Straddling the centre of the Australian continent, South Australia is the wine industry’s powerhouse State, producing most of the nation’s wine and boasting some of the oldest individual vines in the world. The venerable old vines found in South Australia’s Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills, through their isolation, survived the great phylloxera plagues that wiped out the vines of North America and Europe, and somewhat later, devastated Australia’s eastern vineyards. Quarantine restrictions were introduced, saving South Australia’s vines from phylloxera, and ensuring the State retained its grape growing status.
In addition to being host to some of the world’s oldest vines, the State also has a diversity of regions ranging from the relatively warm temperate climate of the Barossa Valley through to the maritime precincts of the McLaren Vale, Southern Fleurieu, Currency Creek and Langhorne Creek regions on the Fleurieu Peninsula and across the cooler Adelaide Hills region to the hotter Riverland region on the Murray River.
The south-eastern part of the State includes the Limestone Coast zone and the “terra rossa” soils overlying limestone which give rise to distinct elegant reds of the Coonawarra region. The “Limestone Coast” zone - which also includes the Padthaway, Wrattonbully and Mount Benson regions - is building its own reputation for wines that are not only influenced by the region’s eponymous limestone but the tempering breezes of the nearby Southern Ocean.
Copyright 2005 Wine Australia