31 Whillas Rd, Port Lincoln SA
08 8682 4000
A local surgeon by day, winery owner by night, Ian Fletcher is a man of many talents. Having taken a risk on growing grapes in Port Lincoln, he has built Delacolline Estate from the ground up, turning it into a multi-faceted hospitality venue.
With only passion in his pocket, Ian and five friends bought the land that Delacolline Estate stands on more than 30 years ago. After 15 years, he bought out the other partners and ventured out on his own, recognising the potential of the land and building a Cellar Door and restaurant.
The day-to-day operations are now in the hands of Head Chef/Manager, Gavin Ellis, who watches over the diverse elements of the site, including a vineyard, Cellar Door, restaurant, lavender farm, chicken coop and fruit orchard. A chef by trade, Gavin refined his craft both internationally and domestically before returning home to Port Lincoln to manage Delacolline and head up the kitchen.
Port Lincoln is a coastal environment with cool and wet winters and generally hot summers. Limestone dominates the area’s terroir and the winery is no exception, with a base of clay and buckshot gravel. The 5.5-hectare vineyard is home to a number of grape varieties, including sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, semillon, riesling, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, merlot and most recently sangiovese.
The vines are traditionally grown on single wine trellis of the ‘Bordeaux Espalier’ type, with vintage usually beginning in mid February. The microclimate is significantly modified by its elevation and distinct maritime influence of the nearby Southern Ocean, meaning its fruit is frost-free. While the wine isn’t made on-site, Glenn Barry and his team at Knappstein Wines are charged with turning the vineyard’s beautiful grapes into even better-tasting drops.
Delacolline’s flagship wine is its sauvignon blanc – a drop with a full herbaceous nose and palate. The short growing time and cooling influence of the sea ensures reliable production and an enhanced quality of grape, as well as a slower ripening time. Paired perfectly with fresh seafood, it invigorates and enhances the flavours of king prawns, deep-sea trawl fish and King George whiting or flathead.
Viticulture is just one element of Delacolline. Its alfresco restaurant plates up a seasonal menu that takes full advantage of the best South Australian produce. A processor’s licence means Gavin can buy seafood direct from the trawlers, while on-site chickens look after all their egg needs, and fruit trees supply them with fresh produce.
Start with a Pruner’s Platter – a selection of cheese, smallgoods, olives, tapenades and pickles, served with crackers and grilled ciabatta, before moving onto sesame tuna belly, rolled in sesame seeds with dipping sauce. Larger dishes include ‘water and grass’, a plate of prime scotch on crispy noodles with King prawns, bay bug, greens, chilli cream and onion rings, or the Delacolline Seafood Platter, presenting a selection of local seafood prepared in a variety of ways with dipping sauces.
Wash everything down with a glass of Delacolline wine, including the 2009 Blanc de Blanc, 2005 Riesling and 2004 Shiraz Cabernet.
After lunch, go exploring around the grounds, with a visit to the lavender farm. Oil is distilled on-site and a limited range of products made from carefully sourced base ingredients is available at the Cellar Door.
On Friday nights, the wood fire is lit and pizzas are plated up. Toppings include roasted local lamb, slow-cooked and sliced with tomato, herbs, onion and tzatziki, and calabrese, featuring slices of pepperoni, olives, red onion, roast capsicum, herbs and mozzarella cheese. Welcome the weekend with a well deserved dessert, including honey and lavender pannacotta, chocolate terrine and lemon tart.
Come Sunday, breakfast is served from 8:30am until 11am, with plates such as eggs benedict and French toast on offer.
No matter the time of day, Delacolline has something for everyone. Stop by the Cellar Door for a taste of its delicious range of wines, take a seat on the heated deck for a meal or just have a walk around the flower farm for an afternoon well spent.