Posted: May 12, 2020
– With Peter Bourne –
EDEN VALLEY VERSES THE BAROSSA?
The Barossa Wine Zone covers approximately 14,000 hectares, roughly equal to 10% of Australia’s grape vines. Its long history and close proximity to Adelaide makes it one of our best known winegrowing areas. The Barossa encompasses two wine regions, the powerhouse Barossa Valley and the minnow — Eden Valley — with less than 2,500 hectares under vine.
The climatic differences between the two valleys are as important as the geographic, with the higher Eden Valley (reaching 630 metres) on average two degrees cooler than the lower and warmer Barossa Valley floor. Two degrees may not seem much, but taken over the growing season it means that the grapes in the Eden Valley ripen up to a month later than over than those grown on the Barossa floor.
Neither the Barossa or Eden Valleys are especially steep, although the drive up from the Barossa Valley via the tight switchbacks of Mengler’s Hill (as you do) is dramatic, with the rolling hills of the Eden Valley offering a distinctly different feel to the Barossa floor.
Soil types are another factor in defining the two regions, with the Barossa Valley offering the rich red soils of the banks of Jacob’s Creek (the estuary that gave its name to the wine brand) and the Para River. In contrast, the Eden Valley is raw and rocky with shallow soils — the iconic Steingarten vineyard in the High Eden subregion aptly named. Steingarten is German for ‘stone garden’ and a reminder that it was German vine dressers who first planted grapes in the Barossa way back in the middle of the 19th century.