Exclusive pre-release wines showcased

SE VOICE – Christian Fleetwood

The wineries of Coonawarra are preparing to showcase their latest wines at the final pre-weekend of the well-received Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations, the region’s largest wine-based festival.

Speaking to The SE Voice, Coonawarra Vigneron’s acting executive officer Heidi Eldridge said this week was all about future releases, with a few wineries exclusively showing their products and offering travellers the chance to pre-purchase unreleased wines. “We’re going barrel to glass, which means that winemakers are actually allowing people to taste wine that hasn’t yet been released,” Ms Eldridge said.

“Some of (the wineries) might be doing it directly from the barrel – others will pre-bottle a blank vessel and pour the wine at their cellar door, acknowledging that it’s not labelled and that it’s incomplete, as far as it’s still in the process of becoming the gift of the wine that it is.” Highbank Wines, which has not yet been involved in this year’s Cabernet Celebrations, will showcase over the weekend, while Bowen Estate, Brand’s Laira, Majella Wines, and Zema Estate, among others, will feature Cabernets in a barrel to glass format.


This Saturday and Sunday will highlight the last full weekend for Cabernet Celebrations, which has been a success over the course of October. It will also be the last chance for travellers to take advantage of the festival’s hop-on hop-off shuttle bus.

Tastings and events will, however, continue. Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations officially wraps on Saturday, October 31, with a full day of events from the likes of Katnook Estate, Raidis Estate, DiGiorgio Family Wines, Koonara Wines, Wynns Coonawarra and Patrick of Coonawarra, among others.

It will also see the anticipated hosting of Penley Estate’s intimate, six-course degustation dinner event, Penley Pours with Fodder Feast, which is hosted at Fodder Restaurant, Coonawarra. For the event, Penley Estate has partnered with Fodder and chef Paul Stone. For the first time in five years, each of the dinner’s six courses will be paired with wines exclusively from Penley Estate.

The news comes after last week’s return of the Regional Cabernet Decadence Event to Cabernet Celebrations, which showcased a whopping 30 local Cabernet Sauvignons from 14 local wineries.

Ms Eldridge revealed this year, for the first time ever, Regional Cabernet Decadence was hosted as a seated tasting, with winemakers, proprietors, cellar door representatives and viticulturists rotating among tables – an approach that was well received by the event’s nearly 60 attendees.

According to Ms Eldridge, most attendees were, by and large, all South Aussies, alongside a few interstate travellers from NSW and Queensland. She said the feedback from winemakers was also very positive with a seated format to be considered for the event going forward.

“Essentially each of the wineries, with the exception of Raidis Estate and Patrick of Coonawarra (which had four and three wines to showcase, respectively), had two wines to showcase,” Ms Eldridge told The SE Voice. “It was a perfect opportunity for people to come along to one event and taste over 30 wines in one location, with 10 to 20-year-old wines being tasted alongside the current release of that same Cabernet.”

Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations will continue over the course of this week.

Visit www.coonawarra.org/ccc-october-2020/ for more information on upcoming events.

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