Adelaide is the capital city of the state of South Australia and the gateway to 18 distinctive, world renowned wine regions. Located between the white sand beaches to the west and the cool, rolling hills to the east, Adelaide boasts an eclectic small bar scene, restaurants that embrace Australia’s cultural diversity and the most vibrant food market precinct in the country.
Wine is an integral part of life in Adelaide and the city offers a diverse range of opportunities to taste it and talk about it, combined with excellent local produce and food, stunning scenery and unique tourism experiences. There are more than 200 cellar doors within an hour’s drive of Adelaide city encompassing all manner of varietals and experiences. Some cellar doors are heritage stone buildings, others are contemporary and modern. Many offer excellent dining facilities and tours.
The 18 wine regions South Australia are found in some of the most picturesque parts of the state, from the southern Flinders Ranges (where the great Australian outback begins) and the banks of the mighty Murray River to picturesque Kangaroo Island (KI to the locals), where you can combine wine tasting with spotting wildlife and walking among sea lions.
Adelaide has 30km of white, sandy beaches along its suburban coastline and a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters.
South Australia’s 18 wine regions have a diverse variation in climate, topography, rainfall and terroir resulting in a variety of wines and styles. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc thrive along the ridges and valleys of the cool Adelaide Hills. The Clare Valley produces pristine, crisp, dry Riesling and 300km to the south, the Coonawarra grows exceptional Cabernet and Merlot. While we are world famous for our Shiraz, we have also embraced a greater range of Mediterranean varietals. Grapes such as Grenache, Tempranillo, Nero d’Avola, Sangiovese, Fiano, Vermentino and Mourvedre require less water and thrive in our warm climate with fewer inputs in the vineyard resulting in increased sustainability. The wines made from these grapes in our warm regions, have great natural balance, complexity and flavour.
South Australia has more than 3,400 grape growers, over 700 wineries and an estimated 76,000 hectares under vine. In 2014–15, the industry produced 738,000 tonnes of grapes valued at AUD$470 million. South Australia has more than 300 cellar doors where visitors can taste wines and purchase directly from the vineyard.
The 18 South Australia wine regions are:
- Adelaide Hills
- Clare Valley
- McLaren Vale
- Southern Flinders Ranges
- Currency Creek
- Southern Fleurieu
- Eden Valley
- Adelaide Plains
- Mt Benson
- Mt Gambier
- Langhorne Creek
- Kangaroo Island
Adelaide, a Centre for Research, Winemaking and Viticultural Education
The University of Adelaide School of Agriculture, Food and Wine is a world-class centre for the study of Viticulture and Oenology. The programs have an international reputation for excellence. The Waite campus, 5km from the Adelaide central business district, houses state-of-the-art facilities including its own vineyard, winery and wine science laboratory.
The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), also based at the Waite campus, is the Australian grape and wine industry’s own research organisation. It supports a sustainable and successful grape and wine industry through world-class research, practical solutions and knowledge transfer. Established in 1955, the AWRI is part of a unique Wine Industry Cluster that also includes the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), the national science body the CSIRO, the University of Adelaide’s Wine Science Group and the Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production.
South Australia’s wine history may be short by Old World standards, but it is incredibly rich. This prestigious place in the wine world was born of equal parts vision, planning and hard work. And it all happened quickly. Barely three years after the original Colony was founded in 1836, a German settler saw the immense potential of the area north of Adelaide we now know as the Barossa Valley, noting a resemblance to France’s famous Rhone Valley.
Just a handful of years later, vineyards were flourishing in the Barossa to the north, McLaren Vale to the south and the nearby Adelaide Hills (three of modern South Australia’s pre-eminent wine regions) and pioneering winemakers were beginning to make their mark. It is significant that eight of the 13 oldest wine companies or continuously operating brands in Australia are South Australian. Established between 1841 and 1853 they include household names Penfold’s, Orlando, Seppeltsfield, and Yalumba, alongside Bleasdale, Normans, Sevenhill Cellars and Oliver’s Taranga. The likes of Saltram and Hardys Tintara were soon to follow.
South Australia has the some of the oldest producing grape vines in the world because our industry remains Phylloxera free. The State has strict biosecurity measures in place to prevent this root eating bug from taking hold in the wine regions.
Today, the industry supports not only highly regarded, established wine producers, but a large number of exciting young, innovative winemakers who embrace the use of alternative varietals and natural winemaking principles of minimal interventions and organic farming.