The Best Wineries in Coonawarra
Discover the best of Coonawarra’s wineries and cellar doors to taste and experience the region’s delights with our guide and interactive map.
You’ve heard the name and know it’s wine country, but where in Australia is Coonawarra? What causes the region’s iconic soils to be red? And what wine is Coonawarra most famous for? We’ll answer these questions and more as we explore the Australian wine region of the famed terra rossa soils.
Australia’s ‘other red centre’, Coonawarra, is located in the heart of South Australia’s Limestone Coast, 450kms from Melbourne and 370kms from Adelaide.
Dotted by ancient river red gums and pristine vine rows, it’s a small yet productive region – a cigar-shaped stretch of land 15 kilometres long and a mere 2 kilometres wide.
The region boasts some of the most sought-after vineyard soil in Australia – the iconic rich red ‘terra rossa’. The famed ‘red carpet’ gets its colour from iron oxide deposits blown in from the plains millennia ago, and sits atop a ridge of limestone above an ancient reservoir of pure underground water.
With vineyards positioned just 80kms from the Southern Ocean, the vines are assured of a long, cool ripening period producing wines of fantastic balance, richness, intensity and longevity.
It’s thanks to Scottish pioneer John Riddoch, who noticed the fertility of the region’s famed terra rossa soils way back in 1890, that we can enjoy some of the world’s best Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
Today, the region is home to a mix of old winemaking families and fresh new talent. It boasts over 25 cellar doors to visit, offering wonderfully friendly, memorable and delicious experiences, along with a vast range of other activities and places worth dropping by.
There’s so much to take in, so we’ve compiled a list of highlights for you; our top picks of Coonawarra’s best wineries and cellar door experiences, the best things to do while you’re there, some recommended places to stay for your visit, and some tips on the best places to eat in the Coonawarra region. Let’s dive in!
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Coonawarra Winery Map
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Nestled in the heart of the famed ‘terra rosa’ strip, north of Penola, you’ll find this iconic South Australian winery.
Brand’s Laira is steeped in heritage with a wealth of old vine vineyards dating back to 1893, the year that English sea captain, Henry Stentiford, was lured inland by the quality soils of the area.
Their new Cellar Door, opened in late 2020, offers tastings of award-winning and cellar-door-exclusive premium wines. Crafted from some of the oldest vines in Australia, Brand’s Laira proudly offers wines that taste exceptional when young and also cellar brilliantly.
In addition to regular wine tastings, visitors can choose special experiences including the ‘Where it all began’ tour – a walk through the oldest vines in Coonawarra learning about the rich history of the region followed by specialised tastings – or the ‘blend your own wine experience’.
14860 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Open daily - weekdays: 9am to 4:30pm, weekends: 11am to 4pm
Visit Brand’s Laira cellar door
Surrounded by red gums that are more than 500 years old, Bellwether Wines is a working boutique winery, produce garden, kitchen and boutique campground that offers warm, friendly experiences and aims to educate in a down to earth and relaxed, yet quality, fashion.
Taste premium wines made by creative winemaker Sue Bell, a well-respected judge on the Australian wine show judging circuit, and prepare to be surprised.
If you’re after something a little special, a decadent choice is the Coonawarra Cabernet vertical masterclass with matched canapés. In this specialised tasting you’ll get a tour and a tasting of six vintages of Bellwether’s premium Coonawarra Cabernet with the winemaker.
Other great options for visitors include sourdough making, herb and garden veggie tours and a full ‘glamping’ experience with all the trimmings. The onsite campground provides the option of staying right in the heart of all the action.
14183 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Open daily: 12pm to 4pm, closed Christmas Day.
Visit Bellwether Wines Cellar door
Located just 6 kilometres north of Penola on the Riddoch Highway, Katnook Estate’s historic cellar door was first built in the late 1800’s by the founder of the Coonawarra wine region, John Riddoch.
Today, the beautifully renovated building features locally sourced stone and timbers and provides a wonderful environment to sample a range of Katnook’s premium wines, along with platters of local cheeses.
If you’re visiting during winter, the cosy lounge area with its open fireplace is the perfect place to warm up and unwind. Adjacent to the cellar door is the award-winning ‘terra rossa pit’, where you can get up close and personal with Coonawarra’s famous soil profile and learn why it’s so important to the flavour of the region’s wines.
Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Open weekdays: 10am to 5pm, weekends: 12pm to 5pm. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Visit the Katnook Estate Cellar Door
Di Giorgio Family Wines
Don’t miss out on visiting the family owned and operated Di Giorgio Family Wines. Their winery is the second oldest in the district and their Coonawarra vineyard boasts some gnarly old vines that are over 115 years old.
Along with producing premium wines from Coonawarra and Lucindale, the Di Giorgio family sources specific varietal fruit from different areas of the Limestone Coast, where they believe the terrior is best-suited to the variety.
At Di Giorgio’s cellar door, you’re invited to taste a selection of premium wines from their extensive portfolio, plus don’t miss out on their delicious olive oils and the fabulous range of local cheeses.
The shaded outdoor seating area is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine with a ‘pick your own produce’ platter with family, friends and beloved pets.
14918 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Open daily 10am to 5pm. Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Visit Di Giorgio Family Wines Cellar Door
Established in 1983, Hollick Estates is a boutique winery renowned for high-quality wines from both Coonawarra and nearby Wrattonbully.
The original slab cottage, located on Neilson’s Block, was restored and opened as the Hollick Cellar Door. This historic building remains at the entrance to Hollick Estates today, with a new cellar door and restaurant, Upstairs at Hollick, built in 2002, effectively integrating the new with older historic charm.
Hollick Estates wines are made from three core vineyards – over 85 hectares of vineyard in total. Eighty percent are planted to red varieties, including region-variety hero Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Barbera, with the remaining twenty percent planted with white varieties including Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Savagnin.
If you’re feeling a bit peckish, Hollick Estates has some great food options with Café in the vines, providing casual eats for breakfast and lunch, and Upstairs, one of the original winery restaurants in the Coonawarra region, open for lunch Wednesdays to Sundays and dinner on Saturdays.
Corner of Riddoch Highway and Ravenswood Lane, Coonawarra
Open daily: Monday to Friday – 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday – 11am to 5pm, Public Holidays – 11am to 4pm. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Visit Hollick Estates Cellar Door
Jack Estate is a family owned and operated winery and one of the region’s up-and-coming wine producers.
Established in 2011 with a vineyard originally planted in 1962, they are committed to providing high quality winemaking services utilising their modern and efficient winery in the heart of Coonawarra.
Jack Estate’s Cellar Door is currently by appointment only, so make sure you plan ahead and book in to taste the most recent selection of premium wines including the M-R Series, Jack Estate and Mythology ranges.
15025 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
By appointment only, please call (08) 8736 3130 with any enquiries.
Visit Jack Estate Cellar Door
Koonara is a boutique winery and organic-certified vineyard owned and operated by a family who have lived in the Coonawarra region since 1906, whose philosophy is creating wines that are high quality and age-worthy.
Having pursued an organic approach 16 years ago, they’ve created an ecosystem and vineyard management plan to allow everyone to enjoy chemical-free and low-sulphur wines.
Conveniently located in the main street of Penola near restaurants, cafes and shops, Koonara’s Cellar Door offers wine tastings along with a range of homewares, gifts and gourmet treats available for purchase including crockery, glassware, local produce, kitchen gadgets and more – everything you need to host the perfect dinner party.
44 Church St, Penola SA
Open daily: 10am to 4pm. Closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day
Visit the Koonara Cellar Door
Patrick of Coonawarra
Patrick of Coonawarra is a second-generation, family-run estate crafting remarkable wines with innovation, humility, inclusivity and curiosity. Established in 1998 by experienced winemaker, Patrick Tocaciu, the business is now run by his son Luke.
The winery’s premium fruit is grown in their vineyards in Coonawarra and nearby Wrattonbully, producing quality wines for several ranges including their Single Site Home Block, Two Blocks, Méthode and P-Series.
