The Dirt on Australia’s Barossa

Take us to the Barossa! A vibrant community of artisan food producers, rich viticulture inspired by European tradition, all kicking back in a wonderfully hot climate. Oh, and there’s plenty of wine too.

crm_barossa_12sep14_blogThe Barossa is more than the beating heart of Australia’s wine industry and in every bottle there’s roughly 165 years of innovation. How much do you actually know about this booming region of Australia? We’ve turned over a few rocks, (luckily none had spiders underneath) and  found that this leading world wine hot spot has quite the hidden personality…

 BAROSSA CHECKLIST:

  • Australia’s most famous wine region
  • Houses more than 150 wineries
  • Some of the oldest vines in the world live here
  • It’s bloody hot!
  • Barossa Shiraz has great ageing potential

COMING UP ROSES

 In Spanish, ‘barrosa’ means ‘hill of roses’ – a brilliant description of a place as rich and fertile as the Barossa Valley. But how did those crafty Spaniards bring their language to South Australia? They didn’t. A Brit did! Surveyor and Lieutenant, William Light. Willy was sentimental about a battle he fought against the French on Barrosa Ridge in Andalusia, so when he discovered the Barossa Ranges and Valley in 1837, he named what would become Australia’s most famous wine producing hotspot!

BACKYARD ENTREPRENEURS 

1837 onwards – In the pioneering days there was a craving among Australia’s English settlers for a decent glass of wine with their meals; wine which hadn’t been spoilt travelling through the tropics. Entrepreneurs of the time spotted that need for a local wine source and domestic grape growing grew rapidly. After all, these were people who had been bred drinking fancy Bordeauxs and Burgundies in their very backyard.

1848-49 – Ta-da!  The first Barossa Valley wines made their way into the world. The British Government relaxed duties on wine entering Britain, and innovative Aussies began competing with the French, (the Barrosa Ridge battle all-over again!). Germans got in on the action massively – with settlers from Silesia shaping the Barossa wine industry, turning to vineyard work after fleeing persecution in Prussia. Much better than running away to the circus, we’d think.

21st century – Today, the Barossa gives us full-bodied red wines, robust whites and even rich fortified wines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are the Barossa big boys with European inspiration flowing in from Grenache and Mourvedre. Chardonnay, Riesling and Semillon now feature heavily too.

 RAISING THE STEAKS  

You’ve likely tried Wolf Blass wines? That’s textbook Barossa. What about Penfolds? Premium Barossa right there. Even the oldest family-owned winery in Australia, Yalumba – they’re Barossa born and bred! This is a wine region with celebrity on an international scale, probably because it’s an absolute dream to drink. All that history just makes it taste that little bit richer.

Blue-sky thinkers say ‘the best yet to come’ but is that the case with Barossa wines? Is there anything better than its monumental collection of bold, fruit bomb reds that are soul mates to a big, juicy steak? The future focus is on planting vines at higher altitudes, up on the incline of the Barossa Ranges. This will bring more freshness to the wines and greater complexity – and Virgin Wines wil be vying to seek such freshies out first!

Thirsty for a Barossa beast?

Have a nosy at our hottest Barossa wines now.

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