Blog Archives - Koonara Wines
9 Gin and Vodka Cocktails to swirl in your Smartini

9 Gin and Vodka Cocktails to swirl in your Smartini

James Bond made sipping from cocktail glasses look effortlessly cool, when let’s be honest the reality is part of your drink usually ends up running down your arm or on splashes on the floor.  It was after a lot of “research” (i.e. sipping martini’s) I knew cocktail lovers deserved better so I did what I do best when dissatisfied with the status quo, and designed a glass myself.

Having previously designed our Savour Wine glasses and taking inspiration from them I have designed what I like to call a Smartini glass (cue clapping and applause).


What’s this Smartini you speak of?

Our Smartini cocktail glasses feature a non-spill curve at the top of the glass to stop your drink from splashing out and running down your arm, but still maintains a fine rim that doesn’t drip when you take a sip, literally poetry in motion.

Like all of our other glassware wear our Smartini glasses are potassium salt strengthened, making them 5 x stronger than normal glass. Suitable for both domestic and commercial dishwashers, they can be used in both home and more commercial settings. These glasses are a stylish alternative to your standard martini glass and will be sure to impress even the fanciest of cocktail drinkers

Introducing the Smartini glass

To celebrate the release of our Smartini glasses we have compiled a list of some of the very best Gin and Vodka based martinis and cocktails for you to shake and stir.

Just like James Bond, Shaken not Stirred…

Straight up let’s talk about the vesper martini made famous by James Bond. This martini is a mix of both gin and vodka and dry vermouth and is definitely not one for the faint-hearted. Best garnished with either a twist of lemon or olives this one is simple and stylish. Get your shaker ready with the recipe here

Channel your inner James Bond with this martini

One for the Sex and the City Fans

It’s possible the Vesper Martini is to James Bond what the Cosmopolitan is to Sex and the City. Although this drink had been around for quite sometime before those 4 sassy single ladies made it iconic. 20 years on (yes that’s really how long it’s been since Carrie Bradshaw aired on our screens) the Cosmopolitan with its refreshing citrusy and cranberry flavours mixed with Vodka is still a firm favourite today. The perfect drink to kick off a girls night. Find all the details to make them here

The Cosmopolitan is back

Wake up and smell the coffee

Whilst it was supposedly invented in the early 80’s the Vodka espresso now known as an Espresso martini has seen a recent surge in popularity. Most likely attributed to just how much people like good coffee and how well coffee mixes with vodka. When prepared correctly this martini not only looks fantastic in the glass but is strikingly smooth, and will put a pep in your step. Find the recipe here

Coffee and Vodka what could go wrong?

Chocoholics unite

But if the idea of coffee so late in the day (or morning, who am I to judge) is not for you perhaps you should try a chocolate martini. Still vodka-based but with Baileys Irish cream, chocolate liqueur and syrup its one for the sweet tooth among us. You can check it out here.

Summertime fun

While the Bikini Martini is relatively unknown to most, the striking layered effect is totally made for Instagram. The coconut rum, vodka and pineapple juice combo is the perfect reminder of warm sunshine on your skin and those long hot summer nights. Check it out here.

Smartini’s for the Wineo’s

Given Wine is our main jam, we couldn’t help but add a few cheeky wine-based cocktails to the mix for you to try out as well. We have even created some print at home recipe cards to go with these.

Rosey Gimlet 📷 with thanks to Cherie Birks

New York Sour

Much like the bikini martini, this one is totally insta worthy with the red wine floating effortlessly on the whisky sour. The New York Sour is a treat for the tastebuds with the whisky sour a perfect balance of sweet, and tart. When you add the red wine, it adds complexity and fruity acidity. You can use any one of our delicious red wines in this recipe, but we recommend the Wanderlust Cabernet.

Lucy Spritzer

Given our Flowers for Lucy Moscato is such a crowd favourite it we had to add a cocktail or two featuring it. Our Lucy Spritzer will please even the non-Moscato drinkers amongst us, as the Aperol tones down the sweetness of the Moscato. This one is a super refreshing drink on a hot day.

