Caroline Hills describes the irregular, small rolling hills that characterize much of the Hundred of Caroline, adjacent to the Victorian border, south east of Mount Gambier.
This undulating landscape is a result of the migration of sea level as the Ice Ages waxed and waned. With successive warming and thawing, followed by cooling, sea level intruded further inland and then retreated, each time leaving a new coastline and eroding previous coast structures. Over time the sediments were cemented together as calcrete and many of the old coastal dunes are underlain by calcrete formations known to geologists as the Bridgewater Formation.
One of the features of the Bridgewater Formation in the Caroline area is the development of sinkholes, with two excellent examples, The Caroline Sinkhole and Hell’s Hole within a short drive from our vineyard.
In 2008, a tractor spreading mulch suddenly started to sink into a hole which appeared in our Pinot Gris block. Helen was delighted at the prospect of a cave/ sinkhole in the vineyard. Terry who does the tractor work was less enthusiastic. Having been filled the area appears stable but who knows?
The soils of the Caroline region are predominantly sandy, lying over sandy clay and a complex of calcrete and limestone. The region, along with other parts of the lower South East is heavily forested by plantations of Pinus Radiata, which grows well in an environment of reliable rainfall and well drained soils. The region is well suited to cool climate grape varieties and is establishing a reputation for excellent Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.