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About Petaluma - Coonawarra
Petaluma Coonawarra Vines
Since its inception in 1976, founder Brian Croser has succeeded in establishing the reputation of Petaluma wines as among the very best Australian has to offer, by maintaining a focus on traditional wine making methods and painstaking care of vineyards.

In 1978 Petaluma purchased a 12 hectare property directly behind Mount Lofty in the coolest, most humid environment in South Australia, fulfilling an ambition that Brian Croser had harboured since 1970. The growing conditions for vines at Piccadilly are very similar to those of the Burgundy region of France. Here he planted Chardonnay, and from this fledgling operation sprang Petaluma, now one of Australia's most famous wineries. A modern winery was built at Piccadilly, in time for the 1979 vintage, and to this day it remains the production centre for the wines of Petaluma. In the mid 1980s, however, the company also purchased a defunct flour mill at Bridgewater, and this building now serves not only as a cellar for the maturation of Croser's wine, but also as a tasting and sales centre, as well as housing a restaurant and art gallery. More than twenty years on the Adelaide Hills is the focus of investment by many Australian winemakers, Penfolds included, who have seen the potential for producing top-class Chardonnay in its humid and relatively cool climate.

Assembling a rich portfolio of premium Australian wine brands, Petaluma's wineries are situated in some of Australia's most picturesque grape-growing areas. Each of the brands has been specifically chosen for their production of premium grape varieties, perfectly suited to their site, climate and soil, with the result being world-class Australian wines.

At Coonawarra (South Australia), the Evans Vineyard is the source of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for the Petaluma Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon. Coonawarra lies on a large flat coastal plain, 230 miles (370km) south of Adelaide and 35 miles (56km) from the Great Southern Ocean to the southwest. The fabulous Terra Rossa red soil family of the Coonawarra ridge has been formed on an ancient sand dune. This soil has a long narrow cigar shape and is surrounded by black soil which does not drain as well. Coonawarra is ideally suited to the Bordeaux varieties and is one of the world’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon regions with wines having uniquely fine-grained tannins. The variety Cabernet Sauvignon especially exhibiting unique regional/ varietal mulberry stalky flavours. The traditional Australian and Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz blend offers fruit complexity only matched by the subtle Bordeaux approach to varietal blending. In Coonawarra, Shiraz grown correctly develops a rich raspberry/spicy fruit character which integrates beautifully with the more obvious mulberry Cabernet. The climate is dominated by the cool winds from the ocean and is moderately maritime despite being influenced by the hot air of the flat plains to the north during summer.

Croser's property in the Clare Valley (South Australia) is the Hanlin Hill vineyard, and this is now the sole source of fruit for use in Petaluma's Riesling.

Petaluma Coonawarra Vines
Petaluma Coonawarra Bottles
Petaluma's Chardonnay is sourced from the vines at Piccadilly (South Australia). The Piccadilly Valley at the centre of the Adelaide Hills lies immediately to the east of the city of Adelaide behind Mt Lofty, the highest peak of the Adelaide Hills at 2,400 feet (732m). The Piccadilly Valley is the home of Petaluma and its famous Chardonnay and Croser sparkling wine. The vines in the Tiers Vineyard, planted around the winery itself, are the source of the fruit for Petaluma's premium wine, the Tiers Chardonnay.
Petaluma is investing in a labour intensive European approach to viticulture in South Australia's coolest viticultural regions. Close plant spacing, hand manicuring of vines to balance crop and leaf area as well as providing correct exposure of fruit for flavour development, careful hand harvesting and fastidious attention to preserving quality in shipping grapes to the Piccadilly winery are the corner stones of Petaluma quality.

An inspired first vintage in 1979 set Petaluma Coonawarra on a bright course. The decision to drop shiraz from the blend and introduce merlot was revolutionary. Croser was one of the first people to recognise the potential of merlot. In a time when cabernet shiraz blends were the undisputed Australian marriage, he ripped out all his shiraz vines and replanted to merlot. Petaluma Coonawarra is a blend of about 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot but it can be as high as 40% Merlot and does vary from vintage to vintage. Maximum flavour and complexity are retained in the wine through minimal handling. Egg white fining, bottling without filtration and 18 months to 2 years in new French Allier and Nevers oak produce a very sophisticated wine.

Petaluma Coonawarra Grapes