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Katnook Estate

News and Blog

Katnook Estate
7 November 2017 | Katnook Estate

Vale Wayne Stehbens

It is with great sadness that Wingara Wine Group announces the sudden passing of our Katnook senior winemaker Wayne Stehbens on Sunday 05 November.  He was 63 years old.

Wayne has been an institution on the Coonawarra winemaking scene for more than 38 years and his passion, skill and dedication to Katnook and the Coonawarra region in general were extraordinary.

Wayne Stehbens made Katnook's first vintage and headed the winemaking team until his sudden death, making him one of Australia’s longest serving winemakers. 

In 1979 Wayne produced his first vintage and in 1980, he crafted Katnook’s first commercial quantities of wine. Wayne was then fresh from winemaking studies at Charles Sturt University when he was appointed winemaker at Katnook. He was already familiar with the property having worked alongside his father, Katnook General Manager Ray Stehbens, during his school holidays.

Foreshadowing the success that was to come, these first wines won 49 awards in their first year.   In 1988 Wayne travelled to Graves, near Bordeaux in France, where Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are the leading varieties.  Here, he completed vintage and gained insights into these wine styles.  Wayne was one of the first Australian winemakers to make Sauvignon Blanc in commercial quantities.

Over the course of his career Wayne received numerous awards and accolades. He won two Jimmy Watson Trophies (1987 and 1998) and a double trophy at the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2003 for the flagship Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon 1998. Further trophies included the 2000 vintage of Odyssey in the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2005 & Decanter Wine Awards 2005 and most recently a trophy for the 2008 Odyssey in the 2013 International Wine & Spirits Competition.   In the Langton’s Classification V, Odyssey receives a rating of ‘Outstanding’, Prodigy a classification of ‘Excellent’ and the Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon a rating of ‘Distinguished’.  

Wayne was a talented winemaker with a sophisticated understanding of the unique terroir of Coonawarra. He was passionate about the wines in his charge and about Coonawarra as an significant wine producing region, having served for two years as President of the Coonawarra Vigneron’s Association.

Wayne governed Katnook’s winemaking during the most dynamic growth period of the Australian wine industry.  Wayne cited the loves of his life as his family, wine, fast cars (he owned two Bolwells which he built from scratch), water skiing and tennis. 

In 2013 Wayne celebrated 35 years of winemaking at Katnook and reflected on his career -  read the interview here for an insight into Wayne and his winemaking at the time. 

No words can truly describe the extraordinary impact Wayne had at Katnook Estate, Coonawarra - he will be sadly missed by so many.  

Greg Clayfield has temporarily assumed the role of Senior Winemaker until a permanent replacement is appointed.  He has decades of winemaking experience in Coonawarra, including  Zema Estate, Rouge Homme and Wynns.  Greg was awarded the 1988 International Winemaker of the Year and was a great friend of Wayne’s.

Katnook Estate
31 October 2017 | Katnook Estate

Matching Food With Wine - the right way around.

As the weather warms up, winter longing for outdoor dining with family and friends start to become reality.  Then comes the ' age old' question, which wine shall I serve with this dish?  Katnook friend and noted wine writer, Tony Love, challenges us that perhaps we should think of it the other way around - which dish will I serve with this wine?

As Tony explains, " When it’s dinner party time the plan goes like this: we’re having a leg of lamb, what shall we drink? Usually that means searching the wine rack or a trip to the bottleshop for a classic cabernet or smart shiraz.

Now let’s look at this from a wine lover’s perspective. How about: “I have a great bottle of Coonawarra cabernet-shiraz that we should drink tonight — what should we serve with it?”

That’s my kind of pre-dinner conversation.

The colder months scream for big, bold wines but medium-bodied reds, which tend to have a lower alcohol level and brighter fruitier flavours and aromas, suit the more exotic cuisines that make up a modern Australian table.

When cabernet sauvignon and its various blends is the wine of the night, turn to the red meat section and go no further.

The traditional partner to lamb, cabernet often shows a regional mint character which suits that old school mint sauce addition for a roast leg — and the wine will also rock stronger saltbush and mutton stews.

And, of course, cabernet and beef go hand-in-hand, again in its simpler most familiar roast fillet or rib all the way to slow braises of shoulder and brisket.

If you’ve found a cabernet that has a slight vegetal aromatic, add snow peas or beans to your three vegetables on the side. Or try to include a bunch of baby beetroots which offer a tasty reflection of the purple fruit and earthier impressions of the wine.

In this, part one of our Wine First-Food Next series, we’re going to select our sippings before our supper as a way of turning food and wine matching on its head.

Read Tony's full article here and happy matching!

Katnook Estate
4 September 2017 | Katnook Estate

International Medal Haul for Katnook

Katnook Estate has struck gold at the Japan's largest and most prestigious show, the Japan Wine Challenge 2017.

The winning wine was the Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, closely followed by Katnook Estate Shiraz 2012 and Katnook Estate Chardonnay 2015 - which each won a silver medal.

The 20th Japan Wine Challenge 2017 was held in the Conrad Tokyo Hotel from 15th to 17th August 2017. In conjunction with 11th International Sake Challenge and 1st Fuji Cider Challenge, a total of almost 2,000 wines, sakes, and ciders from across the world were entered, representing an increase of 30% on last year.  These were judged by a panel of over 30  top wine professionals from Japan and internationally.  These included John Salvi MW, Jim Harre, Katsuyuki Tanaka, Anthony Rose, Australia's Andrew Caillard MW, Neal Martin, Rowald Hepp, Chris Martin, Marcelo Pino, and Eduardo Dingler, as well as their counterparts from across the spectrum of Japan’s wine trade and media. The result was a judging panel and professionalism acknowledged as bring second to none.

Our Trophy Awards Ceremony will be held on 16 February 2018, followed by a celebration dinner/charity auction at the Conrad Tokyo Hotel, in the presence of HIH Princess Takamado.

Over the 20 years since its inception, the Japan Wine Challenge has established itself as Japan's largest and Asia's most prestigious and professional international wine trade competition.

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