The geological development of the Coonawarra as a premium winegrowing region had its roots when the region was submerged by the waters of the Great Southern Ocean. Geological activity, coupled with variations in the polar ice caps, gradually raised the land, leaving a scattering of millions of fossils and artefacts.
Thousands of years of erosion then accumulated air-borne dust which has laid down the famous terra rossa soil. This is further enhanced by an underlying porous limestone layer which has an excellent capacity for storing water.
The region was first cultivated in 1891 by Scottish settler John Riddoch, who recognized the potential of the cool climate and rich red terra rossa soil to grow grapes of exceptional quality. The perfect marriage of red sandy loam over limestone is complemented by a long, cool growing season and makes Coonawarra one of the gems in the global red wine crown.
Cabernet Sauvignon is by far the most widely planted variety throughout the region, with more than 60 per cent of Coonawarra vines bearing this favoured red grape. At the inner sanctum of Coonawarra, on the prized terra rossa soil, lies Yalumba’s Coonawarra estate, The Menzies Vineyard. Comprised predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon vines, this single vineyard is committed to growing premium quality fruit reflecting distinctive varietal characters of the region.