Doug & Annette Balnaves started in the wine industry in the early 1970s when they sold their farm to what was Hungerford Hill. The first Balnaves Cabernet Sauvignon vines were planted in 1974 and has grown over the years.
Doug with the aid of Bill Redman the then “Grand Old Man of Coonawarra” made his first wine in an old cement vat in 1974 after being transferred from the children’s swimming pool from the back of the ute. Bill was the instigator in Doug’s foray in to learning to love red wine. Interestingly, the baton has been handed over to following generations of Redman’s- Bruce, Mal and Dan – who continue to this day to “help” Doug continue his journey of the love of red wine!!
In 1990 was the first release of our wine label which was made on a contract basis at a neighbouring winery. In 1991 our architecturally designed Cellar Door was built. In 1995 we made the almost inevitable decision to construct our own winery. Our striking new 600 tonne winery was built and in operation for the 1996 vintage.
1995 was the year our Winemaker Pete Bissell joined the Balnaves Family. He has recently celebrated his 20th vintage with Balnaves wines and has a long list of accolades including Qantas Winemaker of the year in 2005.
To build an expandable winery and barrel storage facility, designed to be in harmony with the surrounding viticultural envelope through seasonal change. The winery was to complement the cellar door and had to be a striking visual element of deliberate form and colour as an enhancement to the landscape. The "bell tower" acts as a local beacon for visitors as well as offering an unprecedented panorama over the Coonawarra Vineyards. What we achieved was all of that and more, and as a result a number of awards have been won for the winery design.