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OUR STORY

CAPTIVATING COONAWARRA WINES

OUR HISTORY

Rich in heritage, Katnook lies in the heart of the fabled Coonawarra wine region, South Australia, home to some of Australia’s best Terra Rossa vineyards. Our history stretches back to 1867, after Scottish immigrant John Riddoch arrived at Penola in South Australia and purchased parcels of land throughout Coonawarra, impressed with the remarkable rate of growth of fruit trees and vines in the area, and commissioned the building of his ‘Woolshed’ which still stands today at Katnook.

Riddoch planted 140 acres of vines and his first vintage in 1895 was a modest event in a neighbouring nursery shed. However, his second, with a much greater volume of fruit and attended to by qualified winemaker William Salter was made in the woolshed at ‘Katnook’ in 1896. By all accounts this second vintage indicated the outstanding quality that was to come. In 1971, the first vines of a new era for Katnook were planted, after an extended period of farming on the property and the woolshed being used as a sheep station.

Over the next decade, great attention was paid to executing superior viticultural management. The first commercial vintage was made in 1980 by winemaker – Wayne Stehbens in the ‘Katnook’ woolshed, just as Riddoch had done 84 years earlier. When Wayne passed away in 2017, he was one of the longest-serving and most successful winemakers in Australia’s history. Now, a new generation of winemakers is leading the charge at Katnook, with Daniel McNicol at the helm.

Katnook has two wines in the prestigious Langton’s Classification of Australian Wines, two Jimmy Watson trophies and a five-star rating in James Halliday’s Wine Companion 2020.

UNIQUE TERROIR

TERRA ROSSA SOIL

Coonawarra is home to the renowned terra rossa, a 2km wide and 25 km long cigar-shaped strip of red, fertile soil. Terra rossa soil is Coonawarra's most famous terroir aspect, as it’s scarce worldwide. Coonawarra's topography is undoubtedly unusual. Unlike most quality wine regions, it has no rivers or valley slopes and is dead flat. A small cigar-shaped sliver of land, Coonawarra owes its uniqueness to a ridge of limestone covered with exceptionally fertile red soil that sits above an ancient reservoir of pure water

Latin for red earth, terra rossa is a rich red loamy soil, ranging from a few centimetres to 1.5 metres and overlaying chalky limestone up to 2 metres thick. It provides an ideal drainage system. Below this, calcareous clay extends for 2 to 3 metres and beneath that lies water.

The terra rossa soils impart great fertility to fully ripen the berries, particularly with their hallmark cassis, mint, and limestone minerality.

MEET OUR WINEMAKER

Daniel McNicol

Daniel started his career at 14, working in vineyards throughout his local region, McLaren Vale, Adelaide. Daniel took his love and passion for the industry and completed his Winemaking degree at the University of Adelaide.

Before moving to Coonawarra, Daniel spent 8 years working in McLaren Vale within an array of premium vineyards, wineries and a brewery in McLaren Vale.

It was Daniel’s 2018 trip to Spain and Sicily as part of a university study tour that encouraged his move to Coonawarra. Daniel attended the International Terroir Congress in Zaragoza and explored the beauty of Mt Etna and its wine-growing diversity. This trip built an aspiration for him to work within a region renowned for its sense of place, unique soil formation and microclimate, such as Coonawarra.

Daniel thoroughly enjoys working and living in the Coonawarra, noting, “the wines here have purity, age ability and regionality." I am thankful to be a part of a very supportive, collaborative, and easy-going community.”

COONAWARRA'S FINEST

Our Vineyards

The vineyards of Katnook are located within the Coonawarra GI (Geographic Indication) region of South Australia, in the heart of Coonawarra's finest soils. Our vines are carefully nurtured by excellent Viticultural team. Our aim is to achieve the finest quality fruit from the vineyards whilst sustaining their precious environment. We adopt sustainable production methods, ensuring that we support other plant species and organisms with whom we share our space.

Our vineyards have Entwine Accreditation, which is Australia's official wine environmental assurance program. Katnook Estate’s 155 hectares include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot and Pinot Noir in the reds and white varietals of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling. New plantings include Malbec and Tempranillo to highlight the diversity of Coonawarra’s terroir.

DISTINCTION WINES

JOIN THE CLUB

Embark on the journey of a lifetime Katnook Estate is a proud member of Distinction Wines – a collective of some of Australia’s most prized and significant vineyards, as well as some distinctive global wineries. JOIN FOR FREE

EXPLORE OUR WINES

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