The first grapes on the South Coast of NSW were grown on the foothills of Mt. Coolangatta by Alexander Berry in the mid 1800’s. It was not until the 1980’s that Greg Bishop (son of the owner Colin Bishop) saw the potential to re-establish vineyards on this historic site. Strongly convinced that one could grow good wine grapes in the Shoalhaven’s maritime climate, Greg Bishop planted a vineyard of Sauvignon Blanc on the eastern slopes of Mt. Coolangatta, naming the vineyard ‘Cullengatty’.
The countless hours of sweat, study and professional consultation finally paid off, when in 1990, the inaugural vintage of Sauvignon Blanc was hand-picked at the estate and sent to Tyrrell’s to be vinified. This wine and subsequent vintages confirmed Greg’s belief that, with the correct viticultural techniques, quality wines could indeed be produced in the Shoalhaven Coast. Since the 1990 vintage, the range of entirely estate-grown wines has grown to include Semillon, Verdelho, Chardonnay, Savagnin, Chambourcin, Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon (click here to view our current range). More recently Tempranillo and Riesling have been planted.
The maritime climate and geology of the Shoalhaven Coast creates a tendency for white wines to be fruit-driven and well-balanced in style with crisp natural acidity. Yet it is the delicate combination of this maritime climate, cool coastal sea-breezes, sophisticated viticulture and the expertise of winemaker Andrew Spinaze (2004 Australian Winemaker of the Year), which have led to Coolangatta Estate’s white wines being rated among Australia’s best.
Coolangatta Estate’s medium-bodied red wines also have a strong tradition of success. Fine tannins and an elegant fruit character are a well-known attribute of the estate’s red varieties, which include Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat and Chambourcin. The experience and skill of Tyrrell’s red winemaker Mark Richardson has seen many Coolangatta Estate reds claim awards at national wine shows and develop a solid following.
Owing to almost a 30 year partnership with winemakers’ Tyrrell’s Winery in the Hunter Valley NSW, the family-owned Coolangatta Estate has grown to become the largest wine producer in the Shoalhaven and the most awarded winery on the South Coast of NSW. It is the Shoalhaven's only 5 red star winery (James Halliday 2014 - 2018 editions). By January 2018, Coolangatta Estate Wines had won 180 Trophies and over 1900 wine Awards at Regional, National and International wine shows.
The success of the Estate has lead to increased plantings in the region and subsequently in 2002, the Shoalhaven Coast was recognised as Australia's 95th declared wine region. With 11 cellar doors and 16 growers now in the area. Each year the Shoalhaven Coast Winter Wine Festival is held on the June long weekend to celebrate the growth of the emerging wine industry in the area.