The Barossa Grounds project is an ongoing journey to investigate and articulate the diverse characteristics of vineyards in the different “parishes” (townships or loosely defined sub-regions) of Barossa and their influence on wine style, particularly Barossa Shiraz.

Australia’s most distinguished wine writer, James Halliday, has written: “… the truly fascinating Barossa Grounds Project, (is) by some distance the best analysis of the terroir of a wine region I have ever encountered, here or overseas. It all makes sense.” 

It has taken 170 years of Barossa grape growing and winemaking experience to understand the climatic, soil and topographical influences on the variations in Shiraz wine-style across Barossa.

And it has taken the past 10 years, through the rigour of the Barossa Grounds Project, to analyse, interpret and record all that is known about Barossa, and deliver the information in a way that is succinct, compelling, and easily communicated – both at home and on the global stage.

This rigorous approach, led by Barossa Grape & Wine Association, began in 2008 with annual wine tastings and descriptive analysis of 80 unoaked, single vineyard Shiraz, followed by statistical analysis and interpretation by Adelaide University.

In 2013, a two-day Barossa Shiraz Symposium led more than 150 winemakers, growers, viticulturists, marketers, trade, media and educators through tastings of Shiraz from all Barossa’s ‘grounds’, and attendees visited soil pits dug in eight Barossa locations.

In 2014, a small-batch winemaking trial, combined with sensory analysis, was undertaken across nine of the Barossa ‘grounds’ to demonstrate a scientific approach without winemaking influence.

And the Barossa Grounds “Toolkit” now comprises a 44-page technical report, consumer-facing brochures, photography and a video series featuring Barossa’s most experienced winemakers and viticulturists.

Barossa Grounds “soil kits” and posters exhibit soil types, ranging from alluvial sands and rich fertile black soils in Southern Barossa, to the infertile slopes overlaying the limestone and ancient sandstone and schist of Eden Valley – to the red clay loams of Northern Barossa.

And more recently, the Barossa Grounds Project has been drawn on as the basis for a national investigation into Australian terroir, led by Adelaide University’s Dr Cassandra Collins, whose team will explore how grapevine genomics and metabolomics underpin wine quality and terroir.

The journey of the Barossa Grounds continues.

For further information, contact Nicki Robins, BGWA Viticultural Development Officer: