After 15 years of hosting private tastings by appointment at the Poonawatta homestead in the Eden Valley, Michelle and Andrew Holt have opened a cellar door.
And it has become an instant success and the new place to go in the region.
“We decided it was time to create a dedicated space to showcase our wines and better deliver the Poonawatta experience,” owner Michelle Holt says.
“While visitors really enjoyed the unique experience of tastings at the homestead, it is a family home, and with a couple of teenage daughters at home it was at times a challenge.”
Michelle says the family are strong believers in the potential for tourism growth in the Eden Valley region.
“And we wanted to be a key player in the ongoing growth of the region,” she says.
“The cellar door gives us a professional space to communicate all that Poonawatta represents: the wines, the history, the stories and anecdotes.
“It provides a space for guests to really soak up the beauty of the location – some will be here for three to four hours.
“Visitation to date has seen at least a 25-fold increase on our previous appointment only visitor numbers, and while some are already in the region, the cellar door has also brought a new audience into the heart of Eden Valley.”
Andrew Holt grew up on the property.
“A wonderful adventure for a young boy,” he says.
“Just up the track is my mother’s ancestral home – the place where our Eden Valley heritage started six generations ago, back in 1860.
“Through the vision of my parents, the original Poonawatta Shiraz vineyard planted in 1880 returned to the Poonawatta property in 1971, having been carved off in 1922 as a part of WW1 soldier repatriations.
“This old vineyard is the centrepiece of our crown, and it’s such a privilege to be the custodians of these wonderful old vines, the oldest vineyard in the area.”
Only about 900 of the original vines remain.
“It’s a real living treasure,” Andrew says.
“My parents added the Riesling vineyard in 1972, and from 1978 to 1982, cutting by cutting, row by row, another small Shiraz vineyard.
“Michelle and I planted the third Shiraz vineyard in ’07, and a Grenache vineyard in 2019. These blocks produce the single vineyard estate wines.”
The wine brand takes its name from the Peramangk Aboriginal people – ‘Poona’ meaning good, while ‘watta’ means country.
Poonawatta is located on Eden Valley Road, three minutes from the Eden Valley township, 10 minutes from Angaston and 15 minutes from Tanunda.