John and Faye Parker established Parker Coonawarra Estate in 1985 after a career-long interest in the region. Today, the privately owned Parker Coonawarra Estate is committed to John Parker’s standards of excellence, and producing the most faithful expression of Cabernet Sauvignon from the celebrated Terra Rossa soils of the Coonawarra growing region.
In the mid 1980’s, with help and advice from longtime friend Doug Balnaves, John and Faye Parker identified the best locations on Coonawarra’s Terra Rossa strip, which resulted in the purchase of land from the Abbey family, just north of the Penola township. In 1985 they planted their first vines using the Reynella Selection cuttings of Cabernet Sauvignon - the original cuttings from Bordeaux - sourced before Phylloxera decimated the vineyards in France in the late 1800’s.
The winery’s first release of the 1988 vintage of First Growth was met with outstanding success, winning the Penfold Hyland Trophy in Perth.
It was also judged the 6th highest rated Bordeaux-Style in the 1991 International Wine Challenge in London. This was the first step in establishing Parker Coonawarra Estate’s reputation for producing wines of outstanding quality and longevity. In 2001, the purpose built maturation facility and cellar door building was completed. Made strikingly from Mt Gambier limestone and steel girders, the temperature-controlled facility stands tall amongst the Abbey vineyard and reflects John Parker’s uncompromising approach to grape growing and winemaking.
For over a quarter of a century, Parker Estate has achieved numerous wine show medals, trophies and accolades, including a Five Star rating by James Halliday, Langton’s Classification V for Excellence, and many high rating reviews by major wine media both within Australia and internationally.