The story of John Riddoch, the Scottish pioneer and founding father of the Coonawarra Fruit Colony has been immortalized in a new book ‘Imagining Coonawarra’ penned by much respected Andrew Caillard MW ahead of International Cabernet Day.
Riddoch planted vineyards in the late 19th century on unique terra rossa soils of in the now- famous Coonawarra wine region in South East South Australia.
In 1896, he completed Wynns’ famous triple-gabled winery, which today features on the label of all Wynns Coonawarra Estate wines, including the iconic Cabernet Sauvignon which bears his name. The original growers, known as “blockers”, were required to plant Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon at a ratio of two to one, with the plan to make wine for the burgeoning export market. But after 1945, Coonawarra increasingly became world famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
Caillard says the John Riddoch story is an important one to be told. “The history of Coonawarra and the imagineering of Wynn’s John Riddoch epitomize the essence of Australia’s fine wine ambitions where terroir, technology and individuality all collide to bring something of great value and importance to the world of wine.
“When the magnificent 1982 Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon was first released, it created a sensation in the Australian wine trade. It distilled all the aspirations of John Riddoch’s 19th Century Coonawarra Fruit Colony by highlighting the extraordinary impact of Coonawarra’s unique terra rossa soils and its perfect symmetry with Cabernet Sauvignon” he adds.
Wynns joining La Place system
The launch of the book also coincided with Wynns Estate’s decision to release its iconic Wynns Coonawarra Estate John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon through Bordeaux La Place de Bordeaux system.
This is to recognize its established reputation, popularity and collectability in the fine wine market, according to the winery.
“It will join the company of other extraordinary Californian and Italian fine wines, in reaching a remarkable network of international fine wine buyers and collectors in over 100 countries,” it adds.
Caillard says it is no surprise that Wynns John Riddoch will soon be amongst the company of the finest “Grand Cru” wines of the world.
“Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon has featured in every edition of Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine, regarded by observers around the world as a benchmark listing of Australia’s top wines. Rated Exceptional alongside Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace, Wynn’s John Riddoch stands as one of Australia’s most recognised wine collectibles with a reputation for extraordinary precision, glorious richness of flavour and longevity. Simply put it is one of Australia’s most admired first growths!”
Meanwhile bottled cabernet sauvignon continues to be a powerhouse varietal in Australia enjoying +9% value growth versus last year.* It is one of the most popular and valuable wines, second only to shiraz. The variety’s natural affinity with Coonawarra’s unique terra rossa terroir has been widely recognised and applauded at Australia’s wine shows and the secondary wine market over the decades. Imagining Coonawarra follows the journey of this remarkable grape variety through the story of Wynns Coonawarra Estate’s celebrated John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon.
Imagining Coonawarra, the story of John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon, is available in hard copy or ebook format here.