Duane Coates has a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Oenology from the University of Adelaide; for good measure he completed the theory component of the Masters of Wine degree in 2005. Having made wine in various parts of the world, and in SA, he is more than qualified to make and market Coates wines. Nonetheless, his original intention was to simply make a single barrel of wine employing various philosophies and practices outside the mainstream; there was no plan to move to commercial production. The key is organically grown grapes. Exports to the UK and the US.
Coates Wines was started in 2003 with 200 cases produced. Business has been growing slowly since then and production now stands at 2500 cases across a dozen-odd wines of diverse styles. The winemaking, managing sales, marketing, accounts, IT and export are all managed by Duane Coates. Such is the case with most small producers.
In 2013 a new winery was completed and fitted out at Kuitpo (Adelaide Hills) modelled along the lines of a small Rhone or Burgundy producer. Friends and family help with the vintage workload. Coates Wines is privately owned with help from Duanes' patient partner and talented Chef Rebecca Stubbs
The winemaking style of Coates is influenced heavily by time spent in Europe and learning from good wines made in locations around the world. Natural yeast fermentation, long maceration times, minimal handling, no tannin or enzyme additives, bottling unfined and unfiltered are traditional Old World practices used. While our wines employ many aspects of the ‘natural wine marketing’ movement (to be frank little is natural about cutting off and fermenting the reproductive organs from a selectively bred monoculture), a pragmatic approach is employed. If acid has to be adjusted as a last resort it will be, and SO2 levels are maintained at a level to preclude microbial spoilage. Coates Wines prefers ‘minimal interventionist’ as a term.