The landscape of Adelaide Hills rises and falls between 400 and 700 metres above sea level. And all throughout, over 60 wineries can be found. With its backdrop of lush farms, orchards, dairy farms, and historical landmarks, it is easy to forget that this haven for some of Australia’s best wine growers and producers is a mere 20-minute drive from the central business district.
What makes an adelaide hills winery different from others in Australia? And why is it widely considered as one of the best cool-climate wine regions in the country? Read on to find out.
Adelaide Hills’ identity as one of Australia’s premier wine regions is closely tied to its unique climate zone. Within this zone are areas that are above 300 metres, with cool, dry summers and even cooler autumns.
Aside from the cool temperature, Adelaide Hills has the ideal amount of rainfall. Along with its changing seasons and cool temperatures, it creates the perfect condition for the grapes to mature gradually, build concentration, and accumulate a relatively high level of natural acidity.
The Sauvignon Blanc from an adelaide hills winery stands out for its fruit freshness, sharp acidity, and vigour. The red wine sits comfortably between light and medium bodied. The sparkling wine is fine but brisk and spirited.
Aside from its climate zone, part of the cool temperature in Adelaide Hills can be attributed to its altitude.
Adelaide Hills is located in the Mount Lofty Ranges. It lies in the east of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. It straddles a narrow band of about 70 km, undulating between lows of 400 metres above sea level to highs of about 700 metres.
Some of the highest vineyards sit at an altitude between 600 metres and 650 metres in areas such as Carey Gully, Summertown, Piccadilly, and Crafers. They produce wines that are typically very crisp but elegant, showcasing the power of flavour development and acid retention.
The topography in Adelaide Hills is as diverse as its climate, with a wide range of varying structures and chemistry.
The soil in Adelaide Hills can be characterised as a mixture of sandy loams and clay loams over clay subsoils. Still, it is not unusual to find shale and ironstone combined in the soil structure. Most of it is acidic. While some areas have neutral acidity, you could rarely find areas that are alkaline.
Depth is another soil characteristic that is highly variable in Adelaide Hills. It can range from steep slopes to rolling hills. As a result, the tops of the hills have shallow, stony soils, while the bottoms have deep, peat-like clays.
Each adelaide hills winery has a distinctive wine style, depending on what type of soil it sits on. Those in the low-lying areas with heavy soils typically produce wine with great vigour, while those in the higher altitudes with stony soil allow for more vigour control.
Adelaide Hills hosts wineries of all sizes and varying scales. Some produce only a few hundred bottles every year, making wine intimately with their hands and their hearts. Others are more prolific, with some of their wine bottles reaching as far as London, New York, and Shanghai. But one thing that they have in common, and plenty of, is the passion for winemaking.
Ester Adams is a farmer of words in the field of creativity. She is an experienced independent content writer with a demonstrated history of working in the writing and editing industry. She is a multi-niche content chef who loves cooking new things.