Katnook Estate is one of the most esteemed domains in Australia's premier red wine district, Coonawarra in South Australia. Its vineyards are planted in prime Terra Rossa soil, spanning 330 hectares in the heart of this remote region of South Australia. From here come red wines that have contributed to Coonawarra's international reputation.
Chief Winemaker Wayne Stehbens has been with Katnook since its first vintage and is celebrating his 25th year. During this time, Wayne has been honoured with two Jimmy Watson Trophies which articulate Katnook Estate's status.
Wayne Stehbens made Katnook's first vintage and still heads the winemaking team to this day, 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.
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