Travel Guide to The Wine Region of South Australia
The wine region of South Australia is located in the center of the southern coast of the continent. This state is the heart of the Australian wine industry and is responsible for almost half of the country’s wine production every year. Despite the large quantities of wine produced here, the wines are still of extremely high quality, particularly the region’s Shiraz. The South Australia wine region is very diverse in terms of its climate and geography, which means that a range of wines can be produced in the area. A number of Australia’s most well known and world-renowned wines are produced in South Australia. Adelaide, the wine capital of Australia, offers around 200 open cellar doors, which makes it the perfect place to explore and learn more about Australian wines.
South Australia – The Heart and Soul of Australian Wines
Evidence in South Australia shows that the vines in the region were planted as early as in 1836 by an English settler. This first vineyard site in Adelaide started producing wine in 1841 displaying a longer winemaking history than one might expect of Australia. The vines in South Australia are grown at varying altitudes from the low valley regions to the Riverlands, which are up to 600 m above sea level. South Australia consists of various wine regions including the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Clare Valley, Eden Valley, McLaren Vale, and Adelaide Hills.
Wine Portfolio of South Australia
The wine portfolio of South Australia consists mainly of red wines, most of which are made from the Shiraz grape varietal. Cabernet Sauvignon also thrives in the region, particularly throughout the Barossa and Coonawarra regions. Because of the particular climate of the region, Grenache grows very well here and is often mixed with Shiraz and Mourvedre to produce the famous Australian GSM Blends. White wine is a lot less of a prominent feature in the South Australia wine region except for the region’s world-class and world-famous Riesling that is produced mainly in the Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills. Another varietal that is widely grown here is Chardonnay, which is used to produce high-quality white wines. Less commonly grown white varietals include Semillon, Roussanne, Viognier, and Verdelho.
Distinct Territories of South Australia Wine Region
The wine-growing region of South Australia covers a full six degrees of latitude from 38 degrees south to 32 degrees south, resulting in dramatic changes in altitude and diverse climates. This means that the terroir differs greatly across the region, resulting in a wide range of wines being produced. South Australia contains six primary wine-growing areas of which the major regions are Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Eden Valley, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, and the Adelaide Hills. Each of the sub-regions produces a very distinct and unique type of wine.
The Barossa and Eden Valley areas are famous for their extraordinary Shiraz wines while the Clare Valley and the Adelaide Hills produce rich Chardonnay wines and dry Rieslings. The Limestone Coast is famous for its tobacco flavored Cabernet while the Southern Flinders Ranges produce near-perfect varietals of Syrah, Sangiovese, Grenache, and Tempranillo.
What to Expect from South Australian Wines
Red wines produced in the South Australia wine region are diverse and express different styles based on the territory of origin.
Red wines produced in the Barossa Valley are full-bodied and bold. Barossa Valley is the place where some of the world’s oldest vines can be found. The famous Barossa Shiraz have rich flavors of plum and chocolate.
Wines produced in areas with cooler climates such as the Eden Valley produce wines with a more savory flavor and with lower levels of alcohol.
The wines found in the McLaren Vale Region are more medium-bodied with a spicier and more savory flavor. In this area, the climate is more Mediterranean and therefore perfect for Grenache, which is a more delicate red varietal than Shiraz.
The red wines found in the Adelaide Hills areas are more buoyant and bright with a lighter palate and easy to drink.
The main producer of white wines is the Eden Valley, where the wines have a high aromatic profile, crispiness, and refreshing feel. The popular Eden Valley Riesling is more floral with hints of apple flavors and light notes of lime, chalk, and lemon. In general, the Riesling wines made in Australia are citrusy wines while still dry and elegant with sharp acidity. Sparkling wines are also produced in South Australia and are the fastest growing wine in the export category. The sparkling wines of this area are yeasty with hints of brioche flavor.
Open Cellar Doors in South Australia
Hentley Winery was established in 1997 with the vision to craft exceptional single estate wines from the Barossa Valley. The winery produces a wide range of wines from red to white, rosé to sparkling and dessert as well as fortified wines.
Hentley Winery, marked as one of Australia’s finest boutique wineries, offers an authentic wine experience at their historical farmhouse dating back to 1840.
The history of the Jim Barry Winery dates back to 1959 when Jim Barry and his wife Nancy founded one of the original wineries in the Clare Valley. The Barry family name is synonymous with the Clare wine region and their deep ties to the local community continue to this day.
The winery offers a diversity of experiences, from wine tastings and tours or lunch by a renowned local chef, Guy Parkinson.
Simon Tolley is a small wine producer from Adelaide Hills, with exceptional wines produced from the grapes grown in family-owned vineyards.
The natural condition of the hills with steep slopes and lush valleys allow grapes to full ripen with aromas, flavors, and texture intact. Visit Simon Tolley and experience some of Australia’s best wines produced from Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir.