Rosey Gimlet and Lucy Gimlet

Now you may be wondering what the hell a gimlet is. Quite simply it’s a cocktail made of gin and lime juice. When you add some of our Emily May Rosé it simply becomes a Rosey Gimlet, if you want something a bit sweeter, we have adapted this one with our Flowers for Lucy Moscato and proudly introduce the Lucy Gimlet.

Lucy Gimlet 📷 with thanks to Liana Skewes

Be sure to check out the PDF document just below for our very own print at home recipe cards for our Koonara Wines based Cocktails. We can’t wait to see these glasses out in the wild, filled with the most delightful drinks. Be sure to tag us on socials @koonara in all of your #smartinis and cocktails makes.

Wine Cocktails

How to truly experience & enjoy a Coonawarra Cabernet Wine

How to truly experience & enjoy a Coonawarra Cabernet Wine

They say wine is one of the best things in life and I’d have to agree. Not only is it delicious on its own but it pairs well with so many foods really allowing both the wine and foods flavours to truly shine.

With most wines, we end up developing favourites that become everyday quaffers. What I hope to share today is a guide to taking a moment to stop and take in so much more about your wine to really allow you to appreciate it.

Since our wine of the month is Ambriel’s Gift and we have been plunged into the cold depths of winter (well a vast proportion of the country has) It’s the perfect time to stop and savour all that is rich and warming about this elegant Coonawarra Cabernet. 


Tasting Wine the Koonara way

All too often we pop things in our mouth because we know we like the taste of it. How often do we really stop to appreciate what it is we are tasting? Simply by taking a mere moment to use our five senses, we can appreciate it even more. Tip for beginners–what I’m about to share with you is essentially what the pros sommeliers do but they take notes and take a bit more time as well.


a snapshot of Koonara Wines spotify playlist
Follow Koonara Wines as we have so many
playlists to choose from on Spotify

When it comes to using our five senses with regards to enjoying wine, we focus primarily on Sight, Smell and Taste. The key to truly a memorable experience when indulging and enjoying wine is to try to involve the other senses too. So ensuring perhaps you have some background music playing to add to the moment. I have a few playlists that I made specifically for drinking red wine that will add a great atmosphere to any occasion. You can find them here Or simply follow Koonara on Spotify. I have so many playlists for every occasion.


Is it time for the wine yet?

When it comes to the next part, the actual wine tasting there are four basic steps that one should follow to ensure mindfulness and appreciation.


Look / Appearance

This is essentially doing exactly that – look at your wine, what do you observe? Take 5 seconds to take in the colour, clarity, viscosity. You will probably have ideas about what to expect just from Looking at the label too.

Dru Reschke drinking Ambriel's Gift Cabernet Sauvignon at Koonara Wines
Just another day at the office tasting wines


Swirl the wine around and hover your nose over the glass and take a whiff. Describing the smells is completely subjective, given there are potentially thousands of aroma components in the glass just take a moment to pick a few that stand out for you. Think broadly about fruits, and then narrow it down to the type of fruit, eg blackberries, raspberries, blueberries.


This is the part where you pop it in your mouth finally–Hooray! It’s at this point you should really stop and engage with your senses to ensure you appreciate all the flavours.

You might straight away taste flavours you identified in the previous step, these might be blindingly obvious to you, or they may not and that’s ok.

Koonara Wines 2016 Ambriel's Gift Cabernet Sauvignon
Our 2016 Ambriel’s Gift Cabernet Sauvignon

Our tongue is a great helper in detecting things like salty, sweet, sour and bitter. Sweet (from residual sugar) and sour (acidity) are common components of wine due to the nature of grapes being acidic. Saltiness is rarely encountered but can come with age in some wines. Bitterness usually is a feeling that stems from the tannins rather than actual bitter flavours in the wine.

While we are tasting, we think about the mouthfeel or texture. This comes about because of a combination of effects from the alcohol, the tannins and sugar in the wine. Ethanol (alcohol) gives the wine texture because we perceive it to be richer than waters. Tannins are what give wines a bitter taste, and can give you a sandpaper tongue feeling when drinking red wines. Thick-skinned wines like Cabernet have much higher tannin levels than thin skinned varieties.

The final part of the taste element is the finish. Think about how long the wine stayed with you. Now I don’t mean, we drank it over dinner so roughly an hour. This specifically refers to how long the flavours linger in your mouth after the wine has been swallowed.



This is where you bring everything you have just seen, smelt and tasted together to form your opinion. The first thing you should be doing is thinking about if you like the wine. What specifically did you like or dislike to make you come to that conclusion? Was there something that stood out for you?



Now What?

Now you have stopped and smelt the roses (or wine in this instance) what can you further do to enhance your tasting pleasure? Cook a delicious meal that what. You have opened the bottle of wine. Now let’s see how the taste is heightened when it’s paired with food that enhances those flavours.


Koonara Wines Ambriels Gift paired with Red wine and chocolate braised lamb shanks
It’s a perfect match Ambriel’s Gift and braised lamb shanks

We paired up with Gavin from another food blogger fame who has created a recipe that truly is a match made in heaven when it comes to food pairings. You definitely need to try this Red wine and chocolate braised lamb shanks. Chocolate, lamb and red wine does sound a little weird but trust me when I say it is deeellliiccciiioouuusss. We are so glad Gav wanted to work with us here at Koonara. 

This recipe again evokes a whole lot of our senses with so many flavours coming together during the preparation, and while you are cooking expect your kitchen to come alive with the tastiest smells. Once you plate this up, you are going to savour that glass of Ambriel’s Gift Cabernet and just enjoy how well this dish pairs.

Which celebrity wine mum are you?

Which celebrity wine mum are you?

We had a bit of fun pairing our wines with some famous celebrity mums. Did we get it right? Have a look and let us know which celeb wine matches best sums you or your mum up. 

The Sparkling Mum

Guardian Angel Sparkling Chardonnay: This zippy refreshing sparkling has a creamy mouthfeel, leaves you wanting more with a fine bubble. A perfect party starter.

Mum Description: This mum is the life of the party; she knows how to have a good time. She is the fun one, always laughing, she loves to celebrate, loves people and has a bubbly personality.

Celeb Matches: Reese Witherspoon, Bec Judd, Celeste Barber, Khloe Kardashian.

The Moscato Mum

Flowers for Lucy Moscato: This flavour bomb with just a light spirtz. It oozes Turkish delight flavours with a hint of lime. Surprisingly dry and  whole lot of fun but not at all too sweet.  

Mum Description: This mum knows how to have fun.  She is wholesome, sweet and cheerful, always smiling and she is a social butterfly.  

Celeb Matches: Carrie Bickmore, Hillary Duff, Kate Hudson, Katy Perry

The Pinot Gris Mum

Lucy & Alice Pinot Gris:  Delicate waves of apple & pear flavours, but fresh with notes of pear and honey. Not at all sweet, this one is complex and oh so delicious

Mum Description: This mum oozes sophistication. She is intelligent and she is complex. This mum is highly organised and planned

Celeb Matches: Jennifer Garner, Michelle Obama, Blake Lively, Miranda Kerr

The Rosé Mum

Emily May Rosé:  This one is all sorts of wonderful. It’s got a whole world of flavours with Turkish delight, raspberry, strawberries and cream. But it’s dry and not at all too sweet. Perfection in glass perhaps?

Mum Description: This mum is classy. She is a creative type and she is successful too. She knows how to have fun but she is also thoughtful and kind.

Celeb Matches: Zoe Forster Blake, Beyonce, Pink, Drew Barrymore

The Shiraz Mum

Angels Peak Shiraz: This bold Shiraz is so consistent vintage to vintage; it never disappoints with its subtle peppery and black fruit flavours.

Mum Description: This mum is powerful and driven. She is successful, she is honest and she is bold. Not afraid to go get what she wants.

