Katnook Gala Nights at the Opera. March 2016
Katnook is proud to offer its customers an exclusive opportunity to meet the stars of Opera Australia's "Pearlfishers" as part of our annual VIP Gala Nights at the Opera series. In 2016, join us in Sydney on March 3rd or Melbourne on May 26th.
THe evening includes A reserve seating, a program, VIP interval drinks at which Katnook new releases will be served plus the post performance private meeting wiht the stars. See our events tab for more details and how to book. Places are strictly limited.
We're pleased to welcome assistant Katnook Winemaker, Dan McNicol to the team. We recently sat down and chatted to Dan to find out a little bit more about his background and winemaking philosophy.
Tell us about your winemaking background.
I graduated from the University of Adelaide class of 2018. Before and during my studies, I worked in the vineyard and winery at Wirra Wirra in McLaren Vale for around 7 years.
Initially, I was more interested in viticulture but decided to go into winemaking, so I have a deep appreciation for the vineyard/winery connection and letting the fruit speak for itself. I see the role of a winemaker as nurturing the wine along its way to bottle.
Watching the process of fruit progressing on the vine and the satisfaction of seeing it go through the winery is extremely rewarding. It’s great to have something to show for all the hard work.
How are you finding Coonawarra so far?
I hadn’t ever visited the Coonawarra wineries before arriving here in November 2018 to start my role as assistant winemaker. It was so dry when I arrived so I was pleased to see the recent rain. The wines here have so much potential and I love that this area feels like true countryside - relaxed and easy going.
The scenery is very different to what I’m used to from McLaren Vale, a lot flatter and vineyard architecture is different. There’s a lot of redevelopment, which is positive for the region, as growers work hard to improve regional grape quality.
Arriving in Coonawarra, I’m happy to be amongst a nice bunch of people, close to the beach and to nice fishing spots such as, Noracriena Beach - a sheltered bay near Robe. It’s wonderful to be close to beautiful scenery and have to say, am loving the crayfish!
And of course it'e been awesome working with Tim Heath, who with all his winemaking experience has made my first vintage here really interesting and exciting.
Vintage 2019 is over for another year. Here our vineyard and winery teams report on the season.
Chris Brodie - Senior Viticulturist, Katnook Coonawarra. South Australia.
This year was later than recent vintages and was more like the seasons we experienced in the 2000’s. Rainfall up to mid-December meant very little irrigation was needed on established vines.
The heatwave in late January was well forecast, so thankfully we were able to manage harvest accordingly.
Largely due to a light frost in November and unseasonal weather during flowering, crop loads were below average and 20% lower than 2018. We enjoyed a very good quality growing season, with our vines replanted in 2015 and 2016 doing well.
The whites showed good natural acidity and complex flavours at harvest. The reds had good, deep colours and great varietal characters.
Overall, 2019 has been a pleasing season and working with the new winery team went very smoothly indeed.
Tim Heath - Winemaker, Katnook Coonawarra. South Australia.
My first full vintage at Katnook was an exciting one, working closely with the vineyard team to maximise fruit potential across all varieties. Our wines certainly benefit from state of the art equipment, such as the stainless steel basket press. Some winemaking initiatives this vintage included:
Wild yeast fermentation on some White and Red batches;
Gravity feeding red fruit directly to fermenters to assist in production of lifted aromatics through some Carbonic Maceration and finer management of tannin profile through less front-end maceration;
Extended post ferment maceration on some Shiraz and Cabernet parcels;
Inclusion of whole bunch in some Shiraz ferments;
Use of high-quality French oak across all red varieties and chardonnay –to produce wines with greater oak balance, integration and complexity.
At this early stage, here is how each wine is shaping up so far.
Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir – elegant base wines thanks to focussing on front end handling to decrease phenolic pick up, including modification of press programs to Cremant cycles (Champagne press cycles).
Sauvignon Blanc – good acid balance. Should produce elegant wines with solid varietal character
Chardonnay – picked earlier than previous years to capture a fresher more citrus driven flavour profile. Looking strong.
Shiraz – fresh, elegant wines that showcase a “cooler climate” aroma and flavour profile.
Cabernet Sauvignon - lifted, fragrant cabernets produced from what should turn out to be a strong vintage.
Overall, I am anticipating some very strong 2019 wines in the bottle.
The 2019 Coonawarra Vignerons Cup was the setting to acknowledge the outstanding contributions made by Michelle Stehbens, Katnook’s Cellar Door Manager, to the Coonawarra Grape and Wine Incorporated (CGWI). Michelle was today inaugurated as a Patron of the Coonawarra Vignerons, along with Bruce Redman – an honour reserved for just seven individuals before them.
Pete Balnaves, President of the CGWI made the special presentation in front of 700 guests, saying: “The Vignerons have long felt the need to highlight outstanding contributions that individuals have made to the organisation and to Coonawarra over extended periods of time.
“Truly worthy of this accolade, Michelle epitomises a ‘can do’ attitude with little fuss and fan fair and demonstrating plenty of professionalism – a great ambassador for the Coonawarra Wine Region.”
In accepting the award, Michelle said: “I thank the CGWI for bestowing this honour upon me…a thank you must also go to Katnook Coonawarra, my employer for nearly 25 years, who supported my work for the Vignerons over this time.
“Coonawarra has been my home for over 37 years and I hope that both Wayne and I have contributed in some small way to the betterment of the Vignerons community and to the Coonawarra & Penola region. This recognition of that service is very much appreciated.”
This honour comes soon after another accolade, when Michelle was a finalist for the Cellar Door Manager of the Year award at the 2018 Australian Women in Wine Awards.
Michelle’s involvement with the CGWI started in March 1994, when she began as Katnook’s Cellar Door Manager. She has held many voluntary positions since then, including:
Coonawarra Vignerons Association (CVA) President 2008 – 2010;
CVA Vice President 2006 – 2008 & 2015 – 2018;
CVA and CGWI Board Member;
CVA and CGWI Committees
Cellar Door Events Committee – Chair & Committee member
Coonawarra Roadshow – Chair & Committee member
Penola District Business and Tourism Association Representative
Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival Representative.
Everyone at Katnook Coonawarra extends heartfelt congratulations to Michelle - an honour so richly deserved.