WINEMAKING AT KARATTA WINES
Located in the Robe region of the Limestone Coast, Karatta is committed to the production of ready to drink and age-worthy estate-grown wines that authentically reﬂect our maritime climate; characterised by lithe, elegant reds, and crisp, snappy whites.
Being very close to the Great Southern Ocean, we beneﬁt from a maritime climate, more expressly, the Bonney Upwelling, which brings cool winds from the ocean across our vineyards, slowing and lengthening ripening periods. This leads to greater balance between tannins and acids, creating grapes perfect for ﬁne wine. Regions with maritime climates are those within close proximity to large bodies or water which help moderate the temperatures. Maritime climates have longer growing season, can be usually very dry during the growing season but can then endure viticultural hazards of excessive rain and humidity.
The region is dominated by sandy loam and clay soils (similar but NOT the same as the terra rossa soils ubiquitous in the more established Coonawarra region to our east). The soils are poor in organic matter, very well drained and characterised by slowly rolling hills - remnants of ancient coastal dune systems.
Karatta has two vineyards, Tenison and 12 Mile.Tenison Vineyard is located close to our original farm known as Frog Island. This farm has been in the family for over 40 years. Established in 1997, Tenison Vineyard is named after a family relative and local identity, Father Julian Tenison Woods. The vineyard is ideally situated on the east facing slopes of the Dairy Range. Tenison Vineyard has regionally celebrated terra rossa soil over limestone.
12 Mile Vineyard was acquired in 2003 in association with the 12 Mile Winery. This vineyard is exactly 12 miles from Robe via the Penola road and is near the ﬁrst camp used by the Chinese during their Great Trek from Robe to the Victorian gold ﬁelds near Ballarat. 12 Mile has more sandy loam over limestone.
By far the most inﬂuential environmental factor on the vineyard however, is the Bonney Upwelling where freezing water from Antarctica rises to the surface of the Ocean, cools the air and sends it with an almighty force toward the coast of Robe with a ferocity that anyone who has visited Robe in Summer will tell you about it. These “summer breezes” cool the vineyards and create consistently low temperatures throughout the growing season. This results in wines with incredible acid retention, freshness, vibrancy and energy. It also dries out the vineyard - lowering the threat of disease majorly - meaning we can do less spraying in December and January and more ﬁshing.
This very speciﬁc environmental phenomenon coupled with the small vineyards, small producers, and even smaller wine production (Karatta’s Premium Wildﬂowers range of Shiraz and Malbec for example is made with just over one tonne of grapes) makes the wines from this region hidden gems within a hidden gem region. There is so much to discover in this emerging region for the traveller who visits.
Karatta Wines had the luxury of a major facelift and new wine direction in the
mid-2010s, letting go of the more traditional full-bodied style popular with many consumers. The winery began creating wines of more medium body, more representative of our wine region and climate. Fresher, earlier release, lower intervention wines that highlights with intensity and concentration of flavour.