Cool with Altitude
The coolness from the altitude of the Adelaide Hills impacts strongly on the region's wines, in addition to the changing seasons and the skill and passion of its winemakers. Vines were planted in the Adelaide Hills as early as the 1870s however due to the challenges of cool-climate viticulture in those early days, most of these vines were removed by the 1930s. The regeneration of the Adelaide Hills region started in 1970s and gained rapid pace with the rise in popularity of cool climate wines in the 1980s and 1990s and this trend continues today.
The cooler climate defines the Adelaide Hills and provides them with a significant point of difference to other South Australian regions that has allowed it to spearhead the evolution of Australian wine in recent years. The winemaking evolution continues today, and it is now a hotbed of wine creativity; home to bold, boundary-pushing grape growers and winemakers.
Adelaide Hills snapshot
The regeneration of the area as a wine region began with winemaker Brian Croser and his family planting Chardonnay in the region in 1979. Brian had identified the potential of the region as one of the best places in Australia to plant cool climate loving varieties. He was soon joined by other Australian wine pioneers including Stephen George at Ashton Hills, Geoff Weaver in Lenswood and Michael Hill Smith and Martin Shaw at Shaw and Smith. Today there are around 100 producers in Adelaide Hills who have planted over 4,000 hectares of vines between them.
While still a young wine region, the Adelaide Hills has been acclaimed around the world for many years for wonderful expressions of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz. The region has played a vital part in the evolution of Australian wine and is itself constantly evolving. Emerging varieties are finding a home in the Hills and it is home to cutting-edge winemakers pushing the boundaries and expanding the possibilities for fine Australian wine.
Total vineyard area
Complex medium weight wines with good natural acidity. A decent amount of Chardonnay, especially from the cooler sites, is used in the production of sparkling wine.
Top varieties grown in Adelaide Hills
Altitude creates various meso-climates but overall the climate is cool
The region is very hilly with various valleys and sub-valleys
Some west facing slopes in the northern area are warm enough to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon
Most of the region is best suited to early ripening varieties
Predominantly grey-brown or brown loamy sands
Some patches of mostly sandy soils