Wynns Coonawarra Estate

Wynns Coonawarra Estate

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    Situated in the renowned Coonawarra wine region of South Australia, Wynns has become synonymous with premium wines, particularly its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. The estate's journey from humble beginnings to a globally recognized wine producer is a story of vision, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to excellence.

    A Historical Overview

    The origins of Wynns Coonawarra Estate trace back to 1891 when John Riddoch, a Scottish immigrant, planted the first vines on the Coonawarra terra rossa soil. Recognizing the region's unique potential, Riddoch invested in viticulture, and by 1896, he had established the Coonawarra Fruit Colony, which later became known as Wynns Coonawarra Estate.

    The name Wynns was derived from the property's subsequent owners, Samuel and David Wynn, who purchased the estate in 1951. The Wynn family revitalized the vineyard and cellar, laying the groundwork for what would become one of Australia's most celebrated wineries. Their dedication to quality and innovation set the stage for Wynns' rise to prominence.

    The Winemaking Process

    Wynns Coonawarra Estate is renowned for its meticulous winemaking process, which blends traditional techniques with modern innovation. The foundation of their success lies in the Coonawarra region's distinctive terroir, characterized by its terra rossa soil, a rich, red loam over limestone, and a cool climate ideal for growing premium grapes.


    The viticulture at Wynns is a careful balance of nurturing the vines and respecting the environment. The estate spans over 800 hectares, with a significant portion dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon, alongside Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, and other varietals. The vineyard practices sustainable agriculture, emphasizing minimal intervention, water conservation, and soil health to produce high-quality fruit.


    Harvesting at Wynns is both a science and an art. Grapes are picked at the peak of ripeness to ensure optimal flavor and tannin structure. The estate employs a combination of hand-picking and mechanical harvesting, depending on the grape variety and vineyard block. This approach allows for precise selection, ensuring that only the best fruit is used in winemaking.

    Winemaking Techniques

    In the winery, Wynns combines time-honored techniques with state-of-the-art technology. Fermentation occurs in both stainless steel tanks and traditional open fermenters, with meticulous temperature control to enhance the expression of varietal character. The use of French oak barrels for aging is a hallmark of Wynns' style, imparting complexity and subtlety to the wines.

    The estate's winemakers, led by the esteemed Sue Hodder, are dedicated to crafting wines that reflect the true essence of the Coonawarra region. Their expertise and passion are evident in every bottle, from the entry-level offerings to the flagship John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Sue Hodder Winemaker

    Sue Hodder stands as a towering figure in the Australian wine industry, celebrated for her pivotal role at Wynns Coonawarra Estate. As Chief Winemaker, her influence has been instrumental in propelling Wynns to the pinnacle of wine excellence. With a career marked by innovation, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to quality, Sue Hodder's legacy is deeply intertwined with the success of Wynns Coonawarra Estate.

    Early Career and Experience

    After completing her studies, Sue Hodder gained valuable experience working at various wineries in Australia and abroad. Her early career saw her taking on roles in the Clare Valley and the Hunter Valley, two of Australia's renowned wine regions. These experiences provided her with a diverse perspective on winemaking practices and regional styles.

    Sue's international experience includes a stint in France, where she further refined her winemaking skills and broadened her understanding of global winemaking techniques. This exposure to different terroirs and methods enriched her approach and informed her future work at Wynns Coonawarra Estate.

    Joining Wynns Coonawarra Estate

    In 1993, Sue Hodder joined Wynns Coonawarra Estate, marking the beginning of a transformative era for the winery. Initially appointed as a winemaker, she quickly demonstrated her talent, passion, and innovative spirit. Her ability to understand and harness the unique characteristics of the Coonawarra terroir set her apart.

    Sue's rise within the organization was swift, and in 1998, she was appointed Chief Winemaker. This role positioned her at the helm of one of Australia's most prestigious wineries, where she could fully implement her vision and expertise. Under her leadership, Wynns Coonawarra Estate has flourished, consistently producing wines of exceptional quality and distinction.

    Iconic Wines and Accolades

    Wynns Coonawarra Estate has garnered a reputation for producing some of Australia's finest wines, with a portfolio that includes several iconic labels. Among these, the Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon, John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon, and Michael Shiraz stand out as exemplars of the estate's prowess.

    Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon

    Introduced in 1954, the Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon has become a benchmark for Australian Cabernet. It is known for its consistency, elegance, and age-worthiness, often regarded as the quintessential expression of Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine has received numerous accolades over the decades, including high scores from leading wine critics and publications.

    John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon

    Named in honor of the estate's founder, the John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon represents the pinnacle of Wynns' winemaking. Produced only in exceptional vintages, this wine is crafted from the finest parcels of fruit, showcasing intense concentration, structure, and complexity. It has earned a place among the most coveted wines in Australia, with a track record of critical acclaim and prestigious awards.

    Michael Shiraz

    The Michael Shiraz, named after David Wynn's youngest son, is another standout in Wynns' portfolio. This wine exemplifies the depth and richness of Coonawarra Shiraz, with layers of dark fruit, spice, and velvety tannins. It, too, has received widespread recognition, cementing Wynns' reputation for excellence across multiple varietals.

    Awards and Recognition

    Wynns Coonawarra Estate's commitment to quality has been rewarded with numerous accolades both domestically and internationally. The estate has consistently received high scores from wine critics, including James Halliday, Robert Parker, and Wine Spectator. Its wines frequently feature in top wine lists and have earned gold medals and trophies at prestigious wine competitions.

    In addition to individual wine awards, Wynns has been recognized for its overall contribution to the wine industry. The estate has received accolades for its sustainable practices, innovation in winemaking, and excellence in viticulture. These honors underscore Wynns' role as a leader in Australian wine and its ongoing influence on the global stage.