People from all over the world travel to Australia to taste these wines.
There’ve been plenty of guesses, but nobody REALLY knows who planted the first vines in the Barossa Valley – but we all know the results. The Barossa Valley in South Australia is where wine making in Australia began, and it’s where many of our most famous wines were conceived.
James Lindner and his family have become the custodians of one of the Barossa’s most enchanting vineyards. During his travels as sales and marketing manager, he hears first hand what people think of the region’s wines. “The Barossa I think would be the number one wine region in Australia. I think that’s reflected internationally as probably the most prominent premium wine area from a country recognised all over the world now.”
The foundations of the region were established by the influx of European migrants in the mid 19th century. Many German families had made the difficult four month journey to begin a new life in this little Eden. They brought all the trades from home…quite literally the butcher, the baker and maybe the blacksmith. In 1834 when they were arriving and the village of Langmeil (now part of Tanunda) was established, the colony was only a few years old and the nearest big centre – Adelaide – was 3 days away. If you wanted something, you made it, you grew it or you did without it.
Everyone farmed. In this new land of different environmental conditions, they had to see what worked through trial and error. So if something grew and you could make alcohol from it – you had a double bonus! The growing of grapes and production of wine worked VERY well for the Barossa, it’s now the heartland of the Australian wine industry. We visited Langmeil to see a very special vineyard of ancient grapevines, but they weren’t always on this property!
Cellar Door Manager Jonathan Bitter shared with us, the amazing story of the Orphan Bank Vines. “There was a little vineyard near us, further along Langmeil Rd, that had beautiful old vines 150 years old. They were producing quite spectacular fruit and we were buying from the grower.”
Real estate developers had their eye on the land and ultimately the value of the land won the day. “We were given notice. We could have the fruit for 2 more years and then they were planting houses there instead! So in that time we hit upon the idea of trying to move the vines.”
And that’s exactly what happened. There was a vacant strip of land on the vineyard, and 300 ancient vines were very carefully dug up and moved one by one – literally down the road. They became known as the orphans. The Orphan vines are among the oldest in the world – and that includes France! (that’s another story we’ll share at another time).
If you’ve always wanted to own a vineyard – and who hasn’t – adopting an orphan vine may be the next best option.
Langmeil Winery – cnr of Langmeil & Para Roads, Tanunda SA. www.langmeilwinery.com.au
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