March 19, 2003
Unlike the more accessible Barossa Valley, the Coonawarra region lies midway between Adelaide and Melbourne, in an area with few notable tourist attractions. This "inconvenient" location is a boon to wine tasters. Cellar doors are seldom host to large crowds of tourists jostling for their next drink and, as a result, service is usually personal and attentive. Just recently, I visited Ladbrooke Grove with a few friends and we found ourselves having a very enjoyable chat with the owner's wife. We had driven up for the weekend to go caving at the Naracoorte Caves and drove through Coonawarra on the way home, but local wine lovers are known to make the prilgrimage to purchase their favorite wines by the case.
The best way to see this, and any other wine region, for that matter, is with a bunch of wine loving friends, a comfy car, and a well-stocked picnic basket (sans wine). Many wineries maintain beautiful grounds and are quite happy for you to lay down a blanket and enjoy the scenery. You can even buy a bottle of wine to go with your next meal!
Driving Instructions from Adelaide:
1. Along the Duke's Highway towards Keith. Wineries are located between Padthaway and Penola.
2. Take the scenic route on the Prince's Highway to Kingston and Robe and sample some local seafood before turning into Penola.
Maps are avilable from the Adelaide Tourist Office, or ask for information at the first winery you visit. The SA Limestone Coast guide is also useful if you are car touring.
Premier Stateliner (tel 08/8415 5555) stops daily at Penola and Naracoorte on its Adelaide to Mount Gambier inland service.
Recommended wineries/ wines:
Wynn's of Coonawarra has some very good Cabernet Sauvignon.
I also like the sparkling Cab Suav at Ladbrooke Grove.
From journal An Asian Twist to Adelaide