Katnook is an aboriginal word meaning “Fat Land” referring to the rich, red fertile soils known today as “terra rossa”.
Katnook Estate’s winemaking history stretches back to 1896, when Coonawarra’s second vintage was made in the Katnook woolshed by Scottish immigrant John Riddoch. This same woolshed today houses Katnook’s oak barrels (pictured right).
To encourage settlement in the far south east of South Australia, Riddoch set up the Coonawarra Fruit Colony at Katnook in a limestone building which still stands today. In 2009, this building was converted to Katnook Estate's Cellar Door. The nearby stables were also restored to a small functions area.
In 1971, the Yunghanns family purchased Katnook and the first vines were planted soon after, with the first vintages of fruit sold to neighbouring wineries.
In 1980, the first wines were made under Katnook Estate label in the Katnook woolshed just as John Riddoch had done 84 years before. Katnook Estate’s first winemaker, Wayne Stehbens has continuously made the wines – possibly making him Australia’s longest serving employed winemaker.