About the wine region
The Riverland is a literal giant within the Australian wine industry.
As the largest wine producing region in Australia, it is located a little over two hours north-east of Adelaide and stretches west along the Murray River from Paringa to Blanchetown.
Home to just under 1000 wine grape growers with more than 21,000 hectares under vine, it is responsible for a third of the national crush. However, its influence and importance to the national wine industry flows far beyond this.
Its unique character within the Australian wine story is unparalleled and is as equally focussed on scaled farming with smarts as it is with premiumisation in mind. When talking about its contribution in terms of scale, diversity, export value, return on investment, and innovative viticultural understanding and practice, the Australian wine industry would quite simply be far less valuable, profitable or viable without the Riverland.
The Riverland wine story through the ages
For just over 100 years, pioneers, soldier settlers, migrants and commercial business have harnessed the river and farmed the region. With a modern heritage very much influenced by the pioneering spirit of the early-to-mid century, the Riverland’s story is one of innovation, resilience, and commercial acumen.
The beginning of time and before the arrival of the white man when the land was inhabited by the original people of the land. When the river ran free and man and nature lived in harmony.
The wine industry gathers momentum and the Berri Co-operative Winery and Distillery is founded. The Loxton Co-operative Winery records its first crush.
The last two decades has seen the region hone its craft through perseverance, resilience and performance against all the odds. The work that has been done over the last 20 years and through two significant droughts, a global over supply of winegrape fruit, the issue of water supply and the reality of structural adjustment has seen the Riverland emerge as an inland cluster of viable, smart vineyards and wineries. This return on significant investment is immensely important to the region, the state, the nation and the international markets it works and exports within.
The Riverland wine region is a established warm climate wine producing region.
The river flows
The influence of the mighty Murray River, one of the largest and most important in the world, cannot be underestimated when considering its age-old impact on the Riverland region. Without its steadfast passage, the Riverland would simply not exist. Since the dreamtime it has travelled through its terrain, building a complex and diverse wonderland of flora and fauna, and creating the soil and topographical building blocks for one of the most unique wine regions in the world.
Long sunny days, cool temperate nights, and low annual rainfall give rise to a continental style climate of warm summers and mild winters. The endless sunshine of long summer days allows fruit to ripen to its fullest and low humidity means the risk of disease and rot is almost zero. It is the perfect place for growing wine.
Vintage is early for the Australian season and usually kicks off in late January for the white grapes, and for the red varieties in mid-February. Some varieties hold on till March and April.
With European immigrant influences dating back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the Riverland is home to plantings of some 85 different wine grape varieties. These plantings consist of both traditional varietals, which make up 66% of the total grapes grown in the region, and many alternative varieties that make up the rest and are particularly well suited to the Riverland region. Now more than 30 new wave varieties are produced at a commercial scale.
- Cabernet Franc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Chenin Blanc
- Frontignac White
- Gruner Veltliner
- Muscat Red
- Negro Amaro
- Petit Verdot
- Petit Manseng
- Pinot Gris
- Pinot Noir
- Ruby Cabernet
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Tinta Barroca
Sustainability and technology
From the early days of flooding furrows, to the now precision drip irrigation systems and Hands off Hectares project (a partnership with Wine Australia, the AWRI and The University of Adelaide) that uses remote digital sensors for achieving greater water efficiency, science and agriculture have always worked beside each other in partnership. Preservation and sustainability is a priority that the whole community is utterly committed to. The Riverland is now leading the way in sustainable wine production, research and technologies.
Alternative, biodynamic and organic
With its uniquely talented wine community, the Riverland is also at the forefront of organic and biodynamic wine growing and production, and the production of alternative varieties. With the consumer appetite for these winemaking approaches and styles on the rise, the Riverland is now earning its stripes in the world of alternative, boutique, handcrafted and premium wines.