SA North Regional Program explores Barossa terroir

The SA North region will wrap-up its 2012-13 Regional Program with a soil pit workshop and Shiraz tastings, culminating in the Barossa Grounds Shiraz Symposium on 29 and 30 May.

Since 2008, Barossa winemakers have conducted tastings of single vineyard Barossa Shiraz wines to investigate what differences or similarities might be due to place, or ‘Barossa Grounds’. Now, with the help of GWRDC funding, the Barossa Grape & Wine Association is investigating what similarities within the physical environment, i.e. soil type, temperature, rainfall, elevation, and aspect might be contributing towards consistently identifiable characteristics and flavours in the local wines.

BGWA Viticultural Development Officer Nicki Robins said: ‘Eight soil pits will be dug; four each in the north and south of the region. Two buses will transport participants in either direction to visit the soil pits. Once there, growers will hear presentations from soil experts, fellow viticulturists and winemakers’.

‘The objective of the soil pit workshop is to provide insight into good management of Shiraz.  It will highlight differences between red brown earth, sand over clay, alluvial soils and Biscay or black cracking clays, and provide discussion on management strategies each soil type brings’, Nicki said.

On the second day of the workshop, participants will taste Shiraz wines from the different ‘Barossa Grounds’, as well as different Shiraz clones. The Barossa Shiraz wines will also be compared with international examples at different price points.

Phenological data collected during the season in vineyards adjoining each soil pit is also being collated and, in due course, will be added to the climatic data for inclusion in the web-based map being created by PIRSA as part of the Barossa Grounds Project.

Symposia for Riesling and Semillon a resounding success

Earlier in 2012-13, Riesling and Semillon symposia were held to discuss the vineyard management, wine style and marketing of the respective varietals.

‘The in-field element of the symposia allowed participants to talk to Riesling or Semillon growers onsite, to gain a greater understanding about how to optimise the variety’, Nicki said.

Australian Vintage Chief Executive Neil McGuigan spoke at the Semillon symposium about the future marketing potential for local Semillon wines, which Nicki said was well received by attendees.

Busy year ahead for SA North

Looking to 2013–14, Nicki expressed her appreciation for GWRDC funding to help support the Barossa’s ‘Next Crop’ leadership program.  This initiative was successfully launched in 2011 to give 20-25 members of the next generation of Barossa growers the opportunity to implement a range of updated skills into their family or vineyard business.

In early 2014, SARDI scientist Mark Sosnowski will present another Eutypa dieback workshop in the Barossa, sharing the latest news from his research and conducting in-field demonstrations about how to manage the disease in the vineyard.

GWRDC funding has also been provided to the Step Up Soil Condition program, allowing 20 growers from each of the Barossa and Clare Valleys to participate in four workshops that ultimately assist in the development of a soil management action plan following soil sampling and testing to improve overall soil quality.

Finally, growers in the Clare Valley will be invited to attend workshops focussed on weed management and Australian grapevine yellows.

For more information, contact Adrian Loschiavo, GWRDC Program Manager, adrian@gwrdc.com.au

Image: Attendees enjoyed Riesling and paella at the BGWA Riesling Symposium, held in October 2012.

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