John Riddoch's original 1800s buildings amongst the Katnook Vines, now open to visitors.
Rich in heritage and tradition, Katnook is a James Halliday 5-star awarded winery located in Coonawarra in South Australia, one of Australia’s finest wine regions. Established in 1867 by Scottish immigrant John Riddoch, Katnook Estate is one of the oldest existing wineries in the regions and its vineyards stretch over 155 hectares on the famous terra rossa soil strip that runs through Coonawarra.
Katnook produces a premium, iconic Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon and Prodigy Shiraz, its flagship Katnook Estate range and the more contemporary Founder’s Block range. These wines epitomise Katnook’s philosophy of crafting wines from carefully selected parcels of fruit that offer great intensity of flavour, fine balance and integrity of regional and varietal character.
Katnook has a unique heritage, engrained in the development of Coonawarra’s wine region. In 1861, Scottish immigrant, John Riddoch arrived at Penola in South Australia and realising the fertile soils in the area began to buy agricultural land. Katnook is the Indigenous word for “Fat Land” denoting the fertile character of the soil. In 1890 Riddoch established the Coonawarra Fruit Colony and planted 140 hectares of vines. His first commercial vintage was made in his woolshed at Katnook in 1896. The woolshed has now been restored and serves as Katnook’s barrel room, as well as John Riddoch’s beautifully restored, historic limestone buildings – where we welcome visitors to our Estate.
The property was renamed Katnook Estate in 1971, new vines were planted and a vigorous viticultural program implemented. A decade later, Wayne Stehbens, one of Australia’s longest serving winemakers from 1979 to 2017, began producing wines in the very same woolshed that John Riddoch began his legacy.
Katnook wines have garnered countless international and Australian awards including the prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy – twice. Currently two Katnook wines are listed in the prestigious Langton’s VII Classification of Australian wine and Katnook is rated 5-star in James Halliday’s Wine Companion 2020.
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."