The Coonawarra wine region centres on the town of Coonawarra in the Limestone Coast zone of South Australia.
Despite being a relatively small wine region, it has a big reputation for producing quality wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon. Grown in the region’s vivid red soil, Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon is rich and robust, with dark cherry, mint and blackberry flavours.
Located on the Limestone Coast between Adelaide and Melbourne, the Coonawarra wine region measures only 20km in length and 2km wide. Although 80km inland from the coast, its flat terrain means it still benefits from a maritime climate.
Our best Coonawarra wines
Coonawarra climate and soil
Coonawarra’s proximity to the Southern Ocean means it enjoys a temperate maritime climate. Warm Mediterranean-style summers are cooled by ocean breezes, creating ideal conditions for ripening grapes.
Coonawarra is the spot for the most famous vineyard soil, terra rossa – red-brown topsoil over limestone. This is considered one of the ultimate soils for viticulture thanks to its excellent drainage and slightly alkaline pH levels. The reddish colour of the soil also allows light to be reflected in the vineyard, boosting the ripening of grapes.
The combination of a longer ripening season and rich soil lies behind their award-winning Coonawarra red wines, and it’s no wonder Coonawarra wineries are widely respected throughout Australia.
Wine grapes grown in Coonawarra
Cabernet Sauvignon is Coonawarra’s top dog with its full-bodied, juicy and intense fruit flavours. Coonawarra red wine, in general, is high-quality and complex, with varieties like Shiraz and Merlot also being stand-out wines. Coonawarra’s Shiraz is lighter in body, while Coonawarra’s Merlot is full of flavour and is age-worthy.
Along with outstanding red wines, Coonawarra white wines also earn recognition. The region produces refreshing whites with intense aromas and soft palates. Coonawarra white wine varieties include Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.