The Barossa: Barossa Grounds
So what are the potential sub-regions of the Barossa?
From north, south, east and west, from valley floor to the highest hills they include, but are not limited to: Gomersal, Williamstown, Lyndoch, Rowland Flat, Barossa Foothills, Vine Vale, Eden Valley, High Eden, Light Pass, Northern Barossa Valley, Greenock, Seppeltsfield and Marananga.
These potential sub-regions are actually some of the original local villages of the settlement – or as Robert O’Callaghan politely corrected me, ‘the parishes’. For a region originally founded on a brave hope for religious freedom, and whose landscape is still punctuated by picturesque stone churches, this seems curiously appropriate.
Obviously, geology and the glacial movement of both land and time are not the only influences in defining character and/or terroir. Above the ground climate, from temperature and sunlight hours through to prevailing winds and rainfall, as well as culture, from people, practice and philosophy through to local football and gastronomic rivalry, will also play its part.
The significance of the geological distinction, however, is twofold: it leans towards empiricism for an idea – terroir – that is often criticised for being too ‘interpretive’; and, it demonstrates that for a young country, and a ‘new’ world, the passing of time and history has indeed had a profound effect.
Ultimately, the discussion and promotion of Barossa sub-regionality should serve to help grower, winemaker, customer and consumer better understand the distinctive hallmark of local place and origin.