The Coonawarra Vineyards

The Coonawarra Vineyards

The Coonawarra Estate is comprised of three vineyards – Winery Block, Glenroy Siding and Hamilton Block. The oldest vines are Cabernet Sauvignon planted by Sydney Hamilton in 1974. 

Renowned for its rich, terra rossa soil – red-brown loam topsoil laid over a thin layer of calcrete, sitting on top of a base of white limestone, Coonawarra has a predominately maritime climate, with dry and moderately cool summer days and cool to cold nights, similar to that of Bordeaux in France.

Since acquiring Leconfield in 1981, Dr Richard Hamilton has added to the original landholding and plantings. Majority of the vineyard is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, with smaller plantings of Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Franc. The total vineyard size now stands at 43.7 hectares/ 107.5 acres. 

The Coonawarra Estate is supervised by Bendt Rasmussen.

Bendt Rasmussen - Vineyard Manager

The Coonawarra Estate is carefully managed by Bendt Rasmussen. After nearly two decades of involvement in the wine industry, Bendt has gained through his hands on approach, invaluable experience in all facets of vineyard management and winery operations. Before joining Leconfield in 1990, Bendt has worked for some of Coonawarra’s biggest names – Mildara Blass (Jamiesons Run) and Rymill’s in the vineyards as well as the winery. Bendt also maintains the all the equipment used in the vineyard and winery.

The Coonawarra

Renowned for its rich, terra rossa soil, the Coonawarra is one of Australia’s great wine regions. The first vines were planted in 1891 as part of the ‘Penola Fruit Colony’ and the area quickly achieved recognition for its fine red wines. Following a downturn in the early part of the twentieth century, the region experienced resurgence in the late 1950’s as the demand for red table wines increased. Triumphantly revived as a premium wine growing region in the 1960s, Coonawarra is now home to more than 30 wine estates.

One hundred kilometres inland and only 30 kilometres long, the region has a predominately maritime climate, with dry and moderately cool summer days and cool to cold nights. Meteorological data shows a climate similar to that of Bordeaux in France, although the extensive cloud cover moderates the temperatures for the important ripening period. The mornings in vintage are typically misty.

Terra Rossa Gold

The soils in Coonawarra are predominantly terra rossa – rich red-brown loam topsoil laid over a thin layer of calcrete, sitting on top of a base of the region’s abundance of white limestone. Combined with the cool maritime climate, the soils make for excellent winemaking conditions. The abundance of terra rossa soil sets it apart from any other wine region in Australia.

Undoubtedly, Coonawarra produces Australia’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon. The concentrated fruit flavours cover the spectrum from blackcurrant to plum to red cherry to prunes, with a unique Coonawarra earthiness. The wines are renowned for their depth of fruit flavour, complexity, elegance, extraordinary length and their cellaring performance.

As well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra is renowned for its stylish Shiraz and Merlot. Riesling and Chardonnay are the two predominant white varieties, with the region producing some of the nation’s finest examples of these styles.