The sun was flirting with us, hiding coyly behind white fluffy clouds, which kept the world from becoming stifling hot. We were armed with good shoes and a good map, ready to hit the vineyards!
The walking tour actually started with Redman Vineyards but we had stopped in there yesterday on our way in to Penola (the largest town in the Conawarra) so we cut that off our journey and started at Brand’s Laira Wineries. H&G were on their way to the caves so they dropped us off at the winery, pausing long enough to do a tasting with us, of course!
As soon as we mentioned we were doing the walking tour, the pourer immediately told us all about the next winery and the little shortcut we could take through the vineyards to get there. She even took us around the back to point it out to us.
As we walked, butterflies fluttered around us, birds (honeyeaters, fairy wrens, and parrots) swooped and called above us, and healthy rows of vines lead down the path. Next stop was Wynn’s Coonawarra Estate. This is a big operation and we even get some of their wines in Vancouver. However you wouldn’t know it was a multinational winery by the service. The woman behind the counter was fantastic, so knowledgable and proud of the wines.
Next we strolled down the lane to the Coonawarra General Store where we bought a salad with chicken and egg to share. Again, the lady was so helpful. Even suggesting we get one salad to share rather than getting two. And, well we commented that the wines they had were not from this area and we like to drink local, so she pointed out yet another shortcut to the next winery. Peering through the store windows, she announced, “Yeah, their umbrella is up. They are open.” Love the little personal touches here in the country. Who needs a telephone when you have umbrella signals?
DiGeorgio’s turned out to be the find of the day. They had a riesling that was bright, crisp and almost Germanic. My favourite kind! After having a most interesting tasting and some real belly laughs with the tasting leader, we bought some of that lovely riesling and had it under the famous umbrella with our chicken salad. We even had our picture taken as we picnicked so don’t be surprised if we turn up on their website, “International visitors enjoy our award winning riesling.”
Well wined and not too full to hike further, we eagerly set forth for the last winery on the walking tour. This was Zema, and, unfortunately, we weren’t very keen on their wines. Too acidic and not complex enough. Just not to our tastes. So, we decided to start the trek to Katnook Winery (I love that name, don’t you?)
By this time, the weather was getting hotter and we were walking along the highway so there were no shade trees. Luckily, part way along, H&G drove by on their way back from a very interesting day exploring the fossil caves, and they picked us up. It was a good thing too! Katnook turned out to be a lot farther than our optimistic plans had lead us to believe.
Their wines were a wonderful way to finish a day of walking between spring green leaves and budding bunches of the future vintage 2015 Coonawarra grapes.