Altitude and attitude

If you leave Adelaide and head east, within 20 minutes you are in the heart of one of Australia’s most beautiful wine regions, Adelaide Hills.  The wines from Adelaide Hills are shaped by the coolness of the region’s altitude, its changing seasons and the skill and passion of its winemakers.

There were vines planted in the Adelaide Hills in the 1870s but due to the perceived and real challenges of cool-climate viticulture in the early days, most were removed by the 1930s. The rebirth of the Adelaide Hills region as we know it today occurred in 1976 with the establishment of Petaluma.

Adelaide Hills
Adelaide Hills
This map is not an accurate representation of the regional GI boundaries. Please click here to view an accurate map of the regional boundary.

Adelaide Hills snapshot

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay perform exceptionally well in the Adelaide Hills and fruit sourced from the cooler sites finds its way into the production of sparkling wines.

Adelaide Hills has developed an international reputation for Sauvignon Blanc, creating a lively, aromatic style with distinct grapefruit and tropical notes and crisp acidity.

Total vineyard area
34° 00'S
Growing season rainfall
Mean temperature (Jan)
Heat degree days


Complex medium weight wines with good natural acidity. A decent amount of Chardonnay, especially from the cooler sites, is used in the production of sparkling wine.

Pinot Noir

Adelaide Hills is the leading region in South Australia for the production of high quality Pinot Noir. The style is typically medium-bodied with ripe cherry and strawberry fruit with soft tannins. A proportion of Pinot Noir contributes to the production of high quality sparkling wines.

Sauvignon Blanc

This is the most widely planted white variety in the Adelaide Hills and is often referred to as the benchmark for Sauvignon Blanc in Australia. The style tends towards ripe tropical flavours with hints of gooseberry and herbaceousness, with crisp acidity, great length and intensity.


While the concept of Shiraz and Pinot Noir performing well in the same region may be a beguiling concept to some, the success of these varieties in the Adelaide Hills speaks volumes for the size of the region and diversity of microclimates available to grape growers and winemakers. In recent years the region has become a leader in cool climate Australian Shiraz, producing wines with elegance, length and balance.

Top varieties grown in Adelaide Hills
  • Altitude creates various meso-climates but overall the climate is cool
  • The region is very hilly with various valleys and sub-valleys
  • Some west facing slopes in the northern area are warm enough to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Most of the region is best suited to early ripening varieties
  • Predominantly grey-brown or brown loamy sands
  • Some patches of mostly sandy soils 

Stories of Australian Wine

Regional associations

Adelaide Hills Wine Region Inc