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Coonawarra: region
South Australia, Australia
Moderate climate (flat, low-altitude region influenced by maritime breezes
Number of wineries
27
Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot

Coonawarra may be one of the smaller wine regions, but it has earned its noteworthy reputation for producing first-class cabernet sauvignon. Part of the picturesque Limestone Coast, this region is home to predominantly smaller family owned and operated wineries grouped along the famed ‘terra rossa’ strip. Undoubtable the most famous aspect of the Coonawarra region, the ‘terra rossa’ strip is a long cigar shaped strip approximately 2km by 25km long of exceptionally fertile red soil, sitting above an ancient reservoir of pure water. It is boasted that this soil is the most sought-after vineyard soil in Australia. Another unique feature that is unusual for wine regions is the terrain. Whilst most vineyards are found on undulating landscapes, this strip lies completely flat with no rivers or valley slopes to help irrigation. Coonawarra may have begun as a region specialising in shiraz, however, it now considers Cabernet Sauvignon to be the jewel in the region’s crown.

The cooler temperatures suit the growth of red style vines, with 90% of the production made up of red wines such as shiraz, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. This being said, the new generation of winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating alternative grape varieties with new winemaking styles to also offer white wines, including rieslings chardonnays and popular sparkling whites.

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Experiences and attractions

Coonawarra Wineries Walking Trail

Meander through the picturesque vineyards of Coonawarra on this ‘vine to wine’ walking trail. Covering a 5km stretch, this trail will take you past six wineries for a behind the scenes glimpse of their winemaking processes. This trail can be completed in approximately three hours but with plenty of eateries to explore, we recommend factoring more time to include a beautiful picnic lunch along the way

Naracoorte Caves National Park

Recognised as a world heritage site, the Naracoorte Caves are one of the most important fossil sites that allow scientists a glimpse into long extinct animal life. For many years, these predators would fall into the well hidden caves and their skeletons preserved. Today, this has been transformed into a display of amazing fossils on the backdrop of natural stalagmites and stalactites, and limestone formations.

Mount Gambier

Whilst further afield, those with time to spare should take the hours drive south to visit Mount Gambier, known for its limestone, volcanic landscape and crater lakes. The Blue Lake, which turns cobalt blue in summer, iis a stunning destination for all. The Umpherston Sinkhole is another must-see as it now contains a lush sunken garden right in the heart of this vibrant city.
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