Eden Valley, South Australia

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Eden Valley Wine Region

Eden Valley is an ideal region in which to discover top-notch wines, famous for producing premium red and white styles that have long captivated wine lovers on a global scale. Plush shiraz and pristine riesling thrive here.

Eden Valley rejoices in cool-climate wine styles and has procured itself a first-class name through some of South Australia’s oldest vines set against a striking landscape. Explore the selection of cellar doors and sample the region’s most celebrated varieties. Beyond its distinctive ageworthy rieslings, Eden Valley is increasingly proving its red credentials with rich examples of cabernet sauvignon and red-fruited, layered shiraz.

Eden Valley is the high-country neighbour and subregion of the Barossa Valley, with Clare Valley a 90-minute drive to the north. Nature lovers can also take advantage of the region’s sloped and contoured landscape to embark on the looped Lavender Federation Walking Trail for spectacular views.

James Halliday on Eden Valley

Captain Joseph Gilbert planted the first vines at his Pewsey Vale vineyard in 1847, the same year as Johann Gramp planted the first vines in the Barossa Valley at Rowland Flat. By 1862 Gilbert had established a substantial vineyard and cellar described in a series of articles published in the Adelaide Advertiser and ultimately collected in a book entitled The Vineyards and Orchards of Australia in 1862. Sixteen acres (6.5 hectares) of vines were in full bearing, and the two-storey winery was in the course of being doubled in size. He was producing Riesling, Shiraz and Carbonet (an odd spelling of Cabernet Sauvignon), with stocks going back to 1852, his first vintage, and including a then-famous 1854 Riesling. So the Eden Valley has an equally long history of viticulture, and (surprisingly) covers an area as large as the Barossa Valley proper, albeit less intensely developed.

High Eden is an officially registered subregion at the southern end of the Eden Valley. Its generally higher altitude (450– 550 metres) results in a cooler climate and a later harvest time; wind, too, provides a constant challenge here, met either by protected site selection or windbreaks. Mountadam and Gatt Wines are the only wineries in the subregion.

However, the Eden Valley proper is also windswept country; exposed hills with moderately steep gradients are commonplace. Slope, aspect and – in particular – a degree of protection from wind are as important as the correct match of site and variety. Because the topography is so varied, and the climate neatly balanced, the Eden Valley produces a range of excellent wines. It is justifiably famous for its Riesling, vying for supremacy with the Clare Valley, but is also home to renowned Shiraz vineyards. In 1952 Cyril Henschke, whose family had been in the area since 1868, and who both grew grapes and made wine in bulk for sale to other wineries (and to customers with BYO containers for filling), decided to bottle and label the Mount Edelstone Shiraz. This pre- dated Hill of Grace by six years, first bottled in 1958 – both wines of extreme importance for Australia’s international reputation.

The other event of lasting significance was a decision by Yalumba in 1961 (and running on through the 1970s). In what now seems like a perfectly obvious move, but which at the time took both courage and vision, it began to move the sources of all its all-important Riesling from the warmer floor of the Barossa Valley to the much cooler slopes of the Eden Valley. Pewsey Vale came first, its early Rieslings having immediate success, and encouraging Yalumba to follow up with Heggies (and its evocative label) in 1971.

Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot all do well in the Eden Valley, too; Irvine Wines was an early harbinger of the popular move to and interest in Merlot.

South Australia Facts

South Australia Wineries 39
South Australia Tasting Notes 3189


Latitude 34°35'S
Altitude 380-550 m
Heat Degree Days 1390
Growing Season Rainfall 280 mm
Mean January Temp 19.4°C
Harvest Mid March to early May
  • SA
  • Eden Valley