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Hear From the Locals

Moving from Melbourne to Penola almost five years ago has been an easy and enjoyable transition for Simon and Kerry Meares, who have inserted themselves into the bustling Coonawarra wine scene and been welcomed by the local community.

Hi! We’re Simon and Kerry Meares. We are both originally from Melbourne and most recently resided in Footscray which is located in the inner west of the city. We have corporate backgrounds in sales, IT, legal administration and OHS.

We now own and run Coonawarra Experiences, a boutique and bespoke wine touring service within the Limestone Coast region. We specialise in handcrafting wine experiences for visitors to the region, from cellar door tasting sessions to one on one “meet the winemaker” sessions. We have looked after single guests calling through the region right up to visiting wine clubs bringing along 45+ members for week-long stays.

We first visited Coonawarra over seven years ago after spending a long time enjoying the wines in our home town of Melbourne. Every January, the Coonawarra Vignerons Cup is held at the Penola racecourse and after we attended our first meeting way back then we were hooked.

Subsequent trips back over the border from Victoria saw us forge some wonderful and lifelong relationships with the people here. So, we decided to move from the city and settle in this amazing and welcoming town of Penola.

We were blown away by the welcome

During our first trip to Penola, we were invited to attend a Greek Grill dinner at Raidis Estate and were blown away by the welcoming nature of Steven, Emma, and the family.

We walked in the door and were immediately handed a stunning glass of Raidis Cabernet and treated to the most wonderful food. It was something that stuck in our memory — we both talked about how amazing it would be to immerse ourselves in the lifestyle here. So we did.

We are surrounded by the best of everything you could possibly need in Penola and Coonawarra. Clean fresh air, stunning and ever-changing landscapes and have we mentioned the wines yet? We obviously love Coonawarra wines! We don’t have the traffic issues that we experienced in the city and the people here are just so relaxed and easygoing — it’s fantastic to get involved with local events and festivals.  There is always something going on and the community really supports one another.

Oh, and the wines…….we did mention the wines, didn’t we?!

We can heartily recommend moving to Penola and Coonawarra. Anyone who wants to bring a business idea that fills a need in our community would be warmly embraced just like us and well supported eg a cafe, specialty food outlet, health, beauty or wellbeing focused business.

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