Located in South Australia, the Barossa Valley lies about 55 kilometers (34 miles) southeast of the capital of Adelaide. Unlike other parts of Australia, whose wine production was largely affected by the advent of the British, the wine culture of the Barossa Valley has been based on German immigrants who brought their vineyards and wineries with them during the early days of settlement. The Barossa Valley boasts a wide range of vineyards including those of Robert Mondavi, which is considered to be one of the best grape varieties grown in Australia. Other popular vineyards include those of Dennis Wheatley and Tony van Meijboer.
The unique Australian climate is favorable for growing a variety of grapes. The Barossa Valley, unlike other parts of Australia where the growing season is for just a couple of weeks, is ideal for the cultivation of long grapes, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, with a time span of more than three years. The most popular vineyards in the Barossa Valley are those of Robert Mondavi, Dennis Wheatley and Tony Van Meijboer. The Barossa River provides an easy access to the vineyards, making it easier for grape growing enthusiasts to visit them. The majority of vineyards are located near the Barossa River. The best times to visit are in autumn when the full harvest is taken, or in April, when the best quality grapes are still available.
The Barossa Valley’s distinct geographical features also contribute to the region’s unique wine grapes. The low, rolling hills and wetlands of the Barossa Valley, combined with its deep porous soils, make it ideal for growing grape vines. Located south of the historic city of Armidale, the vineyards are surrounded by a network of lakes and ponds, known as pansies. The panies protect the vines from harsh weather conditions such as heavy rainfall and periods of drought.
Winemaking in the Barossa Valley has undergone substantial growth over the last decade or so. The growing season is usually from May to October and the grapes are harvested in March. Winemakers use different methods to produce their wines, but all use barrels for fermenting the wine and aging it in oak barrels. Australian wine lovers will find that the quality of the Barossa Valley winemaking is exceptional, especially compared to winemaking elsewhere in Australia and in Europe. Some of the world’s most prestigious winemaking companies are based in Australia.
Although the vineyards provide a substantial amount of income for the Barossa Valley and the South Australian economy, the vineyards are farmed out to provide the local market with grapes for their wine production. This allows the vineyards to expand their growing season and make better use of their growing capacity. The Australian wine industry produces about half of the national wine consumption. In addition, there are many small wineries throughout the Barossa Valley which produce excellent tasting wines.
The production of sparkling wines like Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir originated in the fertile valleys around the Barossa River and the fertile fields on the east side of the Barossa Mountains. It is likely that the production of this specialty wine started some hundred years ago to make use of the area’s excellent growing conditions. The Barossa Valley’s unique combination of great climate, fantastic soils, rich soil, and superb growing conditions has enabled the vines to spread and to become one of Australia’s leading wine producers. There are also many wineries throughout the Barossa valley that specialize in supplying only the finest quality wine to international customers.