Located at the Northern tip of the Barossa Valley, these subregions are home to some the finest and most sort after wines in the world.
However this area is not without its grape growing challenges, to give a couple examples the meso climate leaves the vines susceptible to frost in early the spring from budburst on, and one severe frost has the potential to virtually wipe-out the entire crop for the coming year. This area is also has a lower average annual rainfall than the Middle and Southern areas of the Barossa, therefore making irrigation, and it’s monitoring and maintenance nearly a full time job during certain periods of the summer and early Autumn.
These challenges also have their rewards, the meso climate that gives this area the cold nights and dry summers offer up excellent conditions to grow very consistent premium quality red wine grapes. In an average climatic year during the fruits ripening period the cooler nights give the vine a chance to recover from the warm summer and autumn days as well as helping the fruit to ripen more slowly and evenly, resulting in some nicely structured and well balanced fruit. The lower rainfall is of benefit as it restricts the vines growth resulting in more concentrated fruit and also decreases the likelihood of diseases such as powdery and downy mildew and botrytis.
The landscapes in this subregion are the oldest in Southern Australia dating back 200 million years, parts of this landscape could quite possibly the most ancient surface planted to vines anywhere in the world. The soils in this region are typically brown, loamy sandy to clay loam (20-30cm deep) over deep red clay; these soils have been forming over millions of years of weathering. These soils do not make water all that readily available for the grape vine, thus restricting the amount of vigour and growth the vine has. These result in a smaller vine canopy and smaller grape berries, giving the fruit a nice amount of sunlight, evenly spaced bunches, giving the smaller berries more intense flavours, aromatics and wine colour.
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What you're drinking when you buy an "Estate" wine.
So you may spot the phrase “Estate Grown” or “Estate made” or “Estate Grown and made” in a winery’s marketing or even on the wine label itself and ask yourself…. What does it all mean?