South Australia: A Wine Oasis

If you thought that all Australia had to offer was poisonous snakes, deadly jellyfish, crazy wallabies and Mad Max you’ve obviously never heard of (or been to) the Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale.

Over the last 20 years we’ve checked out Shiraz from every region that is civilized enough to produce it. We found two areas that have over all that time continued to intrigue us – yes, the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.

Maybe it’s our propensity for adventure, but after many a plane ride, camel caravan, jungle trek, 4-wheel drive excursion, and wagon train journey to more places than we care to admit, we came around to the fact that these two little gems were truly the greatest home of Shiraz in the world and that we had to make our inaugural Layer Cake wine from there.

Separated only by a range of hills, this world-class-wine-producing region set in the southern crook of the country, is an oasis of calm, sun-drenched beauty, warm people, incredibly rich soils, a cool ocean breeze, and original Shiraz cuttings from Europe, predating the destructive spread of phylloxera in the late 1800s.

The Barossa and Mclaren Vale are a rarity; phylloxera has never existed there. These vines live in the land that time forgot. The ancient ones with a direct bloodline dating back thousands of years to the beginning of Shiraz – somewhere in the very cradle of civilization itself. Their offspring were brought to Australia in the 1830s across tumultuous oceans on square rigged wood ships.

Now, we do run across the odd poisonous snake and one of our crew had a sighting of Mad Max (after a very long night overseeing the wine bottling, mind you); however, we can safely say that there are few places that rival the Barossa and McLaren Vale for lowering your blood pressure and enjoying a long day of, well, not doing too much

Other stories and recipes from our journeys can be found in the One True Vine Journal 001. You can purchase a copy here: