There is something magic about Kangaroo Island which lures unsuspecting people and its raw beauty entices them to stay.

Such as another gifted fellow, French winemaker, Jacques Lurton and we hear of his love affair with  KI over dinner at Reflections, the restaurant of Kangaroo Island Lodge at American River. (It is a finalist in the 2010 Restaurant of the Year regional restaurants awards).

Jacques is the son of a winemaking dynasty in Bordeaux, which has 1500ha under vine. In August 2010, Jacques was cover boy for WBM (Wine Business Magazine) and described as the world’s greatest globetrotting winemaker.

The Jacques Lurton label Domaine de la Marinette, especially his merlot, is renowned in France and he imports to Australia yet another golden drop, Touraine, from the Loire Valley.

Jacques has produced wine in 25 regions in 10 countries and handled 60 vintages.

This is all as a result of his moving on from the family operations in Bordeaux to establish his own interests and a number of vineyards around the world – in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley in France, Spain, Chile and Australia.

Jacques imports his French wines to Australia, particularly  his  Jacques Lurton Touraine label, an excellent Sauvignon Blanc from his vineyard in the Loire Valley, France.

In Australia, he chose Kangaroo Island to establish his own 11ha vineyard,  Islander Estate Vineyard and label, The Islander in 2000. It was an emerging wine region and considered a risk for such a world player in the wine industry.

Yet, he planted eight grape varieties including Sangiovese, Semillon and Viognier. Seven years later in 2007 Jacques sold his share in the family dynasty to his brother Francois to focus on Kangaroo Island and his own labels in France.

A decade later, in

Augusut 2010, Jacques is chosen as cover man for WBM Wine Business Magazine in which it reports “It is ironical that a Frenchman is probably Kangaroo Island’s most enthusiastic ambassador’’.

And News Limited national wine editor and Advertiser wine expert, Tony Love claims Jacques’ KI wines are “the icon wines of Kangaroo Island’’.

We are indeed in esteemed company as Jacques tells us, over dinner, how he will be extending his stay on at Kangaroo Island this visit for almost 13 weeks to supervise his vineyard and winemaking operations near Parndana.

It is the longest spell staying either in his beachfront home, named  “The Frog House’’ at idyllic Island Beach or on his 300ha farm close to Parndana.

“I admit it isn’t easy here for a number of reasons, including supply of labour at vintage, but I am very pleased with the product,’’ he says.

His label, The Islander, especially Yakka Jack,  is an expensive boutique wine and is available in selected restaurants, but not at Reflections.

Jacques is fluent in his praise of the beauty of the island and the Kangaroo Island lifestyle and the environment. His second property, for instance, is rare habitat.

“It’s in that special environment where there are rare red-tailed black cockatoos,’’ he says.

“I love it here… the freedom… the cool island environment.’’

“Over the next few years I will need to decide exactly where I will be going to stay on a more permanent basis.’’

And while he does, Kangaroo Island continues to tug at his heart strings.

He conceded to WBM in August that Kangaroo Island wines faced identity problems but he had the solution. All the region needed was “to start talking about the beauty of the land, the soils, the sense of place and the human element’’.

“A year ago I was chatting to David Paxton about the difficulty of the wine industry and I told him I am prepared to fight to the death because the day you have found a place like Kangaroo Island is the day you have found peace and happiness and that’s worth fighting for.’’

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