First planted in 1836, the Adelaide Hills is a region that is steeped in the viticultural traditions of yesterday but also embraces the innovations and inspirations that will lead to tomorrow’s great wines. Located in the Mount Lofty Ranges just to the east of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, the Adelaide Hills region stretches about 45 miles(72 km) north to south and is one of the largest wine regions in all of Australia by total land acreage. There are two sub-regions within the Adelaide Hills appellation: Lenswood and Picadilly Valley.
While large in area, the production of Adelaide Hills is small in scale due to its cool climate, topographical diversity, and poor soils. Rising from 100-600 meters (300-2000 feet) above sea level, the Adelaide Hills region allows for growers to produce wines that are diametrically opposed to the massive, powerful styles found in hotter regions. While Shiraz is still a popular grape to grow in the region, there is much more diversity in varietal wines, as Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, and even Gruner Veltliner have passionate followers. Wineries have found great success here with sparkling wines as well, with the slower ripening of the grapes allowing for a more elegant and refined product. There is also a growing movement of innovative and experimental winemaking taking hold, as some winemakers are experimenting with spontaneous fermentations, oxidative methods, minimal sulfur use, and other techniques that lead to more “wild” flavors and less conventional styles of wine.
While certainly a destination for quality wine, Adelaide Hills also boasts an incredible array of dining, culture, and activities that make it a popular destination for Adelaideans and tourists looking to escape the city.