During the month of July, Coonawarra wineries are inviting wine lovers to discover treasures from Coonawarra’s cellars with back vintage drops, and special museum release wines on offer for tasting during the 17th Annual Cellar Dwellers festival.
“It’s a very special time of the year when Coonawarra Cellar Doors bring out some truly outstanding wines to provide the public with some memorable tasting experiences that only occur in July.’’ Heidi Eldridge, Events and Marketing Officer at Coonawarra Vignerons said.
“Cellar Dwellers is a term that reflects both the exceptional cellaring abilities of Coonawarra wine (our red wines in particular) as well as the sense of discovery that visitors to the region’s cellar doors will experience.”
After what was a somewhat reduced program in 2020, the 17th edition of Cellar Dwellers features 21 wineries participating to showcase the breadth and depth of Coonawarra wines, with the warmth and hospitality that the region is renowned for.
According to Eldridge, the 2021 program sees the return of several popular food and wine events, alongside a range of unique cellar door tasting experiences. “We are excited to be able to deliver an expansive program this year, with everything from exclusive museum wine tastings to winemaker dinners, masterclasses, long lunches, high teas and even a campfire event to embrace the winter conditions – ideal for warming up with Coonawarra’s wines. Each of these events has been designed with a consistent theme – that is, to showcase Coonawarra’s superb wines and how beautifully they age over time.”
Several wineries will be offering food and wine combo’s on weekends at their cellar doors including DiGiorgio Family Wines serving Beef and Cabernet Pies, Brand’s Laira serving a rotating menu of hearty winter warmers and Rymill Coonawarra offering Pies and platters.
Parker Coonawarra will be hosting a series of cooking workshops with renowned local cooking extraordinaire Cindy Cross, who will guide attendees through the preparation of a lavish lunch paired with cellared wines, while over at Raidis Estate the tunes will be cranking with a Back Vintage Bar night and Pizza and Tunes afternoon featuring live music.
One of the feature events of the Cellar Dwellers program is a Regional Back Vintage Tasting event that involves 15 Coonawarra wine producers, pouring a range of wines cellared for up to 20 years. “This year is the first time that this event has been included in the Cellar Dwellers program, and the response from the public has already been tremendous.” Ms Eldridge said.
“For one night only, 15 producers will gather to pour a mix of red, white and sparkling wines that have been cellared for anywhere between 5 to 20 years. Typically, the first thing people think of when it comes to cellared wines is red wine, but this event will not only showcase Coonawarra’s signature varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz), it will also demonstrate how well whites like Coonawarra Riesling and Chardonnay can age as well – not to mention Sparkling reds!” commented Ms Eldridge.
Tickets for this event are available to book online, and a shuttle bus is being offered from Penola Township to the event at Hollick Estates. It is recommended the public book in fast, as this event is not far from selling out.
While the effect of COVID restrictions were felt in 2020, Coonawarra wineries are hoping that they will be able to welcome the return of Victorians to the festival, after border restrictions in 2020 prevented any Victorian attendance.
Coonawarra Executive Officer Ockert Le Roux said “Since the launch of the event program earlier this year, we have seen immense interest from Victorians vying to attend their favorite events and to come across to experience the month of Cellar Dwellers. We are all hoping that current restrictions will ease to allow them to return to our region both for July and beyond.”
Locals and visitors alike are encouraged to visit Coonawarra during July to taste for themselves why Coonawarra wines are renowned the world over for their outstanding quality, flavour and cellaring abilities.