Barossa Refresh

 The Barossa Valley, Australia The Barossa Valley, Australia


Barossa is South Australia’s single most important winemaking zone. Named for a Spanish battlefield in the Napoleonic Wars, the Barossa was largely carved up among wealthy English landowners in the 1830s, but populated in 1842 by German-speaking Prussian Lutherans fleeing religious persecution in their home country (and only too happy to plant vines).

The region was pivotal in the evolution of Australian wine in the 1970s and 1980s, helping to bring fine Australian wine to a global audience. The diverse range of wines from the region have won over the world’s wine lovers, from wine writers and sommeliers to wine geeks and novices.

Shiraz is the Barossa’s star performer, but varieties like Grenache, Mourvedre/Mataro, Riesling and Semillon all have a long and distinguished history of producing exceptional wines.



Barossa Valley is the region that sits within the Barossa ZONE, which also encompasses Eden Valley (and Eden Valley’s sub region High Eden). The Barossa zone is divided into two parallel valleys, Barossa Valley GI and Eden Valley GI.  (See image below)

The Adelaide Superzone encompasses the Barossa Zone, Fleurieu and Mount Lofty Ranges.


 Overview of Australia Overview of Australia


  • The region has a Mediterranean climate ideal for full-bodied red wines, excellent fortified wines and generally robust white wines.
  • The climate ranges from warm on the valley floor to cool at the higher altitudes in the hills surrounding the Valley.
  • The region has a large diurnal temperature range, high maximum temperatures, high sunshine days and  low humidity and rainfall.



  • The soils vary widely, but fall in a family of relatively low-fertility clay loam through to more sandy soils, ranging through grey to brown to red.
  • As in so much of south-east Australia, acidity increases in the subsoils, restricting root growth and vigour.



The region continues to produce Australia’s hottest and heaviest styles of Shiraz, sometimes verging on port-like concentration, mouthfeel and alcohol. Plantings of the grape skyrocketed on the Barossa Valley floor during the style’s boom in the 1990s, and Penfolds “Grange,” Australia’s most collectible red wine, is almost wholly a product of Barossa Shiraz fruit. Other top Shiraz bottlings from the valley include Elderton’s “the Command,” and Torbreck’s “RunRig” and “The Laird”—the latter a micro-production wine first released in 2005 with a price tag surpassing even “Grange.” Sommeliers and many wine drinkers may be looking for restraint, but much of Barossa moves relentlessly forward, headstrong.