The Barossa Valley wine region is one of Australia’s oldest and most premier wine regions. The Barossa Valley is a prestigious and internationally renowned region.
Some of The Oldest Wineries in Australia
It is not only home to some of the oldest vineyards and wineries in Australia but produces some of its most recognizable and sought-after brands. The region lies in the (very flat) ‘Valley’ created by the North Para river, which connects the main towns of Nuriootpa, Tanunda and Lyndoch.
The warm continental climate of the region promoted the production of very ripe grapes that was the linchpin of the early Australian fortified wine industry. In the 1980s, the emergence of several boutique families specializing in old vine Shiraz wines began to capture international attention for the distinctive style of Barossa Shiraz, a full bodied red wine with rich chocolate and spice notes. This led to a renaissance in the Barossa Valley which catapulted the region to the forefront of the Australian wine industry.
VIDEO: Awesome Wine Tasting in Australia’s Barossa Valley
Many of Australia’s largest and most notable wineries are either headquartered or own extensive holdings in the Barossa Valley. These include such wineries as Penfolds, Peter Lehmann, Orlando Wines, Seppeltsfield, Wolf Blass and Yalumba. Many Shiraz vines in the Barossa Valley are several decades old, with some vineyards planted with old vines that are 100–150 years old including Turkey Flat in Tanunda that is home to the oldest commercially producing grape vines, originally planted in 1847.
Other grape varieties grown in the Barossa Valley include Grenache, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Chardonnay and Semillon. In February 2011, South Australian Premier Mike Rann announced that special legislation would be introduced to protect the unique heritage of the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.
A striking feature of the Barossa Valley’s wine landscape is the presence of very old vines, proudly showcased on many wine labels and during vineyard tours. These yield low quantities of fruit but the grapes are packed with flavor and color and represent some of the best offerings from the region. This part of Australia has never been affected by the phylloxera louse, thanks to strict quarantine laws – hence the age of the vines.
The Cradle of Australian Shiraz
Although the region specializes in many different wines, those based on Shiraz have received the most acclaim locally and internationally. The best wines have a reputation for being rich and extremely full-bodied, with the ability to age for a significant time if cellared correctly.
Other prominent grape varieties of the region include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Semillon, Grenache and Mourvedre.
Alongside a wide number of red wines, the Barossa Valley does produce a large amount of white wine. Riesling has been historically important in the region but has gradually shifted eastward to higher elevations and cooler climates of the Barossa Ranges.
“The basic fundamentals of wine tasting: acidity, sweetness, and body or texture.”
Other prominent grape varieties of the region include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Semillon, Grenache and Mourvedre. Viognier is also well represented, but mostly appearing as a small portion in blends with Shiraz, similar to the red wines of the northern Rhône Valley. The area also has a considerable history of fortified wine production; the Seppeltsfield estate has in its cellars a line of fortified wines dating back to 1878.