South Australia is the driest state on the world’s driest continent. Covering almost 1 million (984 377km) square kilomteres, it represents 12.8% of the Australian land mass. Sweeping plains are intersected by a spine of relatively low lying ranges, the Mount Lofty/Flinders Ranges which extend through the heart of the State. Over 50% of the state is elevated at under 150 metres. The Great Artesian basin covers almost one-third of the State. The major river is the River Murray which lethargically makes its way into the Southern Ocean. This water mass has a moderating effect on climate, particularly in the southern regions of South Australia where most vines are planted.
Summers are generally hot and dry with relatively mild nights. Winters are cool. Rainfall occurs mostly during late autumn/winter (May, June, July, August). Drought and salinity are major concerns.
The principle wine regions in South Australia are; the Adelaide Hills, Barossa (comprising the Barossa and Eden Valleys), Clare Valley, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Coonawarra and the Riverland. Vineyard expansion has also extended to Wrattonbully, Mount Benson, Bordertown, Robe, Southern Fleurieu and the Flinders Ranges.
It is a tradition for many wine companies to make multi-district blends from South Australian fruit – the idea of house style taking precedence over regional definition. Penfolds pioneered this concept. The vagaries of vintage variation can be evened out by fruit selection, ensuring quality at a high level. However there is debate that this concept comes at the expense of the ‘soul’ of the wine. Penfolds Grange is probably the most famous multi-district blend and is an excellent counter-argument.Andrew Caillard MW, Langton's
Hermann Paul Leopold Buring (better known as Leo Buring) was born in 1876 in South Australia to German parents. In 1896 Leo was Dux of the Oenology course at Roseworthy Agricultural College, and in 1902, after studying at Geisenheim, Germany and Montpellier, France, he joined Penfolds Minchinbury Cellars near Mt Druitt in New South Wales. In 1931 Buring formed a business partnership with Reginald Mowat of Great Western called Leo Buring & Co. His first wine was made from grapes grown at his Emu Plains property in the early 1930s. However, he moved the major part of his wine operations to the Barossa Valley in South Australia in 1945. John Vickery joined in 1953 and a golden period followed. During the 1960s and 1970s Leo Buring Rieslings were regarded as the very best white Australian wines. The brand fell under the radar in the intervening decades due to various corporate reshuffles, but is today once again on the ascendancy, making its name strictly as Riesling specialist. The Leo Buring Leonay DW Riesling is the top cuvee and is either an Eden Valley of Clare Riesling depending on which area delivers the best parcels of fruit in any given vintage. Leo Buring also produces a standard Clare Riesling and an Eden Valley Riesling both offering superb value for money.