After fermentation, the Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra Balnaves spent 18 months in tight-grain French oak from Taransaud, and Berger and Sylvain cooperages, before bottling.
Since the planting of the first five hectares of vines in 1975, the Balnaves vineyards have grown steadily. Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for 70% of the area, with the remainder planted to Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and a little Chardonnay. The estate is divided into small blocks of between one and two hectares, based on depth of soil, trellis design, vine clone and row direction. The quality of wine produced from these small blocks is evaluated each year and recorded. For Balnaves, this practice proves the effect that microclimate and geological features have on the quality of the wine produced. The soils here are the famous rust-coloured, iron-rich Coonawarra ‘terra rossa’ soils.
The Balnaves family vineyard is situated at the southern end of the famous Coonawarra Terra Rossa strip. Planted in 1975, the vineyard is now 58 hectares in size (70% of which is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon) and has been in the family for three generations. Doug, together with his son Pete and daughter Kirsty, run the Balnaves vineyard and manage another 300 hectares for other growers in the heart of Coonawarra. The quality of their fruit was always excellent, but they began their move to the top of the Coonawarra ladder in 1995 when they hired Pete Bissell (ex-Wynns) as their winemaker and started work on their own winery. Pete retired in June 2020 though he still works with Balnaves as consultant winemaker, alongside Jacinta Jenkins. The vineyard is divided into small blocks of between one and two hectares, which are managed separately according to the specific needs of each area. This gives numerous blending components, which results in layered and complex wines.