"Coonawarra’s agricultural history began in the mid-1800s when settlers recognised the potential of the flat, fertile plains for sheep farming and fruit growing. Enterprising Scottish settler John Riddoch planted Coonawarra’s first grapevines in 1891, thirty years after establishing a lucrative sheep farm at Penola. Thanks to the work of pioneering work of people like David Wynn and Bill Redman today Coonawarra is, perhaps alongside Margaret River, Australia’s most famous cool-climate region for Cabernet Sauvignon.
The grape varietal has found a home in the terra rossa soils of Coonawarra, producing rich, firmly structured red wines that are renowned around the world... While not unique to the region, the terra rossa of Coonawarra is Australia's most famous soil. Vivid red in colour, it is either friable subplastic clay or a shallow friable loam derived from and lying on top of a bed of soft limestone.
The terra rossa strip is just one-kilometre-wide and runs for 12 kilometres northwest through Coonawarra. This tiny stretch of land is among the most valuable – and controversial – patches of earth in Australian wine. But rather than creating a climate of elitism this is a region where the production of world-class wines is woven into the community. Coonawarra is home to well-established names that have endured and continue to succeed alongside newer names that are reinvigorating the region. And while Cabernet holds the Coonawarra crown, there is a lot more to this classic region than first meets the eye." - Wine Australia
Map courtesy of Wine Australia