Big News from Highbank Coonawarra

Bonnie and I have sold the vineyard where the Honeysuckle Rise accommodation was located. The new owners have elected not to offer these building as further accommodation and we have however retained the Highbank single vineyard wine brand and label.
The good news is we will be continuing with the handmade Highbank Family Reserve which truly captures the essence of this very highly prised and historic Penola / Coonawarra Fruit Colony land.
The 2022 vintage is going to be another ripper!
For our “Friends of Highbank” patrons we offer very special pricing on all our limited wine stocks – scroll down for your discount code.
And for now, we want to live with the things we love here in Coonawarra. We are regrouping and thinking of going fishing and hiking in Tasmania. But most importantly enjoying our new granddaughter and family in Coonawarra.
Enjoy what we so luckily have here in Australia.
Our best!
Dennis & Bonnie
Highbank Wines

More preparation for the 2023 vintage

Preparing for the 2021 vintage

Highbank Sponsors Wine List of the Year Awards

Dennis showing Highbank’s featured position at Sydney’s Gourmet Traveller Magazine Wine List of the Year Awards

Highbank was thrilled to be the award sponsor for “Best Wine Bar Wine List” and it was won by Dear Sainte Éloise, Potts Point who have “crafted a truly wonderful, comprehensive and adventurous wine list with carefully chosen wines from a wide range of both classic and well established producers, wine regions and wine styles” according to the judges.

And another local business involved in the awards was The Barn in Mt Gambier who won the “Best Country Restaurant Wine List”. So when next you are in our area, go and check out their steaks and their wonderful wines 🙂

Check out the website for more information about the other awards.

James Halliday Wine Guide 2020 Review of Highbank

Two of our wines have been awarded 95 points and one 94 points in the latest Halliday 2020 publication.

2014 Family Reserve Cab.

This lighter shade red shimmies along a nerve of brittle, verdant tannins laden with dusty pencil shavings to iodine and crunchy acidity. The savoury mulch to peat flavours expand to currant, sour plum, tobacco leaf and red cherry, with air. This will grow in stature and may be the wine for the purists, but the ‘13 is just too darn delicious right now! 95 2034

2014 Single Vineyard

Cab (60%), Merlot (30%) and the rest Cab. Franc, there is a little more fruit in the Cabernet pastry with the addition of Merlot, than the straight-laced Family Reserve bottling from the same vintage. Merlot, an earlier ripener, serves this vintage well. This opens beautifully, with currant and a mottled leafiness blossoming to a pure line of cassis within a day of opening. Far from jammy, the tannins bind the sumptuous fruit to a dictum of precision and finesse. 94 2033

Coonawarra Cellar Door in the City – 2019

Ned Goodwin presents Highbank Wines in Master Class

Ned Goodwin, Master of Wine, presented a Master Class in both Tokyo and Seoul recently and Highbank was there!

The Master Class ‘Minimal Intervention: A progression from natural wine to a sustainable maturity’ and was well attended with over 70 people attending both sessions.

Our Highbank wines were showcased during the master class!

Ned presented wonderfully on minimal intervention and sustainability which sparked great conversation and interesting questions amongst trade and media. Ned challenged the audience to explore and learn more about how sustainability, certified organic and biodynamics influences winegrowing, winemaking and the overall taste of the wines.

The event truly highlights the innovation and passion coming out of Australian winemakers and wine growers.

10 year fracking ban in Limestone Coast passes into law

Sigh of relief for Limestone Coast locals after 10 year fracking ban passes into law

The Limestone Coast Protection Alliance has thanked the Member for Mt Gambier Troy Bell and the South Australian Government for voting today in support of turning the promised ten year moratorium on fracking in the Limestone Coast into law.

[Nick McBride – Liberal MP MacKillop, Dennis Vice – Highbank, Mark Parnell – Greens MLC Legislative Council, Troy Bell – Independent MP Mount Gambier]

Troy Bell’s Petroleum and Geothermal Energy (Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing) Amendment Bill 2018 passed the South Australian House of Assembly today with the support of the Government.

