News & Media

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The Wingara Wine Scribe

International Awards Haul

The Wingara Wine Group has garnered the following awards across all its brands on the world stage recently.


Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 has won an international gold medal and Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 won silver at the 2019 Global Cabernet Masters Wine Competition. This is one of the most respected wine competitions in the world, attracting submissions from over 20 countries.

Wines were assessed exclusively by style and price, with the judging panel composed entirely of Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and senior buyers in the United Kingdom.

We are thrilled that these Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignons stand tall on the world stage.

This is the only wine competition aimed solely at the on-trade. Judged blind by a panel of top leading sommeliers and on-trade buyers, the competition rewards the best wines available to restaurants, bars and hotels in the UK and beyond. Wingara Wine Group was delighted with the following awards, announced last month:

Deakin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Katnook Founder's Block Shiraz 2016
La La Land Pinot Noir 2018

Deakin Estate Viognier 2018
Deakin Estate Chardonnay 2018
Katnook Founder's Block Chardonnay 2017.

Time Posted: 03/07/2019 at 8:42 AM
The Wingara Wine Scribe

New Release Reds For Winter

With winter upon us, the Wingara Wine Group announced three new release red wines across distinct price points, designed to suit every budget. Each brand proudly supports a leading Australian Arts and Cultural Organisation, as explained under each wine below. It’s our way of ‘giving back’.

Deakin Estate 2018 Shiraz. RRP $10. Distributed by Red+White. Tel. 1300 780 074
Deakin Estate proudly partners with the Australian Centre of Moving Images (ACMI) Melbourne.

100% Shiraz from Red Cliffs near Mildura in the Murray Darling district of Victoria.

Wine Specifications:      
Alc/Vol: 13.5% pH: 3.49
Acidity: 5.8g/l RS: <2.0g/L

Vinification: Fermented in sweeping arm Potter fermenters with twice daily pump overs for optimal colour and tannin extraction. Pressing and malolactic fermentation were followed by clarification and maturation of some parcels aged in French and American oak.

Cellaring Potential: Enjoy now or over the coming two years.

La La Land Tempranillo 2017. RRP $18. Distributed by Red+White. Tel. 1300 780 074
La La Land is the official wine partner for ‘West Side Story’ 2019, showing around Australia.

100% Tempranillo from Mildura in the Murray Darling district Victoria.

Wine Specifications:
Alc: 14.5% pH: 3.54
Acidity: 4.9g/L RS: <2.0g/L                                                                                                    

Vinification: Garnacha fruit was cold soaked for three days before fermentation, then macerated on skins for 10 days post ferment to maximise flavour and tannin extraction. Malolactic fermentation and time in tank and American oak followed, to add roundness and showcase the vibrant fruit.

Cellaring Potential: Drink now or cellar for up to three years.

Katnook Estate 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon. RRP $40. Distributed by Fesq. Tel. 1300 763 377.
Since 2010, Katnook Coonawarra has been the official wine for Opera Australia.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Katnook’s Coonawarra Vineyards, South Australia.

Listed in the ‘Excellent’ Category of Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine V11, in which this wine is described as ‘ intense blackcurrant and mulberry aromas, generous pure fruit flavours, fine-grained but vigorous tannins, and underlying mocha notes are typical of the style.’

Wine Specifications:     
pH: 3.30              Acidity: 6.6 g/L
RS: <2.5g/L         Alc/vol: 14.0%

Vintage: Coonawarra's 2016 vintage was an early one. Slightly above average temperatures, dry conditions and cool nights throughout the growing season produced outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon fruit with intense colour, powerful flavours and excellent regional expression.

Oak Maturation: Thirty percent of the final blend spent an average of 17 months maturing in predominantly older French oak, adding complexity and suppleness.

Cellaring Potential: Perfect now if decanted and served with full flavoured cuisine, or cellar for up to 10 years.

Time Posted: 19/06/2019 at 1:31 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
29 April 2019 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

Vintage Report for 2019

Vintage 2019 is over for another year. Here our vineyard and winery teams report on the season.

Chris Brodie - Senior Viticulturist, Katnook Coonawarra. South Australia.

This year was later than recent vintages and was more like the seasons we experienced in the 2000’s. Rainfall up to mid-December meant very little irrigation was needed on established vines.

The heatwave in late January was well forecast, so thankfully we were able to manage harvest accordingly.

Largely due to a light frost in November and unseasonal weather during flowering, crop loads were below average and 20% lower than 2018. We enjoyed a very good quality growing season, with our vines replanted in 2015 and 2016 doing well.

The whites showed good natural acidity and complex flavours at harvest. The reds had good, deep colours and great varietal characters.

Overall, 2019 has been a pleasing season and working with the new winery team went very smoothly indeed.

