The Barossa Valley in South Australia, about 70 km northeast of the city of Adelaide, is one of Australia's oldest wine regions. Unlike most of Australia’s viticulture, which was heavily influenced by the British, the Barossa Valley wine industry was founded by German settlers fleeing persecution from the Prussian province of Silesia in what is now Poland.
The warm Mediterranean climate of the region promotes the production of very ripe grapes that were the linchpin of the early Australian fortified wine industry. But as the modern Australian wine industry shifted towards red table wines in the late-20th century, the Barossa Valley gained favour due to its reputation for producing mostly shiraz.
During this period the name Barossa Valley first appeared on wine labels. In the 1970s and 1980s, boutique family labels emerged specialising in old vine shiraz wines that began to capture international attention for the distinctive Barossa style of shiraz – a full-bodied red wine with rich chocolate and spice notes. This led to a Barossa renaissance that catapulted the region to the forefront of the Australian wine industry where it is today.
Many shiraz vines in the Barossa Valley are decades old. In Tanunda, which is home to the oldest commercially producing grape vines, originally planted in 1847, some vineyards have vines planted 100-150 years ago. Other grape varieties grown in the Barossa include grenache, cabernet sauvignon, riesling, chardonnay and semillon.