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Katnook Estate

Our Story

John Riddoch's original 1800s buildings amongst the Katnook Vines, now open to visitors.

Katnook sits in the heartland of South Australia’s Coonawarra wine district, just north of Penola and roughly half way between Melbourne and Adelaide. The 155 hectare Katnook property boasts some of Australia’s finest vineyards as well as John Riddoch’s beautifully restored, historic limestone buildings – where we welcome visitors to our Estate.

Katnook was the site of wine pioneer John Riddoch’s first commercial Coonawarra vintage in 1896. In 1980, the second chapter began when wine was again crafted in Riddoch’s original winery by Wayne Stehbens, who headed the winemaking team until his sudden passing in November 2017.  He was one of the longest serving winemakers in Australia.  Wayne was responsible for a string of remarkable achievements such as twice winning the Jimmy Watson Trophy (1987 for 1986 Cabernet Shiraz blend and 1998 for the 1997 Prodigy Shiraz) as well as a double trophy at the prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2003.

Accomplished winemaker, Tim Heath, assumed the role of Senior Winemaker in June 2018.  Tim graduated in winemaking from the University of Adelaide before making wine for Mount Adam and then for the renouned Cloudy Bay New Zealand - a position he held for over 15 years.  Wine can only be as good as the vineyard, which at Katnook is ably managed by Senior Viticulturist, Chris Brodie. Around 1 500 tonnes are crushed annually at the Estate.

Two Katnook wines are currently included in the prestigious Langton’s Classification V11 of Australian Wines and Katnook is rated 5-star in James Halliday’s Wine Companion 2019. The focus, variety wise, is certainly Cabernet Sauvignon for which Coonawarra is world renowned.  Noted wine writer James Halliday describes Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon (July 2018),  " A majority of the grapes grown in Coonawarra go into a making a 100 per cent varietal wine. Expect a medium-bodied style with a supple palate and balanced tannins. The range of fruit flavours in the wine is largely influenced by the vintage and winemaker, covering cassis, blackcurrant, redcurrant, blackberry and mulberry when the wine is young. With age, these flavours develop into distinctive earthy, savoury and spicy characteristics."


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