Tim Heath - Winemaker, Katnook Coonawarra. South Australia.
My first full vintage at Katnook was an exciting one, working closely with the vineyard team to maximise fruit potential across all varieties. Our wines certainly benefit from state of the art equipment, such as the stainless steel basket press. Some winemaking initiatives this vintage included:

  • Wild yeast fermentation on some White and Red batches;
  • Gravity feeding red fruit directly to fermenters to assist in production of lifted aromatics through some Carbonic Maceration and finer management of tannin profile through less front-end maceration;
  • Extended post ferment maceration on some Shiraz and Cabernet parcels;
  • Inclusion of whole bunch in some Shiraz ferments;
  • Use of high-quality French oak across all red varieties and chardonnay –to produce wines with greater oak balance, integration and complexity.

At this early stage, here is how each wine is shaping up so far.

Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir – elegant base wines thanks to focussing on front end handling to decrease phenolic pick up, including modification of press programs to Cremant cycles (Champagne press cycles).

Sauvignon Blanc – good acid balance. Should produce elegant wines with solid varietal character

Chardonnay – picked earlier than previous years to capture a fresher more citrus driven flavour profile. Looking strong.

Shiraz – fresh, elegant wines that showcase a “cooler climate” aroma and flavour profile.

Cabernet Sauvignon - lifted, fragrant cabernets produced from what should turn out to be a strong vintage.

Overall, I am anticipating some very strong 2019 wines in the bottle.

Craig Thornton – Viticulturist, Deakin Estate. Murray Darling Victoria.

Just like 2018, the conditions leading up to and during the 2019 vintage were very dry and hot. We only had 23 mm of spring rainfall and 50mm of summer rainfall in mid-December, so we really relied on irrigation additions all season. Overall, fruit quality was in excellent condition and yields were closer to average, whereas last year’s yields were high.

The 2019 harvest started really well, picking ripe white varieties at their optimum in late January. Some early reds were also harvested in optimal conditions before a break of approximately 10 days when there was a lull in fruit maturity. This was followed by a period of rapid maturity of all reds and remaining white varieties. We harvested 2 500 tonnes or approximately 60% of our total intake over three super busy weeks.

We spent a considerable amount of time thinning the Malbec yield, as this variety has high yield potential. This was successful, and we have gained some strategies for yield control in following season. We are seeing terrific flavours across the board and excellent colour in the reds and I would call the vintage a very good season.

Frank Newman - Winemaker Deakin Estate, La La Land, Azahara. Murray Darlin Victoria.

The 2018 Winter/Spring rainfall was meagre, with only small infrequent falls of rain between September and December. A significant fall in November coincided with fruit set which I believe, reduced the 2019 crop levels. Across our region, crop levels were down 13% on 2018 and down nearly 15% for the 5-year average.

Harvest started and finished early, largely due to three hot spells came along in late January, mid-February and early March. Well managed irrigation ensured that the vines did not suffer too much and that quality was maintained. These temperature events lead to irregular ripening patterns, which made harvesting a stop-go process. As cooler weather arrived, ripening resumed returned to normal, placing pressure on the winery to cope with successive days of high crush tonnages.

Standout varieties quality wise this year are Chardonnay, Malbec, Tempranillo, Viognier and Pinot Gris. The white varieties tended to express complex, rich palates. Red varieties show excellent depth of colour with soft persistent tannins that will hold up well in the final wines.

I consider the quality rating for 2019 to be good to excellent given that the vintage required more winemaker intervention than normal.







Time Posted: 29/04/2019 at 1:41 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
28 February 2019 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

West Side Story Chooses La La Land

La La Land has been selected as the official wine for the iconic dance musical West Side Story, which will be performed in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra in 2019. Director Joey McKneely’s vibrant new staging will feature some of Australia’s most exciting young talent performing Jerome Robbins’ original ground-breaking choreography.

La La Land is an eclectic collection of new generation, estate grown wines, crafted from less common grape varieties which thrive in the warm clime of north west Victoria. Like West Side Story, these wines are a breath of fresh air and ooze creative flair.

La La Land wines will be served at official West Side Story events, such as opening nights. Further, a Gala night will be hosted by La La Land in both Melbourne and Sydney for VIP customers. Guests will be treated to VIP seating, private pre and interval drinks and the chance to meet some of the stars after the show.

Time Posted: 28/02/2019 at 1:17 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
22 January 2019 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

Vintage begins. Deakin Estate winemaker celebrates 50 years

Today marks both our first day of the 2019 vintage at Deakin Estate AND winemaker Frank Newman's 50th vintage. As Frank crushed Murray Darling Chardonnay for our sparkling wine base today, he's remembering his first vintage at Penfolds Magill back in January 1969. He quips, " My first vintage was crushing Riverland Sultana.I had to fork it off the semi into an old (even then) Whitehill beater crusher. Boy was I fit by the end of that vintage."

Frank went on to become Senior White, then Red Winemaker at Penfolds, working alongside Max Schubert in the creation of Grange. Frank was then Chief Winemaker and Production Manager at Angoves for more than a decade and also made wine for BRL Hardy's Renmano.

Frank's experience in small and large wineries has consolidated his expertise in crafting wines across most styles and price points. He joined Deakin Estate in 2014, after decades of rich winemaking experience. 