Patrick of Coonawarra wines display the characteristics typical of a cool-climate region and are produced using traditional winemaking techniques like extended skin contact, gentle maceration and slow fermentation. Pop into their Cellar Door for a tasting while you’re in the Coonawarra region.
15598 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Open daily: 10am to 5pm
Visit Patrick of Coonawarra Cellar Door
Owned by one of Australia’s original winemaking families, Leconfield Wines is situated just a stones-throw from Katnook Estate along the Riddoch Highway.
Built in 1974 by Sydney Hamilton, the limestone winery building has an impressive barrel storage of 2000 barrels, predominantly sourced from France.
Once inside the winery, you’ll be welcomed to the intimate tasting room where you can sample the Leconfield and Richard Hamilton ranges while watching the winemaking team at work.
15454 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Open weekdays: 10am to 4:30pm, weekends and public holidays: 11am to 4pm.
Visit Leconfield Wines Cellar Door
Rymill Coonawarra was established in 1974 by Peter Rymill, the great grandson of John Riddoch who was the founder of Coonawarra. Embracing the pioneering spirit of his forefathers, Peter planted a diverse range of varieties and built a stunning, high-tech winery that is still home to Rymill Coonawarra today.
A must-visit destination of the region, the Rymill Coonawarra’s spacious cellar door boasts internal viewing platforms to watch the workings of the winery and external balconies that overlook the beautiful tree-lined grounds.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at the winery while sampling their range of 100% estate-grown wines, then step outside to the gorgeous grounds to enjoy a local produce platter or grazing plate.
Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Open daily: 10am to 5pm. Closed Christmas Day
Visit Rymill’s Cellar Door
Wynns Coonawarra Estate
Wynns Coonawarra Estate is one of the region’s leading producers and largest single vineyard holder with the longest established vineyard sites in Coonawarra.
What is now Wynns Coonawarra Estate was founded by Scottish pioneer John Riddoch, who in 1891 planted along the famed terra rossa strip and completed the estate’s now iconic three-gabled winery in 1896.
Stop in at the Wynn’s Cellar Door to enjoy complimentary wine tastings of current and back vintage wines in their tasting room and interpretive centre. Also available to purchase are cheese platters, wines by the glass, espresso coffee and an extensive offering of back vintage wines and magnums.
Or, why not book one of their special behind-the-scenes experiences and tastings, such as the opportunity to make your own blend or the structured tasting of the Wynns Icon Collection.
77 Memorial Drive, Coonawarra
Open daily: 10am to 5pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Visit Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cellar Door
Established in 1982, Zema Estate is a boutique winery owned and operated by three generations of the Zema family.
Their modern cellar door overlooks beautiful hand-pruned vines and offers a wonderfully friendly and authentic experience. All current release wines are available for tasting, plus a stunning selection of cellar-door-only and museum release wines.
You can also indulge in Mrs Zema’s estate-grown and homemade olive oil and chilli paste, along with more delicious gourmet produce that is sourced locally or imported from Italy.
Partial to a good party, the Zema’s also host regular events where you can enjoy Mrs Zema’s fantastic Italian fare of pizza, pasta and arancini while being entertained by local musicians. Keep your diary open for a range of events, particularly in July and October, including the Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations.
14944 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Open weekdays: 9am to 5pm, weekends: 10am to 4pm. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Visit Zema Estate’s Cellar Door
THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN COONAWARRA
While amazing wineries and cellar doors may be your main incentive for a visit to Coonawarra, there are some great additional activities to enjoy while you are there. Here are some of our favourites.
- Coonawarra Wineries Walking Trail – For those who are keen on combining a bit of exercise with their wine tasting, the Coonawarra Wineries Walking Trail offers a great opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and explore the vineyards. It includes 6 wineries and is just under 5 kilometres in length.
- Coonawarra Railway Siding – located on the outskirts of the Coonawarra township and arguably one of the most recognisable landmarks in the wine world, the Coonawarra Railway Siding has become one of the most photographed sites in South Australia.
