The Padthaway Wine Region is quite distinct being some 62 kilometres long and 8 kilometres wide with the Riddoch Highway running through the middle and comprising 345 square kilometres. Significantly warmer and with a lower rainfall than that of neighbouring Coonawarra. Padthawayĺ─˘s most successful variety has historically been Chardonnay. Although much of its red wine is blended with that from other regions, its Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinot Noir are establishing a growing reputation.
Vineyards were first established by Seppelt in Padthaway in 1964 quickly followed by Lindemans, Hardys (1968) and Wynns. As well as the brands produced by the major companies, there is an ever increasing number of smaller regionally branded wine producers who have recognised the potential and quality of fruit grown in the Padthaway Wine Region. Padthaway currently has two cellar doors operating, with many of the other wines produced in the area available for tasting by appointment.
Padthaway is a small village surrounded by Hardy's Padthaway Vineyards which stretch from the hills across the valley. Robert Lawson, a successful Scottish businessman moved into the area with his wife Eliza in 1847. He had acquired 21,500 hectares at what was then known as Mosquito Plains and subsequently increased the holding to 32,000 hectares. He built a relatively small cottage in 1847 and lived in the cottage for the next thirty years. It still stands on the Padthaway Estate.
In 1872 the government reclaimed parts of the Lawsonĺ─˘s run, then offered blocks of land for sale at the ĺ─˙Village of Cockatoo Lakeĺ─¨ which was later renamed ĺ─˙Keppochĺ─¨. This land was gradually cleared for cropping and grazing with sawmills and timber workers processing the huge red gums in the area for use as sleepers to support railway lines.
Another large group of farming blocks was taken up in 1936 by farmers in the Hundred of Glenroy. Following World War 2, soldier settlement blocks were allocated closer to the Padthaway Station homestead and irrigation began being developed using the underground water resource.
Today, Padthaway is a versatile agricultural region with outstanding production being achieved by both dryland and irrigated methods. The variety of commodities produced includes grapes, onions, cereals, pulses, pasture seeds, vegetables, sheep and cattle.
Padthaway Estate: the estate is set on 50 hectares of red gum country. The Homestead was once the centre of an 80,000 acre property owned by the Lawson family. The current proprietors purchased the land from the descendants of Robert Lawson. The original Lawson cottage nestles in a glade and overlooks the courtyard surrounded by the old stables, the original kitchen, the workshop, the blacksmiths shop and overseers rooms. The shearers quarters have been restored to their original condition. The homestead garden was redesigned by the Victorian landscape gardener Ellis Stones in 1948 in the style of an English home with formal areas, walled gardens, orchard, patio, glade and outbuildings all sheltering behind luxurious hedges and English trees.
Padthaway Estate Winery: Located on the main road in Padthaway this winery based around a 45 ha vineyard was established in 1990 and specialises in red and white table wines and sparkling wines derived from cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay grapes. It is open seven days for tastings and sales. It is the cellar door for all Padthaway regional wines.
Padthaway Conservation Park: Located 1.5 km east of Padthaway this 984 ha park is situated on a former coastal dune and is characterised by stands of yellow gum, ribbon gum, brown stringybark with extensive acacias and banksias. It is also home to the rare long-billed corella.