Frank says of his approach to winemaking, "My aim is always perfection and my football team's motto is something that has been the driving influence over my years as a winemaker. 'Nil satis nisi optimum' – not satisfied with less than the best.'

Congratulations Frank on a remarkable winemaking career, from everyone at Deakin Estate.

Time Posted: 22/01/2019 at 3:15 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
21 January 2019 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

Michelle Stehbens becomes a Patron of the Coonawarra Vignerons

The 2019 Coonawarra Vignerons Cup was the setting to acknowledge the outstanding contributions made by Michelle Stehbens, Katnook’s Cellar Door Manager, to the Coonawarra Grape and Wine Incorporated (CGWI). Michelle was  inaugurated as a Patron of the Coonawarra Vignerons, along with Bruce Redman – an honour reserved for just seven individuals before them.

Pete Balnaves, President of the CGWI made the special presentation in front of 700 guests, saying: “The Vignerons have long felt the need to highlight outstanding contributions that individuals have made to the organisation and to Coonawarra over extended periods of time.

“Truly worthy of this accolade, Michelle epitomises a ‘can do’ attitude with little fuss and fan fair and demonstrating plenty of professionalism – a great ambassador for the Coonawarra Wine Region.”

In accepting the award, Michelle said: “I thank the CGWI for bestowing this honour upon me…a thank you must also go to Katnook Coonawarra, my employer for nearly 25 years, who supported my work for the Vignerons over this time.

“Coonawarra has been my home for over 37 years and I hope that both Wayne and I have contributed in some small way to the betterment of the Vignerons community and to the Coonawarra & Penola region. This recognition of that service is very much appreciated.”

This honour comes soon after another accolade, when Michelle was a finalist for the Cellar Door Manager of the Year award at the 2018 Australian Women in Wine Awards.

Michelle’s involvement with the CGWI started in March 1994, when she began as Katnook’s Cellar Door Manager. She has held many voluntary positions since then, including:

Coonawarra Vignerons Association (CVA) President 2008 – 2010;
CVA Vice President 2006 – 2008 & 2015 – 2018;
CVA Treasurer;
CVA and CGWI Board Member;
CVA and CGWI Committees

Cellar Door Events Committee – Chair & Committee member
Coonawarra Roadshow – Chair & Committee member
Marketing Committee
Penola District Business and Tourism Association Representative
Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival Representative.

Everyone at Katnook Coonawarra extends heartfelt congratulations to Michelle - an honour so richly deserved.

Time Posted: 21/01/2019 at 9:51 AM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
19 December 2018 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

La La Land revamped labels released.

La La Land, known for its creative wine syles and labels, has released new livery for its Malbec and Tempranillo.  

Based on Josh O'Meara's orginal concepts, Trish Dunstone at Design Energy has revamped the labels to tie in seamlessly with the rest of the range. Check out the full range of wines here.

Time Posted: 19/12/2018 at 3:31 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
23 October 2018 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

International Awards Haul for Wingara

The Wingara Wine Group has enjoyed a record haul of international medals at recent wine shows. Across all brands and price points, our Coonawarra and Mildura wines have fared well in the face of increasing international competition.

Here are our latest results.

Japan International Wine Challenge 2018.

From a total of 1700 wines entered, 11 wines received an International Trophy award, 39 Regional Trophy awards, 19 Platinum Gold medals, 120 Gold medals, 426 Silver medals, and 797 received Bronze medals.

Katnook Estate Shiraz 2015, Katnook Estate Chardonnay 2016.

Katnook Estate Riesling 2015, Katnook Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Deakin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Deakin Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Crackerjack Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Azahara Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut NV, Azahara Moscato NV, Azahara Sparkling Shiraz NV, La La Land Garnacha 2017, La La Land Rosé 2017, Crackerjack Chardonnay 2017, Crackerjack Shiraz 2017, Lonsdale Ridge Shiraz 2015, Lonsdale Ridge Chardonnay 2015.

2018 Decanter Asia Wine Awards.

Katnook Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (93 points), Azahara Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV (91 points), Katnook Founders Block Shiraz 2016 (90 points).

Deakin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Deakin Estate Shiraz 2017, Katnook Founders Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Katnook Estate Shiraz 2015.

UK International Wine & Spirits Competition 2018

Katnook Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon 2013,Gold

Deakin Estate Shiraz 2017, Katnook Founder's Block Shiraz 2016, Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Katnook Founder's Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.

Katnook Estate Chardonnay 2017, Deakin Estate Artisan's Blend Shiraz Viognier 2017, Azahara Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV. 

Time Posted: 23/10/2018 at 3:18 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
20 September 2018 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

Langton's V11 Classification released

The Langton’s VII Classification was released on September 1st 2018 and Katnook Coonawarra is delighted that again, the following wines are included in just 136 of Australia's finest.  The wines are:

Katnook Odyssey - Outstanding Category and
Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon - Excellent Category.

