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COONAWARRA - regional guide to the best of ...

Address :
Coonawarra  SA


Five and a half hours from Adelaide made Coonawarra an outpost only visited by keen wine fans or as day trips from holidayers on the coast around Robe. But much has changed with the development of cellar doors and dining options that make it an attraction on itself. It's also the perfect break in a driving trip from Melbourne to Adelaide (or reverse) - stop, revive, (buy some wine), survive. Or, even more indulgent for the Melbourne leg, is a stopover at The Royal Mail in Dunkeld - less than three hours from either Melbourne or Coonawarra.

Now, there's not a lot of dining choices, but what the options that exist are pretty good - Pipers of Penola in Penola and upstairs at HOLLICK just north of town. Pipers is only open for dinner and upstairs mostly only lunch,but they are both must visits in Coonawarra. Slightly more caual, but good food, is Fodder in the hamlet of Coonawarra itself. The Kitchen @ Poplars is cafe in appearance but with good regional dishes beyond standard cafe fare.

Coonawarra must be the easiest wine area in Australia to visit a lot of vineyards in a short time. All are scattered either side of - and very few even have an address that is not - the Riddoch Highway. The twenty-five odd cellar doors are a short, and very quick, drive from each other. Take careful note of the "very quick" as the speed limit remains 110kph despite the frequent visitor turning off or onto the Highway. Trucks thunder along threatening the faint of heart.

This is cabernet country with merlot and shiraz playing supporting roles either in blends or as single varieties, and certain vintages can bring shiraz, particularly, to great heights. Whites play bit parts on vineyards less suite to the red varieties. There is some dabbling in other red varieties such as tempranillo, barbera and sangiovese with some success but this is more common north in Wrattonbully.

Many wineries have vineyards, or source fruit, from Wrattonbully. This area was created when a line was drawn (correctly or otherwise) in the sand to define the boundaries of Coonawarra. Coonawarra was supposedly based on the terra rossa soil and much of this exists north of the boundary. But, whether it's the soil or the similar climate, Wrattonbully is a very promising area with some excellent wines already proving their worth. Many of these are available at cellar doors in Coonawarra (there are none yet in Wrattonbully).

You can see a lot, and get a great grasp of terroir, in a couple of days in the area. And there are enough dining options to last several days. Coonawarra is no longer an outpost in the bottom corner of South Australia.

Eat & Drink's best of ...


Fodder, Coonawarra
Pipers of Penola, Penola
upstairs at HOLLICK, Coonawarra


Divine Cafe, Penola
Kitchen @ Poplars, Coonawarra


Heywoods Royal Oak , Penola
Terra Rossa, Penola


Kitchen @ Poplars , Coonawarra

(not included if not open to the public)

Balnaves of Coonawarra, Coonawarra
Bowen Estate, Coonawarra
Brand's Laira , Coonawarra
Coonawarra Wine Gallery, Coonawarra
diGiorgio Family Wines, Coonawarra
Hollick, Coonawarra
Koonara, Penola
Leconfield, Coonawarra
Majella Wines, Coonawarra
Parker Coonawarra Estate, Coonawarra
Patrick T Wines, Coonawarra
Penley Estate, Coonawarra
The Poplars Winery, Coonawarra
Punters Corner Wines, Coonawarra
Raidis Estate, Coonawarra
Redman Wines, Coonawarra
Rymill Coonawarra, Coonawarra
Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Coonawarra
Yalumba Menzies Wine Room, Coonawarra
Zema Estate, Coonawarra


Honeysuckle Rise Cottage, Coonawarra
Punters Vineyard Retreat, Coonawarra
Westend Estate