37° 31’ S


140° 51’ E




about this subregion

The Coonawarra wine subregion, nestled in the Limestone Coast of South Australia, is a jewel in the crown of the Australian wine industry. Renowned for its unique terroir, Coonawarra benefits from a rare combination of rich terra rossa soils and limestone soils, creating an ideal environment for viticulture. This fertile ground, coupled with a cool maritime climate influenced by the nearby Southern Ocean, provides perfect conditions for growing high-quality grape varieties.

The region is best known for producing exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, which has become synonymous with Coonawarra's identity. This variety thrives in the terra rossa soil, producing wines of great depth and longevity. Alongside Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra is also home to other prominent grape varieties such as Shiraz, Merlot, and Chardonnay. Shiraz offers versatility and complexity, while Merlot contributes to the region's reputation for producing smooth, rich reds. Chardonnay, the primary white variety, benefits from the cool climate, yielding wines with finesse and acidity.

Despite challenges, including a significant dip in grape production in 2022, Coonawarra's wines remain in high demand for their quality and distinctive character. The combination of its celebrated terra rossa soil, maritime climate, and skilled winemaking continues to place Coonawarra at the forefront of Australian wine production, with its wines celebrated both domestically and on the international stage​​​​.


vinerra illustration

Vineyard Hectares





Discover Terroir

The Coonawarra wine region, nestled in the Limestone Coast of South Australia, has long stood as a beacon of quality in the Australian wine industry. Despite experiencing a 28% decrease in grape production in 2022, as reported by the SA Winegrape Crush Survey, the region's wines continue to be highly sought after, a testament to their enduring quality and the area's reputation.

Situated in a remote, rural part of South Australia, the Coonawarra is defined by its striking landscape, which plays a crucial role in the character and quality of its wines. The region's most famous feature is its terra rossa soil, a thin strip of rich, red earth that sits atop a deep layer of limestone. This unique soil composition, combined with the area's cool, maritime climate, contributes significantly to the distinctiveness of Coonawarra wines.

The landscape of Coonawarra is relatively flat, with vineyards stretching across the horizon, punctuated by the occasional rise of gentle slopes. This topography allows for consistent vine growth and grape maturation, benefiting from the cooling breezes off the nearby Southern Ocean. These breezes mitigate the summer heat and contribute to the significant diurnal temperature variation, a key factor in the slow and even ripening of grapes, which is critical for developing the complexity and balance Coonawarra wines are known for.

Beyond the vineyards, the region is surrounded by a natural mosaic of agricultural land, with pockets of untouched native vegetation that provide a habitat for local wildlife. The Coonawarra's remote setting, away from large urban centers, has helped preserve its natural beauty and agricultural heritage, making it not only a significant wine-producing area but also a place of serene, rural charm.

Despite the challenges of fluctuating grape production, the Coonawarra wine region remains a jewel in the crown of South Australia. Its unique landscape, characterized by the iconic terra rossa soil, cool maritime climate, and pristine natural environment, continues to foster the production of high-quality wines that are celebrated both domestically and internationally.

The climate of the Coonawarra wine subregion, positioned within the Limestone Coast zone of South Australia, is notably influenced by its proximity to the sea, which imparts a maritime character to the area. This climatic influence is crucial in defining the unique terroir of Coonawarra, making it particularly suited for producing its renowned Cabernet Sauvignon, along with other varietals like Shiraz, Merlot, and Chardonnay. The maritime climate is characterized by cooler summer temperatures and significant diurnal temperature variations, which are beneficial for the slow and even ripening of grapes. This results in wines that are well-balanced, with refined flavors and the potential for aging.

The region experiences a growing season from October to April, with rainfall predominantly occurring outside of these months, ensuring a relatively dry climate for grape growing. The annual average precipitation is around 230mm, highlighting the relatively dry nature of the region, which helps reduce the risk of vine diseases. The temperature regulation provided by the nearby ocean currents, particularly the upwelling of cold currents at certain times of the year, further contributes to the distinct climatic conditions that favor viticulture in Coonawarra.

These climatic factors, combined with the iconic terra rossa soil of Coonawarra, contribute to the high quality of the wines produced in the region. Despite a reduction in grape production in recent years, the unique combination of soil and climate ensures that Coonawarra wines remain highly sought after, both in Australia and internationally.

The Coonawarra wine subregion, renowned for its exceptional wines, owes much of its viticultural success to the distinctive soil types that characterize its landscape. The most prominent soils in this region are the terra rossa and limestone soils, each contributing unique qualities that influence the growth of grapevines and the characteristics of the wine produced.

  1. Terra Rossa: Terra rossa soil is the most iconic and celebrated soil type in Coonawarra. It is a rich, red-colored soil that sits atop a limestone base, creating a striking visual contrast against the green vineyards. This soil type is highly prized for its excellent drainage properties and its ability to retain moisture during dry periods. Terra rossa is rich in nutrients and has a high iron-oxide content, which contributes to the vigor and health of the vineyards. The wines produced from grapes grown in terra rossa soil are often noted for their depth, complexity, and ability to age gracefully.
  2. Limestone Soils: Lying beneath the terra rossa is a layer of limestone, which forms the foundation of Coonawarra's unique terroir. Limestone soils are alkaline in nature and provide excellent drainage, which is crucial for the health of grapevines, encouraging deep root systems and contributing to the mineral qualities in the wine. These soils also have a moderating effect on the vineyard's microclimate, reflecting sunlight and retaining heat, which aids in the ripening of grapes. Wines from vines grown in limestone soils are typically characterized by their elegance, refined acidity, and mineral notes.

