Regions and Appellations Australia South Australia Coonawarra

Coonawarra Wine

Coonawarra is the most important wine region within the Limestone Coast zone of South Australia, credited with producing some of the best red wines in the entire country, and often described as Australia's most famous terroir. It is located in the far south-east of the state, adjoining the border with Victoria south of Wrattonbully

Although vines were first planted here in the last decade of the 19th century by Scottish settler John Riddoch, it was not until the 1950s that the region received some serious attention when the famous Wynns winery was set up. Many other well-known wine producers followed suit, including Penfolds and Yalumba, but the region was not accorded its GI (Geographical Indication) status until 2003.

The famous Terra Rossa, Coonawarra
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This delay seems odd, since Coonawarra is one of the very few regions in Australia strongly defined by the earth in which the vineyards are planted. Terra rossa soil is the key factor in the Coonwarra terroir. The region's prime land, which has this reddish-brown topsoil over a thick layer of soft limestone, covers a narrow strip 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) long and around 1km (0.6 miles) wide. The reddish color of the soil is caused by iron-oxide (rust) formations in the clay. Vineyards on this soil benefit from good drainage and nutrient-holding capacity.

Coonawarra's proximity to the Southern Ocean (37 miles/60km away) gives it a mild maritime climate, with Mediterranean effects in the summer moderated by the cool breezes coming off the sea. This cooling of the vines is critical to the richness and complexity of the region's wines as it extends the ripening period, resulting in a wide range of flavor development.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the shining star of the region, producing some of Australia's great wines. They display concentrated fruit flavors and although the winemaking principles revolve around extracting as much of the tannin as possible, they are well integrated and never overpowering. 

The success of this grape variety has given birth to such events as the Coonawarra Cabernet Celebration, Barrel Auction and the annual Coonawarra Cup held at the Penola Racecourse. While the major cities of Adelaide and Melbourne are both around 400 kilometers (250 miles) away, plenty of visitors make the journey to taste these famous wines at the cellar doors of the region's various wineries, which include well-established large producers and smaller and newer operations..

Other quality red wines, both varietals and blends, are produced in the region, based on varieties such as Shiraz, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot. White wines are mainly produced from Chardonnay and Riesling.

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Most Popular Coonawarra Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Grape
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Penfolds Bin 128 Shiraz, Coonawarra, Australia Shiraz 554th 90 $43
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 644th 92 $32
Wynns Coonawarra Estate John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 1,547th 94 $114
Jacob's Creek St Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 1,951st 92 $40
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz, Coonawarra, Australia Shiraz 2,349th 89 $15
Penfolds Bin 620 Cabernet Sauvignon - Shiraz, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet - Syrah/Shiraz 2,526th 93 $1,163
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Michael Shiraz, Coonawarra, Australia Shiraz 3,553rd 93 $99
Penfolds Bin 169 Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 3,998th 93 $236
Petaluma 'Coonawarra' Evans Vineyard, South Australia Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot 4,271st 90 $62
Wolf Blass Gold Label Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 4,569th 89 $25
Penley Estate Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 4,848th 89 $19
Parker Coonawarra Estate 'First Growth', Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot 5,133rd 91 $74
Jacob's Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 5,341st 89 $12
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Shiraz, Coonawarra, Australia Shiraz 5,506th 91 $29
Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 5,675th 90 $33
Katnook Estate Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 5,877th 89 $76
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet - Shiraz - Merlot, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet - Syrah/Shiraz 6,116th 88 $15
Lindeman's Limestone Ridge Shiraz - Cabernet, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet - Syrah/Shiraz 7,295th 91 $54
Balnaves of Coonawarra The Tally Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 7,473rd 92 $74
Lindeman's Pyrus Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot - Malbec, Coonawarra, Australia Bordeaux Blend Red 7,701st 91 $55
Parker Coonawarra Estate 'Terra Rossa' Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 7,735th 90 $43
Yalumba The Menzies Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 8,105th 91 $47
Lindeman's St George Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 8,385th 92 $51
Yalumba 'The Cigar' Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 8,751st 90 $27
Majella Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 9,219th 90 $27
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