CoonawarraThe first vines were planted in Coonawarra by John Riddoch in 1890, however it was not until the renewed interest in table wine production in the 1950's that Coonawarra was brought into the limelight. Located almost 380 km southeast of Adelaide, Coonawarra is today one of the most famous red wine regions in Australia. Its weathered limestone terra rossa soils, avaibility of water and relatively cool maritime climate make it a unique viticultural region. Extremely flat and unprotected, Coonawarra is exposed both to the swinging influences of the cool Great Southern Ocean and hot, dry northerly winds. Spring frosts also pose a major threat with the potential to wipe out entire crops. Mechanical harvesting is widely employed in the region although smaller producers prefer to tend their vines by hand. Coonawarra is best known for classically-styled Cabernet Sauvignon, although in good years, Shiraz from the region is also very compelling.
Hermann Paul Leopold Buring (better known as Leo Buring) was born in 1876 in South Australia to German parents. In 1896 Leo was Dux of the Oenology course at Roseworthy Agricultural College, and in 1902, after studying at Geisenheim, Germany and Montpellier, France, he joined Penfolds Minchinbury Cellars near Mt Druitt in New South Wales. In 1931 Buring formed a business partnership with Reginald Mowat of Great Western called Leo Buring & Co. His first wine was made from grapes grown at his Emu Plains property in the early 1930s. However, he moved the major part of his wine operations to the Barossa Valley in South Australia in 1945. John Vickery joined in 1953 and a golden period followed. During the 1960s and 1970s Leo Buring Rieslings were regarded as the very best white Australian wines. The brand fell under the radar in the intervening decades due to various corporate reshuffles, but is today once again on the ascendancy, making its name strictly as Riesling specialist. The Leo Buring Leonay DW Riesling is the top cuvee and is either an Eden Valley of Clare Riesling depending on which area delivers the best parcels of fruit in any given vintage. Leo Buring also produces a standard Clare Riesling and an Eden Valley Riesling both offering superb value for money.