Adelaide is regarded by many as a magical and perfect city because of its wide range of things to do and see, both for visitors and local residents. Despite its small size, the population is just over 24 000 people, Adelaide has regularly been voted one of the most liveable cities in the world and because of its appeal, is visited by approximately 300 000 people daily. The city is an interesting mix of arts, culture, history, and heritage. In 2015, Adelaide became the first and only UNESCO City of Music in the whole of Australia – a designation that acknowledges the city’s deep and rich music culture and influence on the international music scene.
Kangaroo Island – A World Away
Kangaroo Island is considered to be one of the world’s greatest natural attractions with an expanse of 509 km of coast to explore. The bush, wildlife, and animals on the island are a must-see for all visitors to Australia. The island is a heaven for nature lovers with its pristine beaches and wilderness, and unspoiled nature. Kangaroo Island offers visitors a range of experiences from delicious island food and wine to exploring local art and culture, discovering the local wildlife, taking part in adventure activities, walking, hiking, and browsing in museums.
Port Augusta – Experience the Charm of This Former Seaport
Port August is one of the smallest cities in South Australia and was once a seaport. The town is now mainly a road traffic and railway junction hub. The unique location of Port Augusta makes it the ideal starting point for visitors wanting to explore the magnificent Spencer Gulf and discover the Australian Outback. The city is also the perfect place for visitors to learn about the Indigenous People of Australia, as it is considered their official meeting place. One of the biggest tourist attractions of the area is the Wadlata Outback Centre’s Tunnel of the Time, which tells visitors local stories from historical times. It is also where the well-visited Heritage Walk begins, touring visitors through the central business district, showcasing the many charms of Port Augusta.
Experience Remarkable Nature
Southern Australia is heaven for nature lovers with a range of different landscapes to explore. From Sunken gardens, fossil sites, and beautiful lakes have all been formed by natural forces of the Earth and await visitors when they come to visit.
Umpherston Sinkhole – The Sunken Garden
A sinkhole is a hole or depression in the earth that is caused by a collapse in the surface layer. The Umpherston Sinkhole is considered by many to be Australia’s most picturesque sinkholes and is located at Mount Gambier in what is known as the Sunken Garden. This sinkhole was created when the roof of an underground limestone chamber collapsed, leaving a hole in the surface of the earth. In 1886, James Umpherston saw the opportunity to convert the sinkhole into something spectacular and transformed it into a lavish and lush garden that visitors can access via steps, walkways, and terraces.
Blue Lake – Lose Yourself in The Crater of a Volcano
Blue Lake is situated in the crater of an extinct volcano in Mount Gambier. This is a truly breathtaking sight and is open to visitors between December and March. Scientists are still trying to discover what causes the lake to turn pewter during the cooler months of April to November. Visitors to the lake can enjoy a 3.6 km walking track around its perimeter along with a number of viewing platforms to enjoy the scenery.
Wilpena Pound – Nature’s Coliseum
Wilpena Pound is situated within the Flinders Range and is considered to be a natural coliseum. The Pound is 800 million years old and is popular with visitors who enjoy bush walks and vast open landscapes. The most popular trails of the area are the Hills Homestead walk and the Heysen Trail as well as the more challenging hike to the St. Mary’s Peak which is a dramatic 1189 meters high.
Discover the Gastronomic Scene of South Australia
South Australia has earned itself quite a reputation for its incredible food and wine offering, largely thanks to the fertile land and favorable climate which produces the highest quality produce. Specialties of the area include German style foods introduce by German settlers, seafood, pie, fresh fruit and vegetables, locally reared lamb, cheese, artisanal chocolate, locally brewed beer, and the area’s magnificent red and white wines.
Pie Floater – The True Taste of Adelaide
The pie floater is a local favorite, particularly in Adelaide, and consists of traditional Australian meat filled pie submerged in a bowl of pea soup. Pea soup was brought to Australia many years ago with the British settlers and the pie floater was adapted as a part of this dish. Originally, pies were bought from street carts in the late evening and in 2003 this dish was recognized as a South Australian Heritage Icon by the National Trust of Australia.
Grilled Kangaroo – A Dish Found Only in Australia
Kangaroo meat is mainly produced from wild kangaroos as a result of kangaroo population control programs. The meat has for many years been a staple food source for indigenous Australians and is very high in protein and low in fat. The meat is stronger in flavor than other regularly eaten types of meat and can be grilled as various cuts including fillets, steaks, and sausages. Because of the low-fat content of the meat, grilled kangaroo needs to be cooked slowly over the grill until it reaches perfection.
Fennel Masala and Mushroom Pizza – Eat Like a Local
Fennel masala and mushroom pizza is a vegetarian dish enjoyed by the locals of South Australia. This is a twist on a regular pizza and is made by coating mushrooms in a fennel masala jam. The mushrooms are then mixed with herbs and caramelized onions and placed on a flatbread to resemble a pizza. This flatbread is topped with mozzarella cheese and baked until the cheese is melted and the crust is crispy.
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Soil: Acidic, ironstone, sandy loam, sand, clay, limestone, gravel, black soil, terra rossa
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