The Coonawarra

Penola sits at the bottom of the Coonawarra Wine Region. Coonawarra is world famous for its Terra Rossa (Red Soil) soil that is perfect for grape growing. It has taken millions of years to form this layer of red soil rich in iron, silica and nutrients that sits upon ancient limestone bedrock. Combining this unique soil with the availability of underground water, cool nights and a long mild growing season makes this area known throughout the world as a premier wine area famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pioneer John Riddoch first plated vines in 1890 and his legacy continues at Wynns Coonawarra Estate. John Riddoch had the famous three gabled winery built in 1896. Melbourne wine merchants Samuel and David Wynn bought the Riddoch vineyards and winery in 1951 and created the famous label including the three gabled winery and today they are one of the Coonewarra’s pre-eminent winemakers.

We pulled up in the carpark in front of the famous winery and quickly dashed inside as it was raining. The cellar door is fabulous and you can feel the history of the building with its exposed beams. They have a great history of the winery display around the walls. We enjoyed our visit to Wynns.

Our next stop along the Riddoch Highway was to one of Richard’s favourite wine labels Brands Laira. Brands Laira is an iconic winery in the Coonawarra and is now owned by the Casella Family Brands company from Griffith. The vineyards here date back to 1893. The recently constructed cellar door is fabulous with its polished concrete floors, rammed earth and concrete walls, Mountain Ash lined ceiling and fabulous bar made from steel with a brass sheet bench top. Inside the cellar door is the original Eric Brand’s cellar. This old building has been preserved inside the new one and its great to see this classic bit of history saved. The new cellar door has a lovely deck area that leads onto a lovely lawn with gorgeous roses that were still blooming. This would be a great spot for wine tasting and a Ploughmans Platter that you can preorder for $25 pp on a sunny day. Alas it was raining.

We continued on past many famous name wineries. Anyone who drinks wine would recognise these names such as Katnook Estate, Lindeman’s, Zema Estate, Parker Estate and Yalumba.

The vineyards were all golden and yellow still covered in leaves that have changed colour before they fall off.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s