Insider's guide to Coonawarra

By Halliday Wine Companion

Top winemakers share their tips for making the most of a trip to Coonawarra, ensuring you eat and drink like a local the next time you visit.

Winemaker Tim Heath of Katnook EstateTim Heath of Katnook Estate says: “For a nice night out, head to Pipers of Penola, voted South Australia’s best country restaurant for several years in a row. If you're after a break away from the wines, visit the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves.

The Redman winemaking teamBruce, Mal, Dan and Michael of Redman say: “The Coonawarra Tea Night, held on the last Friday of each month at the Coonawarra Hall, is a great way to get to know the locals and mingle with winemakers. BYO salad to share and corkage is $5.”

Winemaker Peter Weinberg of Brand's LairaPeter Weinberg of Brand’s Laira says: “Discover some of the region's best wine and food while taking in the landscape on the Coonawarra Wineries Trail. Stop for lunch at Ottelia, or for the ultimate farm-to-fork experience try Maruya Station. The National Park and the Blue Lake of Mount Gambier are also worth a look.”

Winemaker Kate Goodman Penley EstateKate Goodman of Penley Estate says: “While visiting Coonawarra, be sure to check out a few other wineries: Patrick of Coonawarra, Redman and Balnaves, to name a few. If you're after a slightly different experience, Bellwether has a fantastic 'glamping' set up, as well as some furry friends who'd love a pat!”

Majella winemakersBruce Gregory and Michael Marcus of Majella say: “Visit one of our local restaurants: Hollick upstairs, Ottelia, Pipers of Penola and the Mayura Tasting room are all great. There are also two top-notch pubs in Penola, the Heywards Royal Oak and The Prince of Wales. To kick-start your day, visit a cafe such as DiVine, Vintage, or Lido & the Coonawarra store. The historic Yallum Park is also a must-see.

Find everything you need to know about Coonawarra in our essential guide