The Barossa Valley wine region of South Australia was founded by a wealthy, philanthropic English shipping merchant named George Fife Angas, and soon after settled in 1836. The free colony’s first Surveyor General, Colonel William Light named the fertile valley after the Barrosa Ridge in the Spanish region of Andalusia where he fought a famous battle in the Peninsula Wars of 1811. However there was an error in the registration process and a new Australian name was born, Barossa.
Wine has been a way of life in the Barossa since the early 1840’s. The Barossa incorporates both Barossa Valley and Eden Valley, making it one of the only areas in Australia to have neighbouring warm and cool climate growing conditions.
There is approximately 13,260 hectares of vineyards planted in the Barossa - with some 755 grape growing families, many sixth generation, supplying quality grapes to more than 170 wine companies of all shapes and sizes.
From all corners of the valley floor to the highest hills include: Gomersal, Williamstown, Lyndoch, Rowland Flat, Barossa Foothills, Vine Vale, Eden Valley, High Eden, Light Pass, Northern Barossa Valley, Greenock, Seppeltsfield and Marananga.
The best wines of the Barossa sit comfortably alongside the great wines of the world. Barossa Shiraz and Eden Valley Riesling have led the way as the regions heroes, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Mataro (Mourvedre), Grenache, Viognier, Semillon and Tawny style wines all contributing to the Barossa's standing as one of the world's great wine regions. With such a diversity of growing conditions and soil types across both valleys, and vineyards that have been tended by hand for many generations, you are bound to find a favourite wine.
The Barossa Valley, as with other South Australian wine regions, is classified as phylloxera free. The quality wine produced in this region comes from some of the oldest vines in the world. It is vitally important that the Barossa remains vigilant about the threat of phylloxera.
In 2009, the Barossa Old Vine Charter was instituted to register vineyards by age, so that older vines could be preserved, retained and promoted.
The 'Old Vine Charter' groups vineyards into four categories by age:
• Barossa Old Vine - Equal or greater than 35 years of age.
• Barossa Survivor Vine - Equal or greater than 70 years of age.
• Barossa Centenarian Vine - Equal or greater than 100 years of age.
• Barossa Ancestor Vine - Equal or greater than 125+ years of age.
Old vines do not of themselves make good wine. But, vineyards that consistently produce good wine tend to get the opportunity to become old vines. If it should ever be possible to taste history and the past, then it will be through the successful preservation and celebration of an old vine culture.