The Bill was brought to parliament by Member for Mount Gambier, Troy Bell, who told parliament today that, “We are elected to this place to represent the people in our electorate.”

Limestone Coast Protection Alliance spokesperson Angus Ralton said, “We’re delighted that the Government has supported our community and our local member Troy Bell in backing the Bill to put the promised 10 year fracking ban into law, delivering on its election promise to the community of Mount Gambier and respecting the will of the people.

“It’s a huge relief for us to have certainty that the water resources and agricultural industries of the Limestone Coast will be safe from fracking for ten years.

“We want to thank our local member Troy Bell for his hard work and support of our community’s efforts to secure this certainty for our region and safeguard our water from fracking.

“We also want to especially thank local Liberal MP Nick McBride for backing this bill, supporting his community and leading on this issue inside the Liberal Party and Greens MLC Mark Parnell who has supported our efforts. We’re enormously grateful.

“This doesn’t solve all the issues we face however, and we will continue to work to have a similar ban placed on conventional gas fields which also threaten our region,” he said.

Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator Phil Laird said, “It’s terrific to see the South Australian Government respond to the community’s overwhelming desire to safeguard the water resources of the Limestone Coast from fracking.

“However, it’s unfortunate that SA Labor voted against the Bill and is still ignoring the will of the community on this vital issue, despite a parliamentary inquiry concluding that the industry has no social licence in the south east and the electorate rejecting the Labor position at the election earlier this year. We’re calling on them to now urgently reconsider their support for fracking in the region.

“Around the country, Australian communities have told their political representatives they will not accept unconventional gas and fracking. The South Australian Government has responded to the public’s concern about this industry and delivered certainty for agricultural industries. We hope to see moves to outlaw fracking and unconventional gas continue to spread across the country.”

This article was originally posted in

For more about gas mining in the Limestone Coast please go to

About Coonawarra

limestone coast map

Coonawarra is the most important wine region within the Limestone Coast zone of South Australia, credited with producing some of the best red wines in the entire country, and often described as Australia’s most famous terroir. It is located in the far south-east of the state, adjoining the border with Victoria south of Wrattonbully.

Although vines were first planted here in the last decade of the 19th century by Scottish settler John Riddoch, it was not until the 1950s that the region received some serious attention when the famous Wynns winery was set up.

Wynns Coonawarra

Many other well-known wine producers followed suit, including Penfolds and Yalumba, but the region was not accorded its GI (Geographical Indication) status until 2003.

This delay seems odd, since Coonawarra is one of the very few regions in Australia strongly defined by the earth in which the vineyards are planted. Terra rossa soil is the key factor in the Coonwarra terroir.

Our own Highbank vineyard was started over 30 years ago and sits on the red terra rossa soils.

Highbank Cottage Coonawarra terra rossa

The region’s prime land, which has this reddish-brown topsoil over a thick layer of soft limestone, covers a narrow strip 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) long and around 1km (0.6 miles) wide. The reddish color of the soil is caused by iron-oxide (rust) formations in the clay. Vineyards on this soil benefit from good drainage and nutrient-holding capacity.

Denis Vice Highbank terra rossa
Coonawarra’s proximity to the Southern Ocean (37 miles/60km away) gives it a mild maritime climate, with Mediterranean effects in the summer moderated by the cool breezes coming off the sea. This cooling of the vines is critical to the richness and complexity of the region’s wines as it extends the ripening period, resulting in a wide range of flavor development.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the shining star of the region, producing some of Australia’s great wines. They display concentrated fruit flavors and although the winemaking principles revolve around extracting as much of the tannin as possible, they are well integrated and never overpowering.

The success of this grape variety has given birth to such events as the Coonawarra Cabernet Celebration, Barrel Auction and the annual Coonawarra Cup held at the Penola Racecourse. While the major cities of Adelaide and Melbourne are both around 400 kilometers (250 miles) away, plenty of visitors make the journey to taste these famous wines at the cellar doors of the region’s various wineries, which include well-established large producers and smaller and newer operations.

This article originally from Wine Searcher