- Naracoorte Caves – Step back almost a million years into the past and discover the giant fossils at Naracoorte Caves. A world heritage-listed site located just 20 minutes north of Coonawarra, this extraordinary destination was once a den of ancient predators, and holds the skeletal remains of some of the megafauna that roamed this continent some half a million years ago.
- Penola Conservation Park and Nature Trail – surround yourself with nature when you visit Penola Conservation Park to discover its wetland environment, woodlands and open heaths. Explore the signposted 2.5km walk which guides you to bird hides over the swamp on a boardwalk.
- Penola Golf Club – enjoy a round of golf at the Penola Golf Club
- The John Riddoch Centre – incorporating the Penola/Coonawarra Visitor Information Centre, here you can explore the local history displays, view the John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art Collection or browse a range of brochures, maps and souvenirs.
- Mary MacKillop Centre – located in Penola, this centre pays homage to Australia’s first saint, providing exhibitions on the lives of Mary and Julian Tenison Woods.
THE BEST PLACES TO EAT IN COONAWARRA
Enjoy delicious meals while you explore the area. Here are some of the best places to eat in Coonawarra.
- Upstairs at Hollick – opened in 2002 as part of a development at the Hollick Estates, the restaurant’s design delivers uninterrupted views over the Estate’s Neilson Block vineyard through floor-to-ceiling windows. Hollick Estates also offer the more casual, onsite Café in the Vines
- Royal Oak Hotel – winners of South Australia’s Best Restaurant in a Pub in the 2019 Savour Australia Awards for Excellence, this pub in Penola is a great place to have a meal and a drink with plenty of room to spread out inside or in the beer garden.
- Di Giorgio Wines – the outdoor seating and lawn area is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine with a ‘Pick Your Own Produce Platter’ with family and friends.
- Fodder + Ottelia – walk in and taste the growing portfolio of wine alongside sourdough pizzas and seasonal dishes made with fresh veggies from the Fodder | Ottelia garden.
- Pipers of Penola – situated on the doorstep of Coonawarra, this upmarket and contemporary restaurant offers an à la carte restaurant menu with an emphasis on regional produce.
- Chardonnay Lodge – located in the heart of Coonawarra, Chardonnay Lodge’s restaurant is casual dining at its best, featuring superb regional cuisine.
THE BEST PLACES TO STAY IN COONAWARRA
With so many incredible wineries to visit in Coonawarra, you’re going to want to visit for at least a couple of days. So, where are the best places to stay in Coonawarra? There’s a great variety of accommodation right in the heart of Coonawarra wine country as well as in nearby Penola. Here are some places to stay when visiting the region.
- Hollick House – located at Hollick Estate’s winery, amongst the vineyards, provides a modern and comfortable getaway from which to explore the region.
- The Winemaker’s House – located just across the highway from Patrick of Coonawarra’s Cellar door, this freshly renovated contemporary house has all the comforts of home and is surrounded by vineyards.
- Glamping at Bellwether - if caravanning or camping is your thing, Bellwether Wines has campgrounds on site. Offering six glamping tents along with a range of powered and unpowered sites, a stay here puts you right in the middle of the action!
- Coonawarra Cottages – three cottages of different sizes are available providing comfortable and charming self-catered accommodation in the Coonawarra township, within walking distance of several renowned wineries.
- Coonawarra Experiences – spacious 1-bedroom apartment accommodation in the heart of Penola, just a short drive to the iconic Coonawarra wine strip and a stroll to the cafés and restaurants in the main street.
- Punters Vineyard Retreat – an idyllic adults-only getaway in the heart of Coonawarra vineyards, the Retreat offers serenity in a spacious environment offering panoramic views over the vines.
- Alexander Cameron Suites – motel accommodation located in the centre of historic Penola, a short walk to the town’s cafés, shops, art galleries, restaurants and pubs.
- Yalumba Menzies Retreat – wake up amongst the vines in this idyllic and private B&B retreat, with breakfast provisions provided.