These soil types, in conjunction with the region's maritime climate, create the perfect conditions for producing Coonawarra's world-renowned wines. The interaction between the terra rossa and limestone soils contributes significantly to the terroir of Coonawarra, influencing not only the growth and health of the grapevines but also the sensory profiles of the wines, making them distinct and highly sought-after by wine enthusiasts around the globe.


The Coonawarra wine subregion, famed for its unique terra rossa soil atop limestone, offers an ideal environment for viticulture within the Limestone Coast of South Australia. This specific soil and climate combination has proven to be particularly conducive to the cultivation of certain grape varieties. Here, we delve into the most common grapes of the Coonawarra wine subregion, focusing on their agricultural and climatic requirements.

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabernet Sauvignon thrives in Coonawarra's terra rossa soil, benefiting from the region's maritime climate. This variety requires a well-draining soil to prevent root diseases and prefers the moderate temperatures of Coonawarra to slowly develop complexity and tannins. The cool, dry summers and mild, wet winters provide an extended ripening period, crucial for achieving the balance of acidity and sugar that Cabernet Sauvignon grapes need.
  2. Shiraz: Initially the most widely planted grape in Coonawarra, Shiraz requires a slightly warmer climate to fully ripen compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. It performs well in the region's terra rossa soils, where the limestone underneath provides excellent drainage, reducing the risk of waterlogging. Shiraz grapes benefit from Coonawarra's cool nights, which are vital for maintaining acidity and developing a balanced grape.
  3. Merlot: Merlot finds a favorable setting in Coonawarra as well, with the region's climate ensuring a consistent ripening season. This variety demands fertile, well-drained soils, making the terra rossa ideal for preventing excessive vigor while ensuring sufficient moisture retention. Merlot's early ripening characteristic is well-suited to the cooler growing season in Coonawarra, avoiding the risks of late-season rain.
  4. Chardonnay: Although Coonawarra is predominantly known for its red wines, Chardonnay is the most popular white wine grape grown in the region. It flourishes in the cooler microclimates found within Coonawarra, with the maritime influence providing a consistent temperature throughout the growing season. Chardonnay requires good water management, achieved through the well-draining limestone soils, to control vigor and concentrate flavors in the grapes.

These grape varieties, each with their specific agricultural and climatic needs, epitomize the adaptability and diversity of Coonawarra's viticultural landscape. The unique combination of terra rossa soil, limestone bedrock, and maritime climate creates an unparalleled terroir that is reflected in the quality and character of the wines produced in this celebrated South Australian wine subregion.

The Coonawarra wine subregion, nestled in the Limestone Coast zone of South Australia, is globally celebrated for its premium wines, thanks to its distinct terra rossa soil and maritime climate. This subregion specializes in producing wines that are not only expressive of their varietal characteristics but also reflective of their unique terroir. Among the most common wines produced here are Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay, each with its own distinctive aromatic and flavor profile.

  1. Shiraz: Coonawarra Shiraz is recognized for its cooler-climate expression, offering a complex aromatic profile that includes dark fruits like blackberry and plum, complemented by peppery spices and sometimes a hint of mint. On the palate, these wines exhibit a savory quality, with layers of fruit, spice, and herbal notes, underpinned by fine tannins and a lingering finish. The cooler climate of Coonawarra adds a unique dimension to the Shiraz, making it distinct from those produced in warmer Australian regions.
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon: The flagship wine of Coonawarra, Cabernet Sauvignon from this region is famed for its deep, rich color and a complex bouquet of blackcurrant, mulberry, and eucalyptus. On the palate, these wines are robust and full-bodied, showcasing flavors of dark berries, chocolate, and mint, supported by firm tannins and a long, elegant finish. The interaction of the terra rossa soil and the maritime climate allows these wines to achieve a balance between intensity and elegance, making them highly age-worthy.
  3. Merlot: Coonawarra Merlot is appreciated for its softer, more approachable profile, with aromatic notes of ripe plums, red berries, and subtle hints of spice and cedar. In the mouth, it presents a silky texture, medium body, and flavors that echo its aromatic profile, with added nuances of menthol and sometimes chocolate. The Merlot from Coonawarra is known for its balance, showcasing the varietal's characteristic plushness without sacrificing complexity or depth.
  4. Chardonnay: Although Coonawarra is predominantly recognized for its red wines, its Chardonnay is noteworthy for its elegance and restraint. Aromatic profiles often include white peach, citrus, and melon, with a delicate overlay of vanilla and toasted oak derived from barrel aging. On the palate, these wines are medium-bodied, with a crisp acidity that balances the fruit flavors and contributes to a clean, refreshing finish. The Chardonnay from Coonawarra reflects the cooler aspects of the region's climate, producing wines that are both nuanced and vibrant.

Each of these wines embodies the essence of Coonawarra's terroir, showcasing the distinctive characteristics that the combination of soil, climate, and viticultural practices impart to the grapes. The region's ability to produce wines of such diverse yet distinct profiles speaks to its versatility and the skill of its winemakers, making Connawarra a paradise for wine lovers.