Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations is back for 2020. One of South Australia’s best regional wine-based festivals, it is the largest of its kind in the Limestone Coast, boasting a program of over 60 events across 5 weeks. The event is made possible by South Australian Tourism Commission through Events South Australia with funding made available through the Regional Events and Festival Program.
The month-long festival kicks off on Thursday 1st October with bespoke tastings and special events running throughout October. A highlight on the wine region’s event calendar, the month is designed to showcase and celebrate the Coonawarra wine region’s signature red wine: Cabernet Sauvignon.
With October offering up five weekends, organisers have themed each one to appeal to a wide variety of tastes.
The first weekend will see the Coonawarra Golf Day and Family Fiesta kick off the month-long festival, coinciding, with the October long weekend. The following weeks will see themes around blending wine, the region’s heritage and new release wines – ‘from barrel to glass’, wrapping up with a ‘showtime’ theme – on the weekend that would have played host to the Penola show.
Heidi Eldridge, Acting Executive Officer and Events & Marketing Manager of Coonawarra Vignerons said there will be plenty of opportunities for wine lovers, foodies and families alike to discover Coonawarra, whilst enjoying the world-class wines, country hospitality and sense of community.
“It is a great showcase and collaborative effort of our members with 24 of wineries hosting events or participating in combined regional events. Visitors to Coonawarra will enjoy a wide range of activities over the course of the month to ‘celebrate, educate and activate their senses’, including vertical tasting fights, chocolate and cheese wine pairing, make-your-own-blend activities, a golf day, dining experiences with winemakers, and live music and outdoor games on picturesque winery lawns”, Eldridge said.
One of the feature events in the calendar is the Regional Cabernet [Decade]nce Tasting and is a fantastic example of wineries co-presenting. “The Cabernet [Decade]nce Tasting will bringing together at least 15 producers and winemakers in one location to taste and compare 10 year old wines with current releases.’ Eldridge said.
The event, which is typically held on a Friday evening has been rescheduled to Saturday afternoon, 17th October, and is hoped to attract up to 100 cabernet-lovers in the spacious Raidis Estate Event shed, in a seated speed date style arrangement with winemakers and producers circulating the room to showcase their wines to each table of guests. Tickets are available online for only $35pp and must be purchased in advance.
The Coonawarra Golf Day also returns as a feature event in the October program and will kick off the first of five weekends of events. Presented by the Limestone Coast’s 96.1 SAFM and 963 Triple M, the Coonawarra Golf Day will host teams of four in a day of social but competitive Ambrose golf, at the picturesque Penola Golf Course.
“We have had a tremendous response to this year’s Golf Day with team registrations filling well in advance of the day.” Eldridge said. 26 Teams will be vying for a chance to wear the coveted perpetual ‘Red Jackets’, along with other prizes throughout the day.
Like many events and festivals scheduled in 2020, the Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations program of events has been affected by the circumstances surrounding COVID19.
“Our wineries have certainly had to consider the restrictions in place and adapt their offerings to ensure that capacity limits can be safely managed. Events that have typically drawn a large crowd, combining live music, drinking, and dancing unfortunately were among the first to be withdrawn. Despite this, the program is still as extensive as ever”. Eldridge said
There is great emphasis being placed around the intimacy and exclusivity of events, with bookings highly recommended to avoid disappointment.
Examples of wineries modifying their events to suit the current climate is evident throughout the program. “One of the much-loved events that sells out every October is the Balnaves of Coonawarra Sparkling Breakfast, a seated affair that attracted up to 100 people in their winery. This year, they (Balnaves of Coonawarra) are taking a more casual approach, serving up bacon and egg rolls from their Cellar Door for guests to grab and go, or enjoy on the lawns with their signature Sparkling Cabernet – a great way to start the day of touring in Coonawarra”.
Zema Estate is one of two wineries offering a Virtual Tasting Event, inviting attendees from all over Australia to meet owner Nick Zema and Winemaker Joe Corey, while tasting their wines. Pre-registration is essential for wine packs to be received in time for the online event on Friday 9th October.
A shuttle bus (hop on, hop off) will be operating from Penola, travelling the Coonawarra Strip on weekends in October (excluding Saturday 31st October), to help visitors travel between wineries affordably at $20pp per day, call 1800 861 190 to pre book.
For more information and to view the program of events, visit www.coonawarra.org.
With spring in full flight, there’s no better time to soak up Coonawarra.
Take the time to celebrate, educate + activate your senses from 1 to 31 October 2020.