The Her­itage of Barossa

Singapore Tatler Regional Best Restaurants - - Contents - Text By Jane Sk­il­ton, Mw Photos Cour­tesy Of Barossa Grape And Wine As­so­ci­a­tion

Best known for some of Aus­tralia’s most highly priced and sought af­ter red wines, what is the X-fac­tor in Barossa that se­cures it a spe­cial place in wine lovers’ hearts? Ask any wine drinker to nom­i­nate their favourite Aus­tralian re­gion and it would be safe to as­sume the ma­jor­ity would name the Barossa. Grapes were first planted in the Barossa in the 1840s by Lutheran set­tlers who em­i­grated to South Aus­tralia to es­cape per­se­cu­tion in Europe. They dis­cov­ered that vines pos­i­tively thrived in the warm Mediter­ranean cli­mate. Although the ma­jor­ity of the grapes har­vested at that time were des­tined for for­ti­fied rather than ta­ble wine pro­duc­tion, such was its suc­cess that by the late 1920s, 25 per cent of Aus­tralia’s to­tal wine pro­duc­tion came from the Barossa.

Af­ter an un­set­tled pe­riod fol­low­ing World Wars I and II, the re­gion was rein­vig­o­rated in the 1940s and 1950s by wine­mak­ers such as Colin Gramp, Max Schu­bert and Cyril Hen­schke who were keen to see the Barossa be­come the pre­em­i­nent re­gion. A greater un­der­stand­ing of the role of bar­rel age­ing, blend­ing and vini­fi­ca­tion meant that ex­cel­lent qual­ity red ta­ble wines be­gan to be pro­duced. To­day the Barossa is a recog­nised Ge­o­graph­i­cal Zone com­pris­ing two dis­tinct re­gions: the Barossa Val­ley and the Eden Val­ley.

VAL­LEY OF FINE WINE

The Barossa Val­ley has 11,400 hectares of vine­yards, planted on a num­ber of dif­fer­ent soil types, pre­dom­i­nantly clay loams and sandy soils. Low ly­ing, with a warm, dry cli­mate, it is ideally suited to ripen­ing red va­ri­eties such as Shi­raz, Mataro, Gre­nache and Caber­net Sauvi­gnon. Although the re­gion only re­ceives an av­er­age of 160mm of rain an­nu­ally, many of the older, more es­tab­lished vine­yards are dry grown i.e. with­out the need for ir­ri­ga­tion.

The Val­ley is home to over 100 hectares of vines that are more than a cen­tury old; Pen­folds 10-acre Block 42 which lies within the Kal­imna vine­yards con­tains what are be­lieved to be the old­est plant­ings of con­tin­u­ously pro­duc­ing Caber­net Sauvi­gnon vines in the world. Fruit des­tined for Lang­meil's Free­dom 1843 Shi­raz comes from vines planted by Chris­tian Auricht in 1843 whilst Tur­key Flat's Shi­raz vine­yard was planted in 1847 and the Schulz fam­ily con­tinue to make wine from these orig­i­nal vines.

How­ever in the late 1970s, the Barossa went through a rough patch when large wine com­pa­nies used wide­spread ir­ri­ga­tion to boost the vol­ume of wine pro­duced. The threat of a wine glut prompted the South Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment to in­tro­duce a Vine Pull Scheme, pay­ing grow­ers to re­move what were be­lieved to be un­pro­duc­tive vine­yards. Un­for­tu­nately this re­sulted in the de­struc­tion of many

The Barossa has 11,400 hectares of vine­yards, planted on a num­ber of dif­fer­ent soil types, pre­dom­i­nantly clay loams and sandy soils.

Grapes were first planted in Barossa Val­ley in 1840s

Barossa is suited for red va­ri­eties like Shi­raz,

Gre­nache and Caber­net Sauvi­gnon

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