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Take a private masterclass with Yale Norris from The Islander Estate Vineyards

Yale Norris and Jacques Lurton look upon winemaking as an art form, with Kangaroo Island as the main source of inspiration and drive. “We are both deeply connected to the land,” Yale says. “Making wine is our passion.”

Islander Estate Vineyards - Yale and Jacques
Yale Norris and Jacques Lurton. Image: The Islander Estate Vineyards

The birth of The Islander Estate Vineyards came about as a result of Jacques’ – a world-renowned fifth generation French winemaker – dreams, who fell in love with the island and at the same time saw its potential as a wine-making location. Yale, a Colorado-born family man, fell in love with the island, too, and consequently decided to move his whole family here. “Jacques and I are from two totally different worlds, but this has been a big plus,” Yale says. “I traded my commercial skills for him teaching me how to make wine. And now we make wines that are inspired by what nature gives us on Kangaroo Island.”

Exceptional Kangaroo Island guests visiting The Islander Estate Vineyards are introduced to the various wines that the duo make as part of the Cygnet River Tasting Room experience, and are offered guided tastings of the flagship wines as part of the exclusive encounter. “It’s a tasting, yes,” Yale says. “But I also go through the wines one by one and delve into the stories behind them.”

Islander Estate Vineyards - The Vineyard
The Islander Estate Vineyards at Bark Hut Road. Image: The Islander Estate Vineyards

The Islander Estate Vineyards is one of three wineries (and one of 30 vineyards) on the island, but it’s the only winery focusing on Australian temperate climate wine with a French twist. “We use a number of innovative wine-making techniques not commonly used in Australia,” Yale explains. “For example, we make a lot of our ferments in concrete tanks because it suits the climate zone on Kangaroo Island. And we leave our reds for a long maceration period – anywhere from six to eight weeks – which is unusual in Australian wine culture.”

Guests walk away from the experience with a newfound appreciation for the unique wine style Jacques and Yale make… and often a few bottles of wine for a later date. “When we make a wine, we look at what nature gives us on Kangaroo Island, and then we work out how we can best express that. We want our guests to take Kangaroo Island home with them.” 

Islander Estate Vineyards - Tasting Room
The Islander Estate Vineyards Tasting Room in Cygnet River. Image: The Islander Estate Vineyards


Fished, Farmed & Fermented (3 Day, 2 Night)

These three days give guests a taste of the beautiful flavours offered by Kangaroo Island local producers, as well as the iconic landscape and wildlife encounters that Kangaroo Island is famous for.

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