Wine Regions

Adelaide Hills Wine Region

The Adelaide Hills wineries map will show a landscape that undulates between some 400 metres and 700 metres above sea level. Adelaide Hills vineyards …

The Adelaide Hills wineries map will show a landscape that undulates between some 400 metres and 700 metres above sea level. Adelaide Hills vineyards are set amongst a mosaic of orchards, verdant farm land, bushland, dairy farms and historical landmarks that conspire in one of Australia’s most scenic wine regions.

 

Adelaide Hills wineries found in this remarkable setting are more broadly surrounded by the Barossa and Eden Valley in the north and McLaren Vale to the south. Adelaide city is west of most of the Adelaide Hills. The Adelaide Hills wine region is defined by its cool climate, on average four degrees cooler by day, and eight degrees by night, than neighbouring Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.

 

The Adelaide Hills is home to some of Australia’s great new-wave wine grower and producer stories, with first plantings dedicated solely to fine wine under the watchful eyes of industry legends. Indeed, the replanting of the Adelaide Hills in the late 1970s and early 1980s was pivotal in Australian wine culture, particularly for sparkling wine, Chardonnay and cool climate Shiraz.

Get to the region

Adelaide Hills vineyards are a mere 20-minute drive from the CBD of Adelaide city, and makes for an easy and spectacular day trip. Public transport is also available, with local bus services travelling at various times, daily, and taxi services affordable and available.

Climate and style in Adelaide Hills

The Adelaide Hills climate zone is intrinsic to Adelaide Hills vineyard definition. The boundaries of the wine region includes all areas in the Adelaide Hills above 300 metres. Temperature and rainfall are also defining factors in Adelaide Hills wines.

 

The Adelaide Hills wine region is delineated as a cool climate growing area. The cool, dry summer and cooler Autumn ripening conditions enables grapes to mature slowly and build concentration with relatively high natural acidity.

 

Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc is noted for its vitality, fruit freshness and brisk acidity, while Adelaide Hills sparkling wine is often fine, frisky and brisk. Adelaide Hills red wine is generally set between light and medium bodied, with Shiraz and Pinot Noir the most notable of red grape varieties. Adelaide Hills red wine has often strayed into ‘dry red’ territory, but fine wine producers have long created wines of elegance and restraint from red grapes in the region.

Key Adelaide Hills varietals

Adelaide Hills vineyards are mostly planted to Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc, with significant plantings of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Adelaide Hills red wine is produced mostly from Pinot Noir and Shiraz, though there are Adelaide Hills wineries using a breadth of other red grapes, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese.

 

Interestingly, the Adelaide Hills wineries map will also show that there has been a focus on the Austrian grape variety Gruner Veltliner, around which a band of Adelaide Hills wineries have created a collective to explore the variety’s potential in the region.

Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc

Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc wines are arguably Australia’s best known and best performing Sauvignon Blancs. While the cool climate of the Adelaide Hills vineyards is notable, Sauvignon Blanc ripens well, producing wines of intense fruitiness and high natural acidity. Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc is typically highly perfume with passionfruit, and tropical fruit fruitiness accompanied by herbal notes and grassiness. The wines are generally zesty and refreshing to taste, generally produced with no or low new oak to ensure fruit character is preserved.

Adelaide Hills Sparkling Wine

Original Adelaide Hills vineyards were planted with the intent of producing high quality, complex Adelaide Hills sparkling wine. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, alongside some Pinot Meunier, were the staples of original Adelaide Hills vineyards, with clones selected for best growing conditions for Adelaide Hills sparkling wines.

 

The higher altitude and cool climate ensure that flavour development and acid retention are inherent in growing grapes for Adelaide Hills sparkling wine. Resulting wines are generally elegant, very crisp and showcase the subtle power of fruit grown for sparkling wines.

Adelaide Hills Chardonnay

Adelaide Hills Chardonnay is known for its elegance and finesse, where power of fruit flavour is matched to leaner, yet flavoursome fruit profiles. Adelaide Hills vineyards produce naturally high in acid Chardonnay grapes that bolster the longevity of wines grown and made in the wine region. These wines tend to be increasingly more about fruit flavour, rather than the buttery, honeyed richness that comes with oak maturation and malolactic fermentation.

Adelaide Hills Wineries

Adelaide Hills wineries

Adelaide Hills wine region was originally planted in the 1840s, but due to unfavourable conditions the region shifted agricultural focus and it wasn’t until the 1970s and 1980s that a resurgence in interest as a grape growing region occurred. New pioneers of the Adelaide Hills wine region included Brian Croser, Stephen George, Geoff Weaver, Michael Hill Smith and Martin Shaw, who had seen the potential of the Adelaide Hills climate zone and began the renaissance. Their wineries included famed, long term producers including Petaluma, Croser, Ashton Hills, Geoff Weaver Wines, Shaw + Smith, amongst other projects.

 

Adelaide Hills wineries now number in excess of 40 cellar doors and a myriad younger-generation wine producers making small batches in shared winemaking facilities. Wine producers from the region of note include The Lane, Hahndorf Hill, Murdoch Hill, Ochota Barrels, Lucy Margaux, Jauma, Deviation Road, Howard Vineyard, BK Wines, Main & Cherry, CRFT, Ngeringa, Paracombe, Whisson Lake Vineyard, Chain Of Ponds, Tash (Natasha Mooney), Bird in Hand, Tilbrook Estate and Guthrie Wines.

The future of Adelaide Hills

The Adelaide Hills is well positioned to capture further attention and excitement of Australian wine drinkers. Adelaide Hills eateries showcase Adelaide Hills gourmet foods, alongside Adelaide Hills apple cider and a vast array of local produce that sits perfectly alongside the Adelaide Hills wine offering – it’s this mesh of food and wine culture, and proximity to Adelaide city, that has created a perfect environment for increased interest in the region.

 

In pure wine terms, Adelaide Hills wineries have the benefit of classically styled, elegant wines of fine wine making culture set alongside a new breed of avant garde, natural wine producers – in equal measure, this combination of winemaking influence and culture has spawned intense interest and scrutiny on the wine growing area, and brought about increased attention to the potential of the wine region.

 

The future is very bright, indeed, the region may be one of Australia’s brightest lights from this matrix of new and old, where vanguard wines of high drinkability and unique personality, sit next to wines of finesse and elegance.

File under:

  • South Australia
  • Chardonnay
  • Cool Climate