Straddling the center of the Australian continent, the state of South Australia is home to the best Australian wine regions, and producer of many of its most popular wines. South Australia wine regions range from the relatively warm temperate climate of the Barossa Valley to the maritime precincts of McLaren Vale, Southern Fleurieu, Currency Creek and Langhorne Creek regions on the Fleurieu Peninsula, as well as the cool Adelaide Hills region and the hotter Riverland region on the Murray River.
By virtue of their isolation, the venerable old vines of South Australia’s Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills survived the great phylloxera (root louse) epidemics that plagued the vines of Europe and North America and, somewhat later, devastated Australia’s eastern vineyards. Quarantine restrictions were introduced, saving South Australia’s vines from phylloxera and ensuring the state retained its status as a leader in wine production.
The southeastern part of the state includes the Limestone Coast zone and the “terra rossa” soils overlying limestone that help produce the distinctive, elegant red wines of the Coonawarra region. The Limestone Coast, which also includes the Padthaway, Wrattonbully and Mount Benson regions, is building its own reputation for wines that are not only influenced by the region’s namesake limestone but also the tempering breezes of the nearby Southern Ocean.