The inaugural Classification, in 1990, included just 34 wines. Classifications II, III and IV followed at approximately five-year intervals, tracking the leading wines, and documenting the dramatic growth and increasing maturity of the Australian fine wine scene.

Almost three decades on from its inception, the Classification's authority is firmly entrenched aorund the world.

The seventh edition – unveiled on 1 September 2018 – features 136 wines and incorporates a number of important changes and additions. In its early years the Classification successfully strengthened the fledgling market for fine Australian wine. It is now arguably the most famous and widely-respected wine Classification outside Europe.

The two basic requirements for inclusion in the Classification are that a wine has been made for a minimum of 10 vintages and that it has a track record in the secondary market.

Eligibility rests on how well a wine performs in an open market – the volume of demand it attracts and the prices it realises. Ultimately, the reputation of a wine is based on its auction pedigree – the record it builds up, over time.

Revised every five years, the Classification documents an evolving Australian winemaking culture at the forefront of innovation and excellence in the world of fine wine. It also reflects a continuing momentum towards single vineyard wines and regional identity. It maintains a strong emphasis on red wines, particularly labels renowned for cellaring potential.

The Classification is market-driven, and the market shifts and changes over time. While a number of wines have moved within categories, all wines from Classification V have been retained in Classification VI, underlining the maturity and stability of the market.

The Classification is aimed at anyone with an interest in fine wine. Many will be connoisseurs and collectors, and the Classification inevitably includes wines that are popular with investors. While some classified wines have increased in value over time, Langton’s advice is to beware of investing in wine for financial profit without a full understanding of the pitfalls.

As a reflection of market sentiment captured on a regular, moving basis, the Classification does not and cannot aim to be absolute or definitive; the market is always in flux.

The authority of the Classification derives from its independence; the fundamental criteria for inclusion are objective and market-driven.

Time Posted: 20/09/2018 at 4:45 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
6 August 2018 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

Halliday 'Wine Companion' reviews for our Mildura Wines

Every year, the wine world awaits the publication of James Halliday's influential 'Wine Companion'.  The 2019 edition was released last week and Wingara Wine Group is pleased to announce that its Mildura brands have collectively been rated 3.5 stars.  This is defined by Halliday as " a solid, reliable maker of good, sometimes very good wines." 

Given the competitive price points for Deakin Estate, La La Land and Azahara wines -  this  result is pleasing. Check here for all the reviews.

Time Posted: 06/08/2018 at 3:44 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
1 August 2018 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

Henkell and Freixenet join forces. Antitrust approval obtained.

Henkell, the Oetker Group’s sparkling wine, wine and spirits branch, today announced the closing of its acquisition of Freixenet S.A.’s shares (50,67%) from the Hevia and Bonet families, following the approval of the European Commission.  In 2008, Freixenet S.A purchased the WIngara Wine Group, which in turn owns Katnook Coonawarra and Deakin Estate Wines.

The Spanish-German cooperation creates the world’s leading sparkling wine group, allowing Henkell and Freixenet to access new markets and distribution channels, enabling them to achieve sustainable growth.  The first round of consolidation will take place in Europe and the United States.  Therefore it is 'business as usual' in Australia for the immediate future.

Freixenet is the number one brand in the international sparkling wine market with leading market positions and sales in more than 100 countries. The Henkell Group has a wide portfolio of sparkling wines, with market leading positions in many markets, including Mionetto as the best-selling Prosecco globally.

Following a capital increase by Freixenet’s honorary president, José Ferrer Sala, he and José Luis Bonet will own 50% of Freixenet S.A.’s share capital – while Henkell will own the other 50%.

The new board of directors of Freixenet will be led by the two co-presidents José Luis Bonet and Dr. Albert Christmann, general partner of Dr. August Oetker KG. Further members will include Demetrio Carceller Arce, president of S.A. Damm, who will contribute his expertise in the beverage industry, as well as Pedro Ferrer and Dr. Andreas Brokemper, spokesman of Henkell’s management, who both will become managing directors.

Enrique Hevia Ferrer, spokesman for the selling shareholders, said: “The sale of our shares is a very emotional moment for us. In Henkell we found the perfect partner for Freixenet. Our families would like to thank all employees for their hard work and loyalty over the years and wish Freixenet all the best for the future.”

José Ferrer Sala, honorary president of Freixenet, added: “The cooperation with Henkell will not only give continuity to Freixenet, a company renowned for its tradition, but will also strengthen its international leadership in the world of cava.”

Dr. Albert Christmann, general partner of Dr. August Oetker KG, emphasized: “Henkell and Freixenet share a deep understanding of tradition, quality and continuity. The strategic partnership will help to develop new business opportunities, strengthening our market positions in the growing global sparkling wine market.”

Demetrio Carceller Arce, president of S.A. Damm, stated: "After many years of friendly relations between the Oetker and Carceller families at Damm, where I am on the board with Dr. August Oetker, I am very happy to be part of this joint new project at the emblematic company Freixenet."

José Luis Bonet Ferrer, co-president of Freixenet, concluded: “The cooperation with a partner like Henkell, which has substantial sector expertise on a global level, will help Freixenet maintain its identity and accelerate its international expansion.”

