Whether you’re an avid planner or adjusting to the new normal of booking ahead, now’s the time to plan a great day out at the Limestone Coast’s Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations.
Coonawarra Wine Festival back for five weekends of fun
Cabernet Celebrations is an annual festival highlighting cabernet sauvignon — the signature red wine of Coonawarra — and offers a combination of events, tastings, live music and more throughout October.
Raidis Estate has been involved in the festival for the past 14 years and will kick off their celebrations with Pizza and Tunes on Saturday, 2 October, and finish off with a Spring Shindig charcoal grill, featuring DJ Pedro, on 30 October.
Emma Raidis says they enjoy seeing more and more Adelaideans visit the region, and their cellar door and outdoor area is ready to accommodate families rain, hail or shine.
“Our events, and a number of other wineries, are really family friendly down here,” Emma says.
“We’ve got such a loyal following, people come back year after year and there’s really something for everyone.”
Other stand out events across October include Rymill Coonawarra’s Cabernet Carnival on 9 October, which will have live music and a jumping castle for kids, as well as food and wine.
Rymill Coonawarra have teamed up with Adelaide’s Pirate Life Brewery and chef Mark Wright from Mayura Station to hold a four-course dinner that couples world class beef with signature wines and beer pairings.
Rymill’s acting general manager Jamie McDonald says they’re pleased to present this collaboration and enjoy being a part of the festival each year.
“Come spring it is nice to have an excuse to join up with mates, put a good show on and thaw out,” Jamie says.
“It is a bit of a journey to come down to Coonawarra and we want to make it really worth your while with a string of events on.
“We have a stack of cabernet we’ll be showcasing all month, so even if people can’t get to a specific event, it’s still a great time to visit.”
Coonawarra Vignerons’ Events and Marketing Officer, Heidi Eldridge, says their local wineries have gone above and beyond to establish COVID-friendly offerings all year round, and with Covid safe plans in place they’re feeling confident about the festival.
“We have seen a few hesitant to push forward with larger scale events this year, but there is a greater majority of wineries who are going to give it a crack,” she says.
“There has been enough evidence to show events like this can go ahead, and because we’re not attracting thousands at any one given venue – as much as we’d love to do that – the beauty of this festival is it is still quite intimate.”
About a four-hour drive from Adelaide, Coonawarra is a great road trip destination to satisfy any getaway cravings.
“Despite the challenges of COVID, in particular the limitations around travelling interstate, we are very lucky here in South Australia, and we are finding people are more prepared than ever to discover their own backyard,” Heidi says.
“We saw that in 2020 as we pushed on with the festival, we experienced an influx of people coming down from Adelaide and northern parts of SA for the very first time.
“We’re encouraging people to go that little bit further, once you hit the road, you’re here in no time.”
The festival program boasts over 60 events, with 22 producers offering food and wine experiences across the month. Navigating your way around Coonawarra is a breeze with the region’s cellar doors all scattered along one stretch of road, and a shuttle bus hop on-hop off service available each weekend to transport festival-goers to and from events.
The opening long weekend kicks off with a family fiesta, a golf day and, of course, a variety of tastings.
The following weekends are themed to feature wine blends, the heritage of the region, barrel-to-glass tastings, and show time, as festivities continue in place of the cancelled Penola Show.
Penola and Coonawarra offer a variety of accommodation options including bed and breakfasts, retreats and caravan and camping facilities, but get in quick as they tend to fill up quick for the festival season.
Make sure to book for events and cellar doors so you don’t miss out. For more information, you can view the festival programme and place bookings via their website.