Accolade Wines has today named Natalie Cleghorn as Senior Winemaker and Manager for Katnook Estate as it completed the acquisition of the much-loved Coonawarra brand.

Natalie, who has been making award-winning wines from the fabled Coonawarra region for more than 10 years, will join one of the world’s leading team of winemakers at Accolade Wines, becoming the fourth female Senior Winemaker on the team.

Accolade Wines started as Thomas Hardy and Sons, founded in 1853, and has grown to become one of Australia’s largest winemakers. Today, Accolade Wines produces a range of heritage-rich wine brands including Grant Burge, Petaluma and St Hallett, with the aim of improving access of quality wine to all wine lovers around the world.

Katnook Estate is the Company’s first acquisition under the new leadership team and The Carlyle Group ownership. Accolade Wines was first attracted to the esteemed wine region of Coonawarra and then to the deep heritage of the Katnook winery and vineyard.

Katnook lies in the heart of Coonawarra wine region in South Australia – Australia’s No 3 region for bottled red wine. With a history stretching back to 1867, Katnook Estate’s single varietal red and white wines are crafted with an uncompromising commitment to the finest quality and the regional integrity of the Coonawarra. Katnook has twice won Australia’s most prestigious trophy, the Jimmy Watson, as well as a number of international awards.
Accolade Wines is delighted to officially welcome Katnook Estate on board and welcome Natalie to the team as the Senior Winemaker and Manager, commencing on 4 January 2021.

Robert Foye, CEO of Accolade Wines, said: “Katnook is renowned for producing rich and balanced red and white varietals that are sought after by the rest of the world and we are delighted to be able to help expand the potential of such an esteemed vineyard and region.

“We’re looking forward to seeing great things from the Katnook Estate winery under the guidance of such a distinguished winemaker as Natalie Cleghorn. We are happy to have Natalie on board and believe she will bring even more experience to the winery at Katnook.”

On her appointment, Natalie Cleghorn said: “I am thrilled to be joining Katnook Estate and the broader Accolade Wines team. I have a great passion for the wines of Coonawarra and the region as a whole. I am looking forward to being able to fully immerse myself focussing on the region, wines and winery and I am excited by the prospect of working with the experienced team to guide this historic brand into the future.”

About Katnook Estate
Katnook lies in the heart of the fabled Coonawarra wine region in South Australia. With a history stretching back to 1867, Katnook Estate’s single varietal red and white wines are crafted with an uncompromising commitment to the finest quality and the regional integrity of the Coonawarra – Australia’s No 3 region for bottled red wine.

The wines have twice won Australia’s most prestigious trophy, the Jimmy Watson, has two wines in the prestigious Langton’s Classification of Australian Wines and a five-star rating in James Halliday’s Wine Companion 2020.

Katnook Estate wines are offered under three ranges: Katnook Founder’s Block; Katnook Estate and the limited release range of iconic Coonawarra wines from exceptional vintages, including the Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon and the Prodigy Shiraz.

About Natalie Cleghorn
Natalie is a winemaker with over 21 years in the industry. She is an experienced wine show judge, having judged in numerous capital city and regional wine shows as well as being a graduate of the world-renowned Len Evans Tutorial. She is a two-time finalist for Australian Women in Wine awards, Winemaker of the year.

A former track rider for the Hayes family at Lindsay Park, Natalie joined Yalumba in 1999 in the laboratory while undertaking her Bachelor degree in Wine Science from Charles Sturt University.

Since completing her studies, Natalie has enjoyed both commercial and artisan experience working for the Hill Smith family’s estate vineyards, including Yalumba, Oxford Landing Estates and Dalrymple. She has also undertaken an international vintage at Clos Figueres in Priorat, Spain, an ultra-premium winery producing world-class DOQ wines.

A passion for premium handcrafted red wines has seen Natalie develop a sense of patience and faith in the ability of great fruit to become outstanding wine. She has been making award-winning wines from the Coonawarra region for more than 10 years.