Colonel William Light, the South Australian colony’s Surveyor-General, named the Barossa in 1837 after the site of an English victory over the French in the Spanish Peninsular War. In the mid-1800’s Silesian and English immigrants settled in the area. The Barossa itself comprises two distinct sub-regions: Eden Valley and the warmer Barossa Valley floor at 270m.The Barossa Valley enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate characterised by hot dry summers and relatively low rainfall. Cool sea breezes from the Gulf of St Vincent modify the temperature, however hot northerly winds can occasionally dominate creating considerable vine stress. Many older established vineyards are dry-grown, but supplementary irrigation is also extensively used. The valley is comprised of rich brown soils and alluvial sands. A long history of uninterrupted viticulture in the area means the Barossa valley is home to Australia’s largest concentration of old-vine Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre with many over 100 years old. Although most famous for Shiraz, the Barossa can also produce fragrant and deliciously fruity Grenache blends and beautifully rich, chocolatey Cabernet Sauvignons.
Samuel Smith established Yalumba in 1849 and 165 years later descendant Robert Hill Smith now presides over Australia's oldest family owned wine company. Yalumba owns vineyards and sources fruit primarily in the Barossa and Coonawarra. Robert Hill-Smith manages to combine conservatism and tradition with up-to-date winemaking technology and thinking. Yalumba produces a considerable number of different wines across the price-point spectrum from a multitude of varieties, all with a focus on quality, varietal and regional expression. The strong winemaking team is headed up by Louisa Rose, a brilliantly intuitive winemaker whose white wines are some of the best in the country.