Barossa Valley, found just north of Adelaide (South Australia), is arguably Australia’s most important wine region. It is famous for the very high quality of grapes grown and wine produced within the region, but it also functions as an operational hub in which much of the juice gathered in surrounding appellations is processed into wine.
Some of the oldest and most important plantings in Australia are domiciled in the Barossa Valley. Settled in the 19th century by German immigrants, early plantings were dominated by Riesling. Riesling still plays an important role in the region, as well as Semillon and Chardonnay among white wines. Nonetheless, the reds of the Barossa are what come to mind for many wine consumers. Early Shiraz plantings can be traced back to the 1860’s, and today the region produces some of the most sought-after red wines from Australia. Given the popularity of GSM blends, in support of the Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre plantings are also significant, along with Cabernet Sauvignon. Many of these early vineyards - dry-farmed, bush vines – are still in production today.
The Barossa Valley experiences a Continental climate but there is a great deal of terrain diversity, leading to considerable variation in the micro- and meso-climates. The valley floor locations experience warmer temperatures with less day/night variation, while vineyards located at higher elevations, or on less exposed slopes, experience lower daytime temperatures and cooler evenings.
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