With most wineries in a neat row along the Riddoch Highway, you can easily get from one to another, and the small, family-owned operations that make up the region promise many conversations with the producers themselves. Get to know the complex red wines of Coonawarra first-hand at the cellar doors here.
After Riddoch, Redman would be one of the most-referenced names in Coonawarra’s winegrowing history. This founding winery’s shiraz is responsible for household names turning their gaze to the terra rossa soils of the region and investing in its vineyards. Today, Redman continues to produce some of the country's finest shiraz wines using fruit from vines up to 100 years old. At this iconic winery, a family member will guide you through the wines – including a few rare drops only available at cellar door – and the Redman story. The heritage of the winery is ingrained in the space, with its buildings designed and built by Owen Redman in the 1960s.
Perfect for: Sipping old-vine shiraz while taking in views of the surrounding vineyards. Open 9am to 5pm weekdays, and from 11am to 4pm on weekends and public holidays.
On pour: Shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, red blends.
redman.com.au | 08 8736 3332 | 14830 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Trace Coonawarra’s winegrowing history to the Katnook Estate cellar door, where John Riddoch – pioneer of wine in the region – once ran his flourishing fruit colony. The building, erected in the late 1800s at the same time Coonawarra began its vinous journey, has been beautifully restored using local timber and stone. Peer into the ‘terra rossa pit’, where you can learn about the region’s famous red soils and how they present in the bottle, or simply kickback in the cosy lounge area with a cheese board and your favourite Katnook Estate wine.
Perfect for: Warming up with a glass of red by the fire in winter or enjoying a picnic on the lawn in warm weather. Open 10am to 5pm from Monday to Friday, and from 12pm to 5pm on weekends.
On pour: Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, shiraz, malbec, chardonnay, riesling, sauvignon blanc, sparkling shiraz and sparkling chardonnay pinot noir. Museum- and cellar-door exclusive wines are also available to taste.
katnookestate.com.au | 08 8737 0300 | 15310 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Just back from the beaten track, Penley Estate is a true-blue oasis bordered by magnificent gumtrees. The Penley winery philosophy is ‘wine for the enjoyment of wine’, promising not to bore you with any technical jargon (unless that’s what you’re into). They prefer to let their work do the talking and there's nothing wrong with that. Pop in for some rustic, simple perfection.
Perfect for: A short departure from the well-worn path to discover a hidden gem. Open 10am to 4pm daily.
On pour: Cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, various red blends, rosé, sparkling pinot noir, chardonnay.
penley.com.au | 08 8736 3211 | McLeans Road, Coonawarra
Majella is named after the Italian Saint 'Gerard Majella'. This cellar door and winery is also a working farm, so if you’re bringing the family and especially little ones, they’ll have fun spotting animals grazing around the generous grounds. Try all of the wines on pour at the cellar door minus tasting fees, with as much or as little guidance as you’d like from the team. If you're interested in trying museum wines these are also on offer. And if you find something you really love, you can send six bottles home free of delivery charges.
Perfect for: Families. Lovers of aged wines, with Majella participating in the Cellar Dwellers event in July, and offering a 10-vintage vertical tasting as part of the Cabernet Weekend in October.
On pour: Riesling, rosé, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, red blends, red and white sparkling.
majellawines.com.au | 08 8736 3055 | Lynn Road, via V&A Lane, Coonawarra
In the heart of Coonawarra’s terra rossa strip, Brand’s Laira is one of the region’s leading wineries, with a wealth of old vines and special sites the starting point for exceptionally crafted wines. The long tables inside Eric’s Shed, home to Brand’s Laira’s cellar door, welcome settling in for a few favourite wines, or when it’s nice outside you can order a ploughman’s platter and picnic on the lawn. Brand’s also hosts heaps of events throughout the year, so it might be worth coordinating your trip with any that take your fancy.
Perfect for: Families, pets and lovers of luscious red wines. Come for Cellar Dwellers in July or the Cabernet Celebration in October. You can also look out for Brand's Laira in your city as part of the Coonawarra Road Show, or if you're Brisbane-based, at the Night Noodle Markets in July.
On pour: Riesling, rosé, chardonnay, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, red blends.
brandslaira.com.au | 08 8736 3260 | 14860 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Find everything you need to know about Coonawarra in our essential guide.