Celeb Matches: Serena Williams, Olivia Newton John, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mariah Carey

Angels Peak Shiraz – Wine of the Month

Angels Peak Shiraz – Wine of the Month

2019 Angel’s Peak Shiraz

Region: 100% Coonawarra

Tell Me More:

Shiraz was one of the original varieties brought into Australia and is firmly established as an iconic grape variety. It is grown in all regions and this in combination with creative winemaking results in a complex array of styles and qualities.

Like all wines the terroir in which it is grown is what defines each style of shiraz. Warm climates usually produce full-bodied, richly flavoured and textured wines. While cooler climates generally make it more elegant, with fresher dark fruit, mint and spicy styles.

About the Name:

When wine is aged in fine oak barrels, a portion of it evaporates – winemakers call this the ‘Angels Share.’ It was on this sentiment the Koonara angel was born. The name ‘Angels Peak’ is a piss-take reference to the lack of ‘peaks’ in the very flat Coonawarra. The Peak reference is also due to the fact we remove it from the barrel at the peak of the barrels use, which is around 18-24 months depending on the year. We have found barrels used over 24 months can start bringing out tannins from the oak, giving the wine grippier tannins.

Style & Character:

Shiraz wines are typically medium to full-bodied and with a varying flavour profile
depending on region, climate and techniques. Our Angels Peak Shiraz is a powerful, vibrant, fruit-driven style of Shiraz with lovely chocolaty, vanilla and mulberry aromas and an attractive seamlessly balanced palate with a strong natural acid drive, which will help it age gracefully for 15 years. 

Our 2019 Vintage of Shiraz also has no residual sugar and below organic levels (100ppm) of sulphur. It spent 18 months in 100% French Oak barrels (20% new) and is from our certified organic vineyard in the Coonawarra.

Typical Shiraz Flavours:

Spice, Pepper, blackberries and mulberries.

Our Angels peak Shiraz, ready for drinking
Our Angels Peak Shiraz, ready for drinking

So how do I serve Shiraz?

In a glass of course but its best decanted and served around 16-18 degrees

What pairs well with this?

Charcuterie, grilled and roasted meats (lamb, beef and game), stews and casseroles as well as firm aged cheeses. Try adding some to your next casserole and watch as the favour of the wine intensifies the flavour of the dish. Our Angels Peak Shiraz is also a great match for those who love dark chocolate

How long will it last?

When sealed and stored in a cool, dark place or a fridge, Shiraz, can last for around four to five days.

International Day of Happiness

International Day of Happiness

This Saturday marks the annual International Day of Happiness. The theme this year is ‘Keep Calm. Stay Wise. Be Kind’ this theme has obviously come about in response to the ongoing COVID pandemic. But let’s take a moment, as when you look at these statements its bloody good advice regardless of the day. 

Having a specific day to celebrate happiness is great as the greater the awareness the more ok it becomes to talk about things like our emotions, mental health and so forth.

What is this years themes?

The 2021 Theme of ‘Keep Calm, Stay Wise, Be Kind’ are great everyday ideas to live by. When you stop and really look at these ideas too, they are simple things that while only small can make a huge difference to your overall happiness mindset.

Keep Calm. 

There are lots of things outside our control. Let’s remember to breathe and focus on what really matters so we can respond constructively. I still swear by Pranayama breathing.

This is where you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 4, breath out for 5. This stops your cortisol production, which causes your fight or flight stress response. When you’re in fight or flight, your body shuts down many other non-essential parts of the body until you are far enough away from the sabre-toothed tiger to be safe. That’s why that big breath out at the end of the day is relaxing because it gets your gut bacteria working again

Stay Wise.

Making wise choices helps everyone. Let’s choose positive actions that support our well-being and help others to do the same. A really good mantra I try to practice when staying wise is to THINK before I speak, and no I don’t just mean my usual thoughts but considering what I’m about to say and if it is actually giving value. 

