All wine regions like to think they are unique. The truth is mostly they are, but some are more unique than others. Some just have that certain ”Je ne sais quoi”. One of these regions that has this more than some of the others, is a place in the south east of South Australia, in an area called the Limestone Coast. The place with all this ”Je ne sais quoi”is Coonawarra.Coonawarra is an Aboriginal word meaning “Honeysuckle”. It is about 380 km southeast of Adelaide, close to the border with Victoria. Often called Australia’s “other red centre”, its premium red wines have won many awards. What makes this area so special is one of the most famous terroirs in the southern hemisphere. It is the combination of a thin layer of unique rich, red top soil (‘terra rossa’ or ‘red earth’) over an ancient limestone mantle encasing a pure, underground aquifer. Add to that a long, cool ripening season for the grapes and you have the makings of a hard-won reputation as one of the world’s finest wine regions, especially for red wines and, in particular, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The cigar-shaped strip of ‘terra rossa’ is finite, approximately 12km long and 2km wide, and is all but taken up by vineyards. More than 24 Coonawarra wineries have cellar doors for your enjoyment.
As Coonawarra is relatively far from a major city there is not the highly developed tourist infrastructure found in say Barossa Valley or the Hunter Valley. Nevertheless there is a good selection of accommodation (see future story), places to eat and welcoming ‘Cellar Doors’ from where you can taste, buy the wine and/or other produce.
Travel Article submitted by Kiwi and Koala.