- Oct 07, 2021
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Introducing one of Australia's finest regions; the famous Barossa Valley
oddbThe Barossa Valley, widely recognised as the wine capital of Australia, is about an hour’s drive north of Adelaide, in the heart of Australia’s prime wine country.
The region was originally colonised by Prussian Lutherans who joined forces with an entrepreneurial Scott, and is named after a Spanish battlefield – where the Brits defeated the French. Talk about mixed heritage!
To add further intrigue, the name, Barossa, is, in fact, a spelling mistake made when entering the region into the register, as the Spanish battlefield in Andalucía is actually called Barrosa.
For a region with such a colourful background, the wines have a remarkable sense of place.
This possibly stems from an element that the wines and the land have in common, namely history. The wineries are often run by the same families that founded them, seven generations on. Barossa Valley is also home to the oldest Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre vines in the world, some of which were planted by the founding families in the region. In fact, it’s such a crucial part of the region’s heritage that in 2009 they introduced the Old Vine Charter, which catalogues all of the old vines in three age categories, in order to preserve and retain these living, gnarly bits of local history.
Some like it hot
Barossa is one of the only wine regions in Australia to have both a cool and warm climate (the Barossa Valley to the west, and Eden Valley on the right). These two areas, separated by a 35 million year old fault line, are very distinct in style, with Eden producing outstanding cool-climate whites and Barossa championing riper, bolder reds, including Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro varieties.
In a pickle
The Lutheran influence can still very much be felt in the region, from the Germanic gingerbread house-esque churches popping up all across the valley, to the family names, German food including sausages in all shapes and sizes and pickled everything, and even the local past-times (Kegel bowling, anyone?)
Many a foodie in Barossa will head straight to celebrity chef Maggie Beer’s Farm shop where you can buy, amongst other delicious things, her famed Pheasant Farm pâté.
Once you’ve eaten your fill of Steiny’s Mettwurst and Maggie Beer’s outrageously good ice creams, you can work off those calories with a jaunt up Menglers Hill which offers sweeping views out across the Barossa Valley. From there, you can take in the rolling hills covered with vineyards, birthplace of some of the finest wines in Australia.
For a curated viewing experience, you can wander around the sculpture park on Menglers Hill, or for the speed demons, you can whizz through it by bike on one of the many cycle trails.