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South Australian Vineyards and Wineries

Updated on August 15, 2011

South Australia produces about 65 per cent of the wines and 83 per cent of the brandy made in Australia. In the equable dry climate of the southern and eastern regions of the State, seemingly endless kilometres of vineyards stretch over valleys, plains and hillsides. The State has eight distinct grape-growing regions: the Barossa Valley, the Wine Coast or Southern Vales region of the Fleurieu Peninsula, the Clare Valley, Murraylands, Riverland, the Adelaide Hills, the Coonawarra area, and Boston Bay on the Eyre Peninsula.

Map of the Barossa Valley - courtesy Google.
Map of the Barossa Valley - courtesy Google.

The Barossa Valley

Australia's most famous wine-producing area, the Barossa Valley, is located about 55 kilometres north-east of Adelaide. It is a warm and intimate place of charming old towns, with vineyards spreading across undulating hills in well-tended, precise rows.

The Barossa Valley was named in 1837 by Colonel William Light, surveyor-general of South Australia, in memory of Barrosa in Spain, where he had fought a decisive battle in 1811. The recorded spelling 'Barossa' was an error that was never rectified. The district was settled in 1839 by English and German settlers. Today the Barossa Valley has a distinctive culture and atmosphere that derives from this German concentration in the mid-nineteenth century and is evidenced in the vineyards, the bakeries and the Lutheran churches that dot the valley.

The Barossa Valley produces some 10 percent of Australia's wine, including some of its finest brandies, dry and sweet table wines, and fortified styles of wine. Some of the most famous wineries of the Barossa Valley are Yalumba, Orlando, Penfolds and Seppelts. Some of these wineries are still run by members of the same families that established them over one hundred and fifty years ago. Others have been taken over by large international companies -- but the distinctive qualities of the wine remain. There are many medium-size wineries making excellent wines, such as Wolf Blass, Basedow and Barossa Vines, and even more boutique wineries specializing in producing a small number of quality wines, including Barossa Settlers, Henschke, Grant Burge and Elderton.

The Wine Coast or Southern Vale

The Wine Coast or Southern Vales region, which is particularly suitable for red wines, lies on the Fleurieu Peninsula, just south of Adelaide. Nestled in the gentle folds of the Mount Lofty Ranges with a westerly view to the sea lies McLaren Vale, the centre of this wine-growing area. There are over fifty wineries in the region, among them Chapel Hill, Hardy's Reynella, James Haselgrove, Seaview and Wirra Wirra, and they range from the very large to the very small. In most of these wineries, the person who greets you at the cellar door is the person who makes the wine.

The Clare Valley

The vineyards of the Clare Valley are about 130 kilometres north of Adelaide and produce fine table wines, riesling, chablis and some terrific reds. Two of the better known of the twenty-odd wineries in this district are Eaglehawk Estate and Leasingham Wines.

Vineyards in the Clare Valley. Photo © Nemingha 2009.
Vineyards in the Clare Valley. Photo © Nemingha 2009.

Murraylands and Riverland

The Murraylands region extends from Middleton Estate Wines at Middleton, north-east to Willowglen Wines near the Murray Bridge. Another wine region that includes a stretch of the Murray River near the South Australian-Victorian border is Riverland. Famous for a wide range of products from top-quality table wines to ouzo and brandy, the region is represented by such wineries as Kingston Estate at Kingston and extends eastwards to Angove's near the town of Renmark.

The Adelaide Hills

There are vineyards scattered throughout the Adelaide Hills. Wineries to the north - an area noted especially for its riesling - include Hamiltons, Craneford and Grand Cru Estate. Closer to Adelaide are Petaluma and Stonyfell Wineries.

Coonawarra

Vineyards at Coonawarra in the far south-east of the State produce magnificent red wines, acclaimed by some to be the finest in Australia, from a small area of unique rich red volcanic soil - examples are Ladbroke Grove, Mildara and Rouge Homme. Further vineyards have recently been established in the region at Keppoch and Padthaway, and are producing some excellent wines.

Boston Bay

Perched on the southern tip of the spectacular Eyre Peninsula, Boston Bay is one of Australia's newest wine regions. With national award recognition for the region's first major vintage, its reputation as 'home of the great white shark' is rapidly changing to 'home of great white wines'.

Contact Details

Most of the South Australian wineries are open for inspection, tastings and cellar-door sales. For further information about hours of inspection and winery tours, contact the:

South Australian Tourism Commission Travel Centre
18 King William Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Phone: +61 88 303 2220
Email: InformationAndBookings@SouthAustralia.com
Open: Monday to Fri - from 08:30 AM to 05:00 PM


See also the links to individual wineries below

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    • culturesenrichme profile image

      Sherlyn 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      I have only been 2 Cairns and Brisbane in Queensland with my parents in 1999, 14 years ago.. :) I have always wanted 2 visit Melbourne as I heard that Melbourne has many vintage fashion stores..

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      I enjoyed the tour through wine country. I have had Penfolds and Greg Normans; and many other Australian wines that I do not recall the name of. They are excellent. And so are you.

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