About Henkell & Co. Group

The Henkell & Co. Group is part of the Oetker Group and consists of subsidiaries in 22 countries, exporting to more than 100 countries around the globe. It is the market leader for wine, sparkling wine, Prosecco or various categories of spirits in numerous countries. Its portfolio includes well known international brands such as Henkell and Mionetto. Further information can be found at

About Freixenet, S.A.

Freixenet S.A. is a family-owned company which was founded in 1914, but has roots that date back to 1861. It is Spain’s largest exporter of beverages and the global No.1 cava producer. The company is headquartered in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, close to Barcelona. Freixenet, which owns brands such as Freixenet, Mederaño, Mia, Segura Viudas and Gloria Ferrer, has subsidiaries in 19 countries, such as in the US, Argentina and Australia and exports its brands to 109 countries. For further information see


Time Posted: 01/08/2018 at 7:07 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe

New Website for Deakin Estate

The Wingara Wine Group is pleased to announce the launch of our new Deakin Estate website, designed to reflect the fresh, vibrant premise of the wines themselves. The site features plenty of resources for our trade partners and staff world wide - as well as consumer friendly information.  

Features include:

  • At a glance details on each wine in our range.  The product pages host tasting notes, bottle images, reviews and accolades;
  • Images including logos and bottle shots for downloading;
  • Plenty of information about us;
  • A  world wide distributor search and where to taste our wines in Mildura;
  • The ability to translate the site to a range of languages, since our wines are distributed to most wine consuming countries in the world.


Time Posted: 22/05/2018 at 1:11 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
23 April 2018 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

Katnook Coonawarra welcomes new Senior Winemaker

Katnook Coonawarra is delighted to announce the appointment of new Senior Winemaker, Tim Heath, who will start in the role in June 2018. 

Tim is currently Senior Winemaker at one of the world’s most successful wineries, Cloudy Bay Vineyards, New Zealand, where he has pursued his passion for the last fourteen years. During this time, Tim has been responsible for all facets of crafting Cloudy Bay’s internationally renowned wine styles, as well as overseeing winery infrastructure and expansion.  Tim has extensive experience promoting wine and liaising with key opinion leaders in national and international markets. 
Prior to Tim’s move to Cloudy Bay, he was Winemaker at Mountadam in the Barossa Valley, during which time he assisted with vintage at Cave de Tain-l'Hermitage, Northern Rhone, France.  Tim has visited most major French, Spanish and German wine regions, rounding out his international approach to winemaking.

Born and raised in Australia, Tim began studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of Adelaide, before transferring to a Bachelor of Oenology when he realised that winemaking “looked like too much fun to be considered a ‘real’ job”. He graduated from Oenology with First Class Honours, completing a thesis entitled ‘The development of non-destructive photo-chemical assay to measure the ingress of oxygen into bottled wine through various closures.’

Speaking of his new role, Tim said “I’m excited to be joining the team at Katnook, an Estate which has some of the finest terroir in the Coonawarra region, as well as incredible pedigree and history.”

Katnook’s Executive Director of Operations and Finance, Chris Pike, said of the appointment, “We are thrilled that someone of Tim’s winemaking calibre has accepted this role. Tim brings a wealth of international expertise and creative flair that is certain to build on the great legacy left by Wayne Stehbens and to take Katnook Coonawarra into an exciting future.”

Time Posted: 23/04/2018 at 11:21 AM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
19 April 2018 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

Vintage 2018 Report

Vintage is over for another year and we have some terrific wines from the 2018 harvest. Here is a summary of the season from our grapegrowing and winemaking teams at Deakin Estate and Katnook Coonawarra.

Deakin Estate, Murray Darling, VICTORIA

Deakin Vineyard Manager Craig Thornton summarises the 2018 vintage in Mildura, Victoria, “In the lead up to vintage, Deakin Estate received similar rainfall amounts to recent years for the months of October to December but a drier September was experienced. 

Overall, the growing season was a dream, as we managed rain pressures and quality well.  Like most of Australia, we experience very hot conditions in January which were managed by constantly monitoring and irrigating vines until the temperature decreased. Grapevine canopies gave just the right amount of shading to assist with ripening. 

We kicked off vintage on 23rd January 2018, with a small parcel of Chardonnay for sparkling base, quickly followed by Pinot Noir for sparkling and aromatic whites. The rest of the varieties followed the historic text book, ripening as expected and we picked them accordingly. The vintage remained hot and dry right to the end and the estate had received only 3mm of rain to this point. The conditions for post vintage has not changed, we have had unseasonal weather in April with 4 days of over 35 degrees and still no rain on the horizon.

In all, we harvested just over 10 000 tonnes with the last date of harvest being 5th April. Crops were significantly down on 2017 levels but still slightly above average.

Early observations indicate promising flavour profiles developing in all white varieties, and colour development in the reds varieties is pleasing too.”

