The region’s oldest and most famous wine producer, Wynns is synonymous with Coonawarra. The talented team crafts a wide range of wines, with a focus on Coonawarra’s trademark Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
The winery’s origins stretch back to the 19th century. Scotsman John Riddoch planted the first vines in the region’s distinctive terra rossa soils in 1891, laying the foundations for the region and Wynns. While Riddoch owned over 400 hectares (dedicated to both grapes and other fruit, founding the Coonawarra Fruit Colony), he also managed a 52-hectare site and winery himself – Château Comaum. After his death in 1901, the Colony was almost entirely abandoned.
Fortunately, Château Comaum was purchased by Melbourne wine merchants Samuel and David Wynn in 1951, who gave their name to the estate. By 1981, Wynns was the largest grower in the region with over 440 hectares.
In 1982 they released the first John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon, a flagship wine named after the region’s pioneer. The wine is released only during exceptional years and it typically represents just 1% of the entire production.
Today Wynns farms 500 hectares and the wine is still made in the original winery built by John Riddoch in 1891. Its distinctive triple-gabled design has become the winery’s logo, appearing on all its labels.
Sue Hodder was appointed Senior Winemaker in 1998, joined by Sarah Pidgeon as Winemaker in the same year. This partnership has been key to quality at Wynns, gradually making small but significant improvements. The duo has gradually eliminated American oak in favour of French, reduced the use of oak overall, and shifted towards larger-format oak to reduce the impact on flavour.
Allen Jenkins is in charge of viticulture and has led a project revitalising the vineyards since he arrived in 2001. Over just the last decade, they have replanted a quarter of the vines. The healthier vines have been integral in improving wine quality, allowing the team to pick earlier and produce wines with higher natural acidity and lower alcohol levels (which now tend to sit at around 13%).
The team here is incredibly talented, operating with a level of detail and precision seen amongst only the finest producers. Their approach, constantly experimenting and embarking on in depth studies, produces wines of exceptional balance and purity.
The estate is owned by Treasury Wine Estates, who also own Penfolds.