The Balnaves family arrived in Coonawarra in 1855. Fast-forward to 1971 when Doug Balnaves began to work for the Hungerford Hills vineyard. In 1975, whilst still working for Hungerford Hills, he decided to plant his own vineyard with 2.5 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon and 2.5 hectares of Shiraz on the famous terra rossa soils of Coonawarra – these vines are still producing outstanding wines today. In 1986 Doug resigned as Manager of Hungerford Hills to concentrate on his own wine business, and in 1990 the first Balnaves wines were produced on a contract basis at a neighbouring winery. By 1996 Balnaves had built their own premises and the first Balnaves wines to be made in their own winery were produced. Accolades followed and they now have 17 consecutive years of being awarded 5 Red Stars from the James Halliday Wine Companion – a score only awarded to the top 10% of wineries nationally. Balnaves continues to be family run, now third generation. They only use fruit from their own vineyards, all in Coonawarra, planted on those acclaimed terra rossa soils. Those original 5 hectares have expanded to 58 hectares of which 70% are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, with the remainder to Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Chardonnay. They farm with the concept of terroir; their vineyard being divided into small blocks of one or two hectares, taking into account the effects of micro-climates and geological features. This lends numerous blending possibilities resulting in award-winning multi-layered and complex wines which reflect the unique character of the fruit grown in the area.