Deakin Estate winemakers Frank Newman and Aidan Menzies report from inside winery, “The warm, dry weather which was the hallmark of 2018 season made for good, ripe flavours across the board.

Early signs are that Sauvignon Blanc is shaping up particularly well, with beautiful, fresh grapefruit aromas and some more tropical notes from the later ripening parcels. The final blend is sure to be fantastic.

We sourced some terrific Vermentino, which is showing some pleasing almond flavours as it is on yeast lees at the moment, in order to build on the fruit flavours.  Promising early signs!

Our Pinot Rose has excellent salmon pink colour and fresh fruity nose, quite enticing.

In the red departments we have some great early starters with the standouts being Grenache and Tempranillo.  Cabernet Sauvignon is looking rich, while Shiraz and Merlot are standing up well too.

The Reds are currently going through malolactic fermentation and will be cleaned up onto oak soon. We will be sourcing French and American oak for the majority of the reds and this is our next big task.

Overall, we had a smaller than average crush and excellent quality, so we are confident of a successful 2018 vintage once these wines are bottled.

Katnook Coonawarra, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Early reports are that 2018 is shaping up to be a fantastic year at Katnook Coonawarra.  Harvest began early on February 6th and finished late on April 12th. It was drier and warmer than average, with crops down by about a third, due to a spring frost.

Katnook Coonawarra General Manager of Viticulture, Chris Brodie reports that this early start to vintage was despite late budburst.  He says, “The spring leading up to the 2018 vintage at Katnook Coonawarra was wet, providing good soil moisture which gave the vines an excellent start, with very little early season irrigation required.Temperatures were relatively warm which also encouraged good vine growth, especially in newly planted areas. 

A significant late frost in early November caused crop losses throughout Coonawarra, Wrattonbully and Padthaway. Katnook’s crop was subsequently down by around 30%, with Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon at Founder’s Block level most affected. In mid November, we experienced heavy rainfall of around 75mm in one day but thereafter enjoyed warm, clear conditions for the rest of vintage. 

In mid-January, most of southern Australia, including Coonawarra had several days of heatwave conditions, which brought forward the first day of vintage by about 3 weeks to February 6th with Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir for sparkling wine. Harvest continued at an even pace and finished with the last of the Cabernet Sauvignon on April 12th.

In summary, the 2018 season was significantly warmer and drier than usual. Grape flavours across all varieties are better than they have ever been, we have some excited winemakers in the region!

Katnook’s Senior Vintage Winemaker, Greg Clayfield with his wealth of winemaking experience, has superbly steered our team though Vintage 2018 and will stay on until our new Senior Winemaker, Tim Heath starts in June. 

Greg summarises, “Ideal, even ripening conditions lead to a very controlled harvest and crush schedule, with all varieties picked at optimum maturity. A key factor was the sustained dry season, with neither rainfall nor temperature extremes having any influence.

Flavours are very promising with Riesling and Shiraz the standouts. A significant amount of work was put into smaller scale Shiraz ferments, incorporating hand-picked whole bunches.The subsequent wines will make a significant contribution when the Shiraz blends are finalised.

Cabernet Sauvignon are rich, elegant and distinctly regional. After the very early start in February the last fruit, Cabernet Sauvignon, was picked quite late on April 12th.

The winery is currently pressing the last of the red ferments, racking wines off gross lees, filling off wines into oak, encouraging malo-lactic fermentations and conducting full laboratory analyses on finished wines. A significant contributor to the smooth running of the winery was the input of Jo Ahearn MW in her role as Vintage Winemaker.  Jo is a star multi tasker, bringing experience ranging from winemaking in the Barossa Valley to managing a large winery in New South Wales, working in the London Wine Trade through to now operating her own winery and brand in Croatia.  

In short, 2018 was a very good Coonawarra vintage here at Katnook.”



Time Posted: 19/04/2018 at 11:54 AM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
19 March 2018 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

Freixenet and Henkell join forces to form world’s leading sparkling wine group

Freixenet and Henkell join forces to form world’s leading sparkling wine group

Henkell signs an agreement to acquire 50.67% of Freixenet S.A.’s shares
Extensive, international cooperation agreed

Henkell, the Oetker Group`s branch for sparkling wine, wine and spirits, has signed an agreement to acquire 50.67% of Freixenet S.A.’s shares and furthermore signed an extensive, international cooperation agreement with the remaining shareholders José Ferrer Sala and José Luis Bonet Ferrer.

The Wingara Wine Group was formerly 100% owned by Freixenet and so now come under this new merger. No changes to Wingara or the Australian distribution of its brands are expected in the near future.

By joining forces, the companies will become the world’s leading sparkling wine group. Their wide product portfolios and respective presence in international markets complement each other perfectly. While Freixenet stands for the world’s leading cava brand, Henkell’s Mionetto Prosecco is the world’s leading Prosecco and Henkell Trocken is Germany’s most exported sparkling wine.

Freixenet and Henkell share a deep understanding of tradition, quality and continuity. The strategic partnership will aim to open up new markets and distribution channels for both companies, enabling them to further expand their international market positions and to achieve sustainable growth. 

