The Barossa Valley northeast of Adelaide is the nucleus of Australian viticulture and to this day also one of its great "engines". In the extensive valley, absolute top producers from larger operations to "boutique wineries" share the area with large production and trading houses such as Penfolds, Peter Lehmann and others, which with their output have a 50% share of Australia's total wine production.
The history of winemaking here began sometime between 1840 and 1850, and then came the birth of Penfolds and its subsequent rise to become one of the most important and influential operations anywhere. Penfolds' "Grange" has made wine history and is still considered one of the world's greatest cult wines.
In the Barossa Valley, about 13,000 hectares are under vines, the areas of which are distributed between the actual valley floor and the hilly areas in the east (Eastern Barossa). At the bottom of the valley, completely unsuitable soils alternate with deep soils ideally suited for viticulture, which produce mainly heavy and rich red wines, but also fortified wines in the port style. Wines in the east are somewhat lighter due to their cooler, higher elevation.
The Barossa Valley, with its Shiraz, gave rise to the Australian style and its emergence on the world stage. In many cases, because of the lack of water, one can still find bush vine growing, which copes better with drought than other forms of growing. The vine pest largely destroyed the vineyards at the end of the 19th century, but here and there there are still small stocks of rootless vines that can look back on an age of up to 150 years. The wine from these Shiraz vines is of unique expressiveness.
A list of the valley's producers reads like a Who's Who of Australian viticulture; nowhere on the continent are more top wines produced than here.