The Scottish-born John Riddoch (1827-1901) emigrated in 1850 Australia on. By running a trading post in the goldfields in Penola, South Australia, he had made an extraordinary amount of money, investing in the purchase of 500,000 acres (50,000 hectares) of vast land. He founded "The Riddoch Run" and was engaged in sheep farming, grazing on its pasture 160,000 of them. This earned him the name "Squire of Penola" (squire of Penola).
In 1890 he founded the "Penola Fruit Colony" between Coonawarra and Mount Gambier. The Scot William Wilson owned one hectare of land near Penola and achieved phenomenal results with vegetables and fruit trees. Through this crop Riddoch became aware of the area of which he possessed the greater part. He subdivided 800 hectares of his property into four-hectare blocks and sold one unit for £ 100. For the time being, the numerous buyers mainly planted fruit trees, but also grapevines. From a document it appears that as early as 1897 exactly 89 hectares of this sold land with vines were planted.
Riddoch himself planted vines on 52 hectares and built a large winery until 1895, where he processed all the grapes in the area. He called his winery Coonawarra, which in the Aborigine language means "honey sucker" (Honeysutch), later the whole area became excellently suited to viticulture Terra Rossa ground (red earth) so called. His winery and parts of the vineyards are now the core area of the winery Wynns, Riddoch produced his first wine in 1895. A year later, he hired as winemaker William Salter, who produced the second wine in a wool shed in already appealing quality. This part of the property was called Katnook, which means "Fat Land" after the Aboriginal language. This later went to today's winery Katnook Estate out. With the death of John Riddoch also his enterprise died, Coonawarra became then again only starting from the 1950er years to a special term in the Australian viticulture. A direct descendant of John Riddoch leads the winery today Rymill,