Corks pop for milestone

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Corks pop for milestone

Cellar Dwellers has kicked off in Coonawarra, with wine lovers invited to discover treasures from Coonawarra’s cellars during July.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the month-long event which offers a fabulous program of food and wine events and bespoke tasting experiences, designed to highlight the wonderful cellaring ability of Coonawarra’s world class wines.

Coonawarra Vignerons Events and Marketing Officer Heidi Guyett said she was excited to celebrate the 20-year milestone which features heavily in the program.

“2004 was an outstanding year in Coonawarra , and the inaugural year of Cellar Dwellers,” she said.

“The intent, back then, was to entice visitation to the region during what was a traditionally quiet time of year for Cellar Doors. Since its inception the Cellar Dwellers month has grown from straightforward back vintage wine tastings at a handful of cellar doors, to a robust program of diverse events involving over 20 producers and incorporating long lunches, behind the scenes winery tours and winemaker dinners across the region.

“The theme and intent remain the same (that is) to attract visitation at the core of winter and to showcase the breadth and depth of Coonawarra wines and how well they age over time.”

“Of course, to mark the milestone our wineries will be delving deep into their museum collections this year, to retrieve some very special 2004 vintage wines. These rare drops will be available at selected cellar doors for tasting and feature on the wine list at several dinner events.”

One of the feature events in the program – The Cellar Dwellers Back Vintage Tasting Showcase – returns tomorrow (July 12), providing wine lovers the opportunity to taste 30 back vintage delights, in one location for one night only.

Hosted by the Coonawarra Vignerons, the event brings together a suite of Coonawarra producers to showcase their finest aged wines to celebrate the superior ageing ability of Coonawarra wines, with the warmth and hospitality the region is renowned for.

Not dissimilar to the October Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations [Decade]nce event, which solely features the region’s signature variety Cabernet Sauvignon, the Cellar Dwellers edition is a showcase of a range of Coonawarra varieties and styles ranging from Chardonnay to Riesling, Merlot to Shiraz, and of course the Coonawarra classic, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Boasting wines dating back to 2002, the wine list for the highly sought after event features up to 30 meticulously cellared wines, between 8 to 22 years of age, from 15 of Coonawarra’s much-loved producers.

The stand-up event will see wine lovers tasting over a 2-hour duration in the Hollick Estates Barrel Hall.

Ms Guyett said the Coonawarra Back Vintage Tasting event was a highlight in the 2024 Cellar Dwellers calendar – and for good reason.

“What is unique and appealing about this event is that it brings together a diverse group of Coonawarra producers, in one location to showcase their wines collectively,” she said.

“Attendees will be able to taste and discover how the characteristics of red and white wine varieties change and develop over time, with 30 cellared wines being poured from 15 Coonawarra producers.

“Not all of the producers attending have a physical cellar door in the region or have one, but are not open on a regular basis, so the event is also a great opportunity for the likes of these producers to be involved in the Cellar Dwellers activities and to showcase their wines.

“Like many of the events being featured during July the intent is for wine lovers to taste and experience how well Coonawarra wines can age.

“Locals and visitors to the region are invited to taste and compare cellared ‘museum’ wines, and to discover how Coonawarra wine, both red and white, develop over the years, displaying a true testament to longevity.”

Following the tasting event, guests also have the option to stay on for a two course dinner in Hollick’s Upstairs Restaurant, with renowned local guest chef Ian Perry crafting a menu to delight.

A shuttle bus is available to attendees from the Penola township to the venue.

Tickets are available from $40 per person and bookings can be made online.

The month-long celebration is set to end with a bang at the Cellar Dwellers 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner where three esteemed Coonawarra Vignerons patrons will be inducted.

The dinner will take place on July 27 at Parker Coonawarra Estate and is open to all wine enthusiasts to attend.

“We look forward to enjoying a fabulous dinner in a stunning location and decanting some exceptional museum wines to mark this milestone,” Ms Guyett said.

To see what else is happening during July, including an overview of events and tastings, view the Cellar Dwellers event page at

Visit for more information about the Coonawarra Vignerons.

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