José Luis Bonet Ferrer, President of Freixenet S.A., added: “Over three generations, we have made Freixenet the world's leading producer of cava. In Henkell we have found a strong partner with a long-term strategy which will significantly strengthen Freixenet and help us to maintain our identity and tradition - with an even stronger international presence in the future.”

Dr. Albert Christmann, General Partner of Dr. August Oetker KG, said: “The Oetker Group consequently continues the expansion of its areas of business. With the acquisition of the shares of Freixenet we will strengthen the international market position of our sparkling wine, wine and spirits division significantly while at the same time we build up a solid base for sustainable joint growth in that business.”

Dr. Andreas Brokemper, CEO of Henkell, said: “Henkell and Freixenet share a strong entrepreneurial vision. We are delighted to realize as partners the opportunities of the globally growing sparkling wine market. Together, we can offer our customers not only global expertise but also a unique range of first-class brands and specialties.”

Henkell and Freixenet will communicate details of the partnership later. The acquisition of the shares is subject to approval by the antitrust authorities.




About Freixenet, S.A.

Freixenet is a family-owned company which was founded in 1914, but with roots that date back to 1861. It is Spain’s largest exporter of beverages and the global No.1 cava producer. The company is headquartered in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, close to Barcelona. Freixenet, to which brands such as Freixenet, Mederaño, Mia, Segura Viudas and Gloria Ferrer belong, has subsidiaries in 19 countries, such as in the US, Argentina, China and Australia and exports its brands to 109 countries. 

About Henkell & Co.-Gruppe

Henkell & Co.-Gruppe is represented by its subsidiaries in 21 countries, exporting to more than 100 countries around the globe. It is the market leader for wine, sparkling wine, Prosecco or various categories of spirits in numerous countries. The building where Henkell was founded remains the headquarters of the Henkell & Co.-Gruppe, to which brands such as Henkell, Mionetto, Champagne Alfred Gratien, Törley Sekt, i heart WINES and Mangaroca Batida de Côco belong. Further information can be found at

Press contact:


Freixenet, S.A.
Martina Rothe Obregón

Chief Marketing Officer
Joan Sala, 2
08770 Sant Sadurní d'Anoia
T.  +34 600597226


Henkell & Co.-Gruppe
Jan Rock
Head of Corporate Communications & PR
Biebricher Allee 142
65187 Wiesbaden
T.  +49 (0)611 63-210


Time Posted: 19/03/2018 at 4:13 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
19 February 2018 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

Vintage 2018 well underway

Deakin Vineyard Manager Craig Thornton gives the rundown on vintage so far in Mildura, Victoria. 

“In the lead up to vintage, Deakin Estate received similar rainfall amounts to recent years for the months of October to December but a drier September was experienced.  Overall, the growing season was a dream, as we managed rain pressures on quality well.  Like most of Australia, we experience very hot conditions in January which were managed by constantly monitoring and irrigating vines until the temperature decreased.  Grapevine canopies gave just the right amount of shading to assist with ripening.  We kicked off vintage on 23rd January, with a small parcel of Chardonnay for sparkling base. All sparkling wine grapes and the aromatic whites are now all harvested.

Early observations indicate promising flavour profiles developing in all white varieties, and colour development in the reds varieties is pleasing too. 

At this stage I am predicting an uncomplicated harvest as long as weather conditions stay the same, let’s hope the dream start to the season continues.” 

Meanwhile Katnook Coonawarra kicked off with an early vintage - check here for details.


Time Posted: 19/02/2018 at 4:41 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
7 November 2017 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

Vale Wayne Stehbens

It is with great sadness that Wingara Wine Group announces the sudden passing of our Katnook senior winemaker Wayne Stehbens on Sunday 05 November.

Wayne has been an institution on the Coonawarra winemaking scene for more than 38 years and his passion, skill and dedication to Katnook and the Coonawarra region in general were extraordinary.

Wayne Stehbens made Katnook's first vintage and headed the winemaking team until his sudden death, making him one of Australia’s longest serving winemakers. 

In 1979 Wayne produced his first vintage and in 1980, he crafted Katnook’s first commercial quantities of wine. Wayne was then fresh from winemaking studies at Charles Sturt University when he was appointed winemaker at Katnook. He was already familiar with the property having worked alongside his father, Katnook General Manager Ray Stehbens, during his school holidays.

Foreshadowing the success that was to come, these first wines won 49 awards in their first year.   In 1988 Wayne travelled to Graves, near Bordeaux in France, where Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are the leading varieties.  Here, he completed vintage and gained insights into these wine styles.  Wayne was one of the first Australian winemakers to make Sauvignon Blanc in commercial quantities.

