Barossa Valley wine region
For viticulturists, oenophiles or those who just like to try different wines, your travel to Australia should include a visit to the Barossa wine country in South Australia, the largest and the most famous wine producing region in Australia. Located only one hour from Adelaide, your trip to Barossa will be an easy and pleasant addition to your Australia vacation.
The Barossa is one of the oldest wine growing areas in Australia. Unlike the other states, South Australia was a free settlement and after the colony was proclaimed, a German mineralogist was asked to survey the hills north of Adelaide to see if vineyards and orchards could be planted. When found to be a suitable region, 200 German Lutherans immigrated to this area and through hard work and patience, the wine industry developed. Some of the original Shiraz vines dating back to 1842 are still in existence.
From small family vineyards to large corporations, the Barossa is the largest wine producing region in Australia. Some of the vineyards are in their seventh generation of operation and the oldest family-owned winery is in Angaston. Bordering the Barossa are rolling hills to the east and west. The higher elevations of the Eden Valley in the east, has crisper air and cooler temperatures, resulting in some of the best Rieslings in Australia. As well, this area also produces some other great whites - Semillon and Chardonnay. This is in contrast to the lower elevation of the Barossa Valley where temperatures are warmer and the vineyards smaller. This environment is perfect for red wine and the Barossa is renowned worldwide for the full bodied reds it produces – Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. In addition with blending of wines, many small vineyards are producing some very good and interesting wine varietals.
Although surpassed by the wine industry, there is also an abundance of local food producers. Found in local stores and restaurants, sold to other Australian states and internationally, the produce from the Barossa has a reputation for its quality. From mettwurst and other German meats, dried fruit, cheese, preserves, to olive oil, vinegars, herbs and spices, these can be found in the local country stores. The Barossa has a weekly Farmers Market as well as a weekly Craft Market. And along with great food and wine, comes great eating places. Be it small local cafes, al fresco style dining on a vineyard or more of a fine dining experience you will find it all in the Barossa.
Even though wine and food is the main reason most travelers come to the Barossa region, there is more to the area. National Parks, trails and reserves are perfect for those who want outdoor activities. The 750 mile Heysen Trail has a section meandering through scenic farmlands in the Barossa bordering a native forest reserve. Several conservation parks are home to over 130 bird species and you can walk a historic trail through the 19th century goldfields. Seasonal flora is a popular time where you can find dazzling fields of wildflowers. And why not take a scenic balloon flight over the patchwork landscape of vines and small villages while enjoying a glass of champagne?
Festivals and Special Events are a big draw to this region. The Barossa Vintage Festival, a week-long festival marking the end of the vintage season, is held in odd numbered years. The Barossa Gourmet weekend is a two day weekend event in August, where local wineries offer wine, food and music. As well the Barossa is a popular spot for motoring events which include an annual Rally Championship, a Hot Rodders Cruise and a motorcycle Trial.
Even if you’re not a wine connoisseur, there is no doubt you will enjoy the beautiful Barossa region.