, there’s a number of emerging wine regions around the country that are well worth consideration. The Limestone Coast’s Robe and Mt Benson wine regions are just two of them. With a rich terra rossa soil and a cool climate, these regions are now producing a number of fine varieties, including Shiraz, Viognier, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Where to start

If you’re looking to discover the local wine regions, your first stop should be the Visitor Information Centre on Mundy Terrace in Robe. Here you can find information on local wineries and a map to cellar doors. If you’re after further details on specific wineries before visiting, scour the sites, Robe.com.au and www.mtbensonwineregion.com.au.

The wineries

The following are just a few options for your wine tasting pleasure.

  • Karatta Wines – Karatta’s 12 Mile Winery was the first winery in the Robe region, so is a great place to start. They also have a cellar door right in town on Robe Penola Road.
  • Governor Robe Wines – The cellar door in Attic House in the centre of town offers tastings with platters of delicious local cheese, always a great way to sample a drop.
  • Cape Jaffa – A biodynamic winery (it doesn’t use artificial fertilisers or pesticides), Cape Jaffa is best known for its Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Pinot Gris and Unwooded Chardonnay.
  • Ralph Fowler Wines – Discover hand-crafted premium wines at the family-owned Ralph Fowler vineyard. And should you pay a visit, be sure to have a look at Frog Island Winery, located on the same property.
  • Wehl’s Mount Benson Vineyards – Wehl’s is the oldest Mt Benson vineyard, and it is known for its tasty Sauvignon Blanc. They hold an annual “Event on the Estate”, where you can enjoy wines and live music in a picturesque setting.

A bite to match

When it comes to food, there are a number of great cafes and restaurants in Robe. Vic Street Pizzeria, Wild Mulberry Café and Robe Providore are just a few popular options. Families are well-catered for, as are those looking for a romantic night out. For a special occasion, be sure to book a table at Sails Restaurant, a fine dining restaurant that serves up a rotating menu of stunning culinary bites (thanks to renowned chef Adam Brook).

A festival affair

Of course, anyone who’s really keen on food and wine should make a date to visit Robe in January. The Cape Jaffa Seafood and Wine Festival is an annual event that showcases local produce and the new and exciting Robe and Mt Benson wines. This is also a great time to sample the local seafood, with crayfish a speciality that shouldn’t be missed.

And of course, while in Robe, you’ll need a place to stay! Check out the Robe Harbourview Motel, the only motel in Robe with uninterrupted views overlooking the marina and Guichen Bay.

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