THINK stands for the following questions. T Is it True, H is it helpful, I is it Inspiring, N is it Necessary, K is it kind? I find that if what I’m about to say doesn’t fit here somewhere then it’s probably best I just keep it to myself.

Be Kind.

We’re all in this together, even when we were forced apart. Let’s stay connected and reach out to help others who may be in need. Last year showed us just how important human connections are and given the nature of the pandemic we were forced to find new ways to connect with people and to show kindness.

It’s important as we return to what is now our new normal we don’t forget the kindness we found and were shown at the height of the pandemic last yearI’m not talking major random acts of kindness, although let’s be honest these are great, I’m talking about simple day to day things that are kind and don’t cost a thing.

Let that driver in. Smile at people, say thank you and mean it, open a door for someone. It’s proven that these simple acts of what some might just call good manners often cause ripples of kindness as the next person feels a bit brighter because you were kind to them. Guaranteed you will at least get a smile, with a sprinkling of happiness. Which in turn will bounce off them to you and then will often bounce to the next person – Go on try it and see. 

So my advice to you is not only this Saturday, but every day be sure to keep these 3 simple ideas for International Day of Happiness at the front of your mind, to ensure every day brings you closer to overall happiness.

And if all that fails, drink wine. 

Global Drink Wine Day February 18th

Hip Hip Hooray, It’s Global Drink Wine Day

Ok, so let’s be honest, there are many days when I’m pretty sure this is just every day. But low and behold this is an actual national day (primarily in the US- where it moonlights as National Drink Wine Day) where drinking wine is celebrated and encouraged.

Global Drink Wine Day in Australia

You’d think that given Australia has 60+ wine regions we would have embraced this day a little more. So we, with the help of Casey from the Travelling Corkscrew Blog, want to shout it from the rooftops and make sure you are on top of this momentous day and can celebrate accordingly. Casey suggested that it should be called Global Wine Day instead and that’s a suggestion we fully support. 

I did a little digging around on the interwebs and the actual origins of this particular day seems to been unknow. However, the common link between all of the information that’s out there was, that wine needs to be celebrated.

It’s amazing to think that wine has been around since its invention way back in 7000BC, although the creator is still unknown. The process of crushing grapes, letting them ferment before either bottling or letting it age in oak barrels is still pretty much the same today as it was back then – although maybe these days our success rates are a lot more guaranteed.

With so many variants on soil, temperature and the weather affecting the way the grapes grow, its no wonder there are infinite varieties of wine available to us, with no two vintages ever tasting exactly the same.

I’m passionate about building a good ecosystem in our vineyard so we can produce amazing wines

Global Drink Wine Day & Koonara Wines

As many of you would know here at Koonara we are passionate about ensuring we build our ecosystem to ensure we maintain our legacy and preservation of the land and in turn our Organic Certification. We do this by growing selected weeds which attract our “good bugs” that in turn eat the “bad bugs’ we don’t want which removes our need for using pesticides. We are also avid fans of weeds- lazy gardeners perhaps but when we let selected weeds grow long and their roots deep, we have found it aerates the soil and fills it with organic material. This helps hold water and the natural nutrients which then gives us healthy vines. Our so-called ‘lazy’ or ‘gentle’ approach to our vineyards means we can spend more time perfecting our wines at the other end ready for you to enjoy them.

Given wine boasts powerful antioxidants it would be remiss to suggest that wine is somewhat healthy.  Some scientists have even suggested that a glass of red wine a day does have health benefits.  With all of our wines having below organic levels of sulphur in them and low to no levels of residual sugar (depending on the variety) you can be confident that our wines are not only delicious but even a little bit healthier than others.

With an epic mix of both red and white wines, we are confident you will find something delicious from our vast range of wines to enjoy.  Perhaps it’s your next everyday quaffer or something a little bit special to enjoy on Global Drink Wine Day. Be sure to check out our huge range and find your new favourite today.

So, here’s Cheers to Global Wine day, hopefully, you can find some time to relax with friends or family over a nice glass (or even a bottle – but please drink responsibly)

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