Katnook is rated 5 stars by world renouned wine writer, James Halliday - an accolade it has enjoyed for several decades. At the head of our winemaking team is senior winemaker Wayne Stehbens, who began in 1979 when Katnook Winery was reborn. With nearly 40 years of winemaking experience at Katnook and in the Coonawarra region, Wayne says, “Winemaking here is an exciting challenge each year. Nothing is static. Seasons, knowledge, markets, innovations, equipment and oak – they’re forever evolving”. Read our interview with Wayne about his years at Katnook here.
With Wayne at the winemaking helm, Katnook boasts an extraordinary track record of excellence, having twice won the Jimmy Watson Trophy ( in 1987 and 1998) as well as a double trophy at the prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2003.
When describing his winemaking style, Wayne says “I aim to make wines which show subtlety, intrigue and complexity. Reflecting the essence of Coonawarra’s terroir is integral to my winemaking approach”. Wayne believes that “while Cabernet Sauvignon is the hero variety of the Coonawarra region, other red varietals are equally impressive. The white wines are similarly unique in character and world class in quality”.
In 2010, Riddoch’s historical ‘Woolshed’ was restored to its former glory and now features a micro winery for superior wine parcels and a basket press.
Katnook currently crushes around 2,000 tonnes of fruit annually, all of which is grown on the Estate.
At the pinnacle of the accolades and awards amassed over the years, Katnook boasts three positions in the prestigious Langton’s Classification VI of Australian Wines, explained here and below.
Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon
Prodigy Shiraz and
Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Katnook officially sits in the company of Penfolds (7), Wendouree (5), Henscke (3), Wynn’s (3), and Mount Mary (3) as one of only six Australian Wineries to have at least three wines listed in this Classification.
The following article in 'Decanter' by Tina Gellie (March 2016) explains the Langton's Classification in more detail.
1855 and Langton’s Classification: Two approaches
We all know about the Bordeaux 1855 Classification. Based on the market price of the wines 160 years ago, it has remained a fixed five-tier ranking ever since – apart from a few tweaks including châteaux Pichon, Léoville and Batailley splitting into two or more estates, the two Pougets becoming one, Dubignon disappearing and most famously Mouton Rothschild’s promotion in 1973.
Langton’s, on the other hand, is a much more fluid ranking of Australia’s ‘best–performing’ fine wines.
In a similar way to St-Emilion’s classification, Langton’s is reviewed every five years and wines can be added, deleted, promoted or demoted. Started in 1990, it’s a three-tier system: Exceptional, Outstanding and Excellent.
Wines are eligible based on their demand, reputation, quality and track record at auction, and only considered for ranking after a minimum of 10 vintages.
The current ranking (the sixth) was published in 2014, and includes 139 wines – more than double the number in the 1855 Classification, but probably representing just 20% of the production volume.'