Over the course of his career Wayne received numerous awards and accolades. He won two Jimmy Watson Trophies (1987 and 1998) and a double trophy at the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2003 for the flagship Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon 1998. Further trophies included the 2000 vintage of Odyssey in the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2005 & Decanter Wine Awards 2005 and most recently a trophy for the 2008 Odyssey in the 2013 International Wine & Spirits Competition.   In the Langton’s Classification V, Odyssey receives a rating of ‘Outstanding’, Prodigy a classification of ‘Excellent’ and the Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon a rating of ‘Distinguished’.  

Wayne was a talented winemaker with a sophisticated understanding of the unique terroir of Coonawarra. He was passionate about the wines in his charge and about Coonawarra as an significant wine producing region, having served for two years as President of the Coonawarra Vigneron’s Association.

Wayne governed Katnook’s winemaking during the most dynamic growth period of the Australian wine industry.  Wayne cited the loves of his life as his family, wine, fast cars (he owned two Bolwells which he built from scratch), water skiing and tennis. 

In 2013 Wayne celebrated 35 years of winemaking at Katnook and reflected on his career -  read the interview here for an insight into Wayne and his winemaking at the time. 

No words can truly describe the extraordinary impact Wayne had at Katnook Estate, Coonawarra - he will be sadly missed by so many.

Time Posted: 07/11/2017 at 1:10 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
23 October 2017 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

La La Land welcomes Rosé 2017 to the family.

 La La Land Wines proudly announces the arrival of Rosé, delivered on the 23rd of October 2017 by a giant flamingo. Siblings Malbec, Pinot Gris and Tempranillo are delighted to welcome this alluring red head to their family.

La La Land Rosé 2017 was conceived saignée style about nine months ago, when our winemakers crushed some super tasty Victorian Pinot Noir.  After a short time on skins, we kept the free run juice separate.  A specially selected yeast kicked off a slow, cool ferment which captured natural juicy, strawberry flavours with a hint of fresh watermelon and toffee.  Minimal intervention at birth achieved Rosé’s natural, expressive style.  Pale and dry, we think Rosé is just beautiful.  Check out her tasting notes here.

Rosé fits right in with friends at a picnic, at a game of croquet or at any other social gathering this summer.  Retailing at $18 and available at independent retailers Australia wide, Rosé is vegan friendly.  Serve chilled with antipasto platters, fresh seafood or a huge pan of paella.  Alcohol is 12.5% with 5.7g/l acidity and less than 2g/l residual sugar.


La La Land adds a breath of fresh air to the sometimes-stuffy world of wine. An eclectic collection of new generation wines from family owned estate vineyards, La La Land wines are crafted from lesser known grape varieties, which thrive in the warm clime of north west Victoria.

La La Land wines are wines to explore -  flavoursome and generous, made with creative flair and a touch of funk to challenge traditional conventions.  La La Land is the official wine for the Jazz High Teas series at the Arts Centre Melbourne and is available at select retailers Australia wide.

Established – 2013 near Mildura.
Approximately 4 500 cases per year.
Wine Region – Victoria, Australia.
Winemakers – Frank Newman assisted by Aidan Menzies. Viticulturist – Craig Thornton.
Distributed by Red+White Australia wide.  Tel. 1300 655 732.

Time Posted: 23/10/2017 at 3:24 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
18 September 2017 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

ACMI partners with Deakin Estate

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne Australia had partnered with Deakin Estate wines in a move that will showcase Deakin Estate to a wider, culturally aware audience. Welcoming over 1.45 million visitors annually, ACMI is one of Melbourne’s biggest tourism drawcard and the most visited moving image museum in the world. It is dedicated to showcasing the best in film, TV, digital culture and art.  Read about ACMI here.

As of September 2017, Deakin Estate is the Official Wine Partner, Member Events and will be served at VIP viewings and events. Deakin Estate wine is served by the glass in the ACMI café.  

ACMI connects moving image makers and viewers in a vibrant space that embraces the future, understands the past and unlocks new types of creativity. Speaking of the partnership with ACMI, Deakin Estate’s director of marketing and sales, Sean Shortt said, “Just as Deakin Estate lies on the banks of Victoria’s Murray River, ACMI sits on the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River - and offers an enriching experience that is readily accessible to a world-wide audience. This is a perfect fit for Deakin Estate wines.”

Famous for its cutting edge cinematic and museum offerings, recent ACMI exhibitions include David Bowie Is, Dressing Hollywood, Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton. ACMI board members include luminaries such as director Jan Chapman AO and actor Rachel Griffiths.  

Time Posted: 18/09/2017 at 1:02 PM
The Wingara Wine Scribe
3 August 2017 | The Wingara Wine Scribe

Halliday Wine Companion 2018 Released

The most influential wine book in Australia, 'Halliday Wine Companion 2018' was released last night.  
Again our wines did particularly well, with Katnook 2013 Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon scoring 96 points, followed closely by Katnook Amara 2015 and Caledonian 2015 both with 95 points.  READ ALL KATNOOK REVIEWS.

Deakin Estate and La La Land notched up "special value" mentions along with some terrific reviews.  READ ALL DEAKIN, LA LA LAND AND AZAHARA REVIEWS.


Time Posted: 03/08/2017 at 1:51 PM