South Australia is home to some of the premier wine regions in Australia including: Barossa Valley, Mclaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and the Adelaide Hills. This collection of great wine growing regions has earned South Australia the prestigious title of the ‘Capital of Australia Wine’ and one of the nine Great Wine Capitals of the World. South Australia is responsible for almost half of Australia's wine production and is home to the worlds oldest Shiraz vines, thanks to avoiding the Phylloxera plagues.
In the late 19th century, a Phylloxera outbreak devastated the wine growing regions of Europe, Particularly France. Following the spread through Europe most of the wine regions of the world were affected. The only solution to combat the Phylloxera was to graft the European varieties onto resistant American rootstock. This meant the majority of the worlds vineyards had to replant their vineyards to the resistant American rootstock. Due to the isolation of South Australia and the strict controls and quarantine procedures, the vines in South Australia were not affected by Phylloxera. 38% of the old vines in South Australia are Shiraz vines.
Barossa Valley is home to more than 150 wineries and has a warm climate with high sunshine hours at an elevation of around 270m. The valley is home to sixth generation grape growers that have played an instrumental role in showcasing, developing and revolutionising the Australian wine industry. The Barossa's first vineyards were planted in the 1840s. Traditional winemaking practices from the early winemakers and innovative, modern processes from the new generation winemakers has cemented the regions reputation as one of the greatest wine regions of the world. New practices such as organics, biodynamics, whole bunch fermentation and minimal intervention continue to ensure the Barossa Valley evolves and stays at the forefront of winemaking practices in the New World.
Barossa's warm, dry climate and low humidity/rainfall contributes to the regions dominance for producing premium Australian wines. More than 55% of the Barossa is planted in Shiraz (also known as Syrah in cool climates), these intense and powerful wines are arguably the most famous wine styles from Australia. Big fruits of blackberry, plum, complemented by sweet spice and dark chocolate, are all flavours notorious from the wines produced and offer ‘meaty’ and black pepper aromas.
The Barossa has been awarded the most awards of any region at the Australian wine awards. 5-star retreats, more than 80 cellar doors to great visitors and extravagant food options, it is no surprise the region is one the top of most wine travel's bucket list destinations.
Short on time - no excuses when McLaren Vale is just a short 40 minute drive from Adelaide CBD. A must-see is the famous d’Arenberg cube - inspired by the rubix cube, the large structure hosts the vineyards cellar door and restaurant. It was conceptualised by the fourth generation winemaker Chester Osborn, just yet another example of the dedication to innovate and prevail the rich history of the region.
The wide array of grapes grown here are usually small in yield - but is super concentrated. Alongside Shiraz, premium Grenache and Cabernet dominate the plantings throughout the 7,135 hectares under vine, all of which remain Phylloxera free. Although winds dominate the region, this helps cool specific sites and retain acidity and structure producing enviable wines.