Catriona at Banrock Station - sipping wine.
The walk around the wetlands.
We have wetlands, we have walking, we have wildlife and above all, we have wine.
Banrock Station is a historic property set on 1750ha at the junction of Banrock Creek and the mighty Murray River. A total of 250ha are devoted to growing Shiraz, Cabernet, Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Semillon grapes. The remaining land, including river frontage, wetland and floodplain, has been returned to its natural state. Over the past 10 years it has undergone major rehabilitation to remedy the effects of a century of sheep and cattle grazing and vegetable growing.
The people who bought Banrock Station in 1994 took up Wetland Care Australia's challenge to restore wetlands and woodlands. Tony Sharely, the property's manager, says there are many facets coming from the challenge. Not only has it given their wines added dimension, but consumers concerned about the environment find Banrock's commitment appealing. Part of the wine sales' money is donated to Landcare Australia and Wetland Care Australia for domestic conservation projects.
The vision at Banrock Station is one of a fully sustainable eco-system where the natural environment and vineyard enterprise can happy co-exist.
Gone are the days when wetlands were thought of as bogs or lowly swamps. It has been scientifically realised what an important part wetlands play as plant and animal nurseries and their vital role in the food chain. These gifts of nature should be treasured.
Banrock Station has replaced native vegetation to provide food and shelter for kangaroos, emus and wombats.
The conservation reinstatement has been costly in time and money, but the return of native water birds, fish, water plants, frogs and insects make it more than worthwhile.
The Wine and Wetland Centre uses the latest state-of-the-art energy conservation techniques. It overlooks the largest of the wetlands and has educational information, viewing platforms, bush food and wine tastings. Visitors can get a good overview of what's happening from the new boardwalk.
The grape growing area plays an important role - its trellising, soil conservation techniques, minimal spray programs and computer-controlled irrigation all go towards the big picture. Probes monitor a computer-controlled drip irrigation system which measures water going to the root area. This eliminates seepage and the leeching of salts into the river system. Apart from being environmentally acceptable, it results in quality fruit for wines which receive accolades throughout the world.
Kingston-on-Murray, 170km north-east of Adelaide
Banrock Station self-guided walks start at $2, and wine tasting is complimentary. They operate year-round, except for some public holidays.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
Banrock Station Wine and Wetland Centre
Holmes Road, Kingston-On-Murray 5331
Ph: (08) 8583 0229
Fax: (08) 8583 0288