Old vines and classic wines

If you could only choose Australian wine region to truly showcase the history, evolution and revolution of Australian wine then you could do a lot worse than pick the Barossa Valley. There are sixth generation grape growing families in the region, custodians to Australia’s largest collection of old vines with blocks dating back to the 1840’s. 

In recent years, traditional Barossa varieties like Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro have been

joined by a new wave of Mediterranean varieties, suited to the region’s soils and climate. The region has also been invigorated by a new breed of winemakers who have challenged the status quo while still maintaining an inherent love and respect for the Barossa traditions and culture.

Read more about the Barossa Valley.

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

Barossa Valley snapshot

With a rich vine and wine history dating back to 1842, the Barossa Valley is one of the most historic wine producing regions in Australia. The region was pivotal in the evolution of Australian wine in the 1970s and 1980s, helping to bring fine Australian wine to a global audience. The diverse range of wines from the region have won over the world's wine lovers, from wine writers and sommeliers to wine geeks and novices. Shiraz is the Barossa’s star performer, but varieties like Grenache, Mourvedre/Mataro, Riesling and Semillon all have a long and distinguished history of producing exceptional wines.

Today, there's a generation of winemakers who are, once again, helping to change the face of wine in the Barossa Valley. Some come from families that have been part of the fabric of the region since the 1800s.

Others have been drawn from afar, coming from around the world to explore the rich tapestry of soils and terroirs that make the region world renowned. They are exploring innovative choices of grape varieties and experimenting with grape growing and winemaking styles. Organic and biodynamic farming, earlier picking dates, whole bunch fermentation, extended skin contact, fermentation in amphorae and minimal intervention winemaking are just some of the ways that people are innovating in a traditional wine region like the Barossa Valley.

Read more about the Barossa Valley.

11,370 ha
Total vineyard area
250-370m
Altitude
34° 29'S
Latitude
160mm
Growing season rainfall
21.4°c
Mean temperature (Jan)
1710
Heat degree days
White
20%
Red
80%
Type

Cabernet Sauvignon

Tends to do best in the cooler sites and in cooler vintages in this region. The Barossa Cabernet style is generally richer with riper fruit character and softer tannins than Coonawarra and Margaret River.

Grenache

Often blended with both Shiraz and Mataro (GSM) to produce classic complex and textured red wines. Grenache is also made as a single varietal wine with rich with ripe raspberry and peppery spice character.

Riesling

The most important white variety of the region with classic lime flavours and aromas. Can age gracefully for 10 years or more.

Shiraz

Occupies 50% of the vineyard plantings and is the most famous variety in the Barossa. The Barossa has some of the oldest Shiraz vines in the world dating back to 1843. The style is typically full-bodied with ripe fruit and plush tannins; the very best examples moderate this natural richness with balanced acidity and a focused pure fruit character.

Top varieties grown in Barossa Valley
Climate
  • The region has a Meditarranean climate ideal for full-bodied red wines, excellent fortified wines and generally robust white wines.
  • The climate ranges from warm on the valley floor to cool at the higher altitudes in the hills surrounding the Valley. 
  • The region has a large diurnal temperature range, high maximum temperatures, high sunshine days and  low humidity and rainfall. 
Soil
  • The complex system of valleys and twisting hills results in a variety of slopes, aspects and sites.
  • The soils vary widely, but fall in a family of relatively low-fertility clay loam through to more sandy soils, ranging through grey to brown to red.
  • As in so much of south-east Australia, acidity increases in the subsoils, restricting root growth and vigour. 

Stories of Australian Wine

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