The Barossa Grounds project is an ongoing journey to investigate and articulate the diverse characteristics of vineyards in the different “parishes” (townships or loosely defined sub-regions) of the Barossa Valley and their influence on wine style, particularly Barossa Shiraz.
The Barossa Grounds project began with an emerging realisation that for a world famous wine region with over 160 years of continuous winemaking – and a repository of some of the oldest vines in the world – there was an apparent deficiency in authoritative data about our landscapes, our soil types, our meso-climates, and the impact of these factors on our wines.
The process of defining the ‘grounds’ began in 2008 with annual tastings from 80 sites around the Barossa, to systematically understand and describe the diversity of flavours of Barossa Shiraz. The Barossa Grape & Wine Association (BGWA), in partnership with Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), has recently taken this a step further with a project designed to map consistencies and differences between the Barossa grounds in terms of soil type/available water-holding capacity, temperature, rainfall, and elevation.
This report not only demonstrates the amazing complexity of influences on Barossa Shiraz, it also provides a scientific record of the information that previously only existed in growers’ and winemakers’ heads for six generations of Barossa grape growing and winemaking.
The BGWA now also has analysis of the sensory data arising from the annual tastings of 80 sites, and the evidence indicates some groupings of wine characteristics exist within the Barossa Valley. This evidence has been strengthened with a small batch winemaking trial by BGWA and PIRSA during vintage 2014, which produced six examples of Barossa Shiraz from different ‘grounds’, picked at similar Baume and made by one winemaker with no oak influence.
The journey of discovering the Barossa Grounds continues.
For further information, contact Nicki Robins, BGWA Viticultural Development Officer: email@example.com