The Adelaide Plains run due north of the city of Adelaide, north-west of the Adelaide Hills and west-south-west of the Barossa Valley.
The Adelaide Plains region has a dry yet maritime climate, with a very low incidence of disease. The region is hot and arid, with an annual rainfall among the lowest of any Australian wine region. Most production is processed in the Barossa Valley, with the exception of a number of small producers who have shown just what can be achieved with the fruit of the region. The soils in the area are excellent and readily support high yields. The main styles produced are Chardonnay, Colombard, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
The Adelaide Plains are located due north of Adelaide.
The first vines were planted in the region in early 1900s.
The region is currently home to around 10 wineries.
Dry yet maritime climate.
Very low incidence of disease.
Common soil type is sandy loam.
Irrigation is generally required.
Principal grape varieties Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Chardonnay.
The climate is hot and rainfall is extremely low during the growing season, so viticulture is made possible by irrigation and summer's south-westerly sea breezes. The growing season rainfall of only 192 millimetres (7.56 inches) is as low as in any Australian region. The compensation is a climate in which it is very easy to ripen large crops of grapes in a virtually disease-free environment.
There are two soil types. The most common is the ubiquitous red-brown loamy sands found through so much of south-eastern Australia, with alkaline subsoils and free limestone at deeper levels. These are excellent viticultural soils that readily support the typically high yields of the region. There are also smaller patches of heavier loam and cracking clay soils which are very different in structure but, once again, tend to alkalinity rather than acidity, promoting vigorous vine growth.
Chardonnay: Most of the Chardonnay produces wine of a medium to full-bodied style, with tropical fruit and ripe peach flavours.
Colombard: This variety is particularly suited to hot climates, thanks to its ability to retain relatively high levels of natural acidity. For this reason it is much prized as a blend component. Here, however, Colombard can produce a wine with an appearance and flavour profile similar to that of Sauvignon Blanc.
Cabernet Sauvignon: A medium to full-bodied, forward, ripe style Cabernet Sauvignon has long been a mainstay of the Adelaide Plains and is often blended with Shiraz or Merlot.
Shiraz: In the hands of the region’s small producers, this wine can have remarkable quality, showing a totally unexpected touch of spice that is normally reserved for cooler climates. Winemaking skills have no doubt played a part, but it demonstrates what can be achieved with grapes grown on mature vines and with controlled yields.
Map Coordinates: 34° 41'S
Altitude: 20 metres (65.6 feet)
Heat degree days, October -April: 2081 (cut off at 19ºC (66.2ºF) but otherwise not adjusted)
Growing season rainfall, October - April: 130 millimetres (5.1 inches)
Mean January temperature: 23°C (73.4°F)
Relative humidity, October - April, 3 pm: Average 41%
Harvest: Mid February - late March
Joe & Heather Ceravolo, Ceravolo Estate & Red Earth Wines, Adelaide Plains, South Australia
The Ceravolo family has been making wine for generations in their native Calabria in Italy. Over 50 years ago, when they emigrated from the 35°N parallel in the south of Italy to the 35°S parallel in South Australia, they planted vineyards and an olive grove in the Mediterranean maritime climate on the rich red soils of the Adelaide Plains.
"A decade ago we replanted the vineyards on the family estate and set about reinvigorating the Adelaide Plains wine region. Its identity continues to grow, with Adelaide Plains grapes sought after for their rich colours and intensity of flavour,” Joe says.
"Our heritage in the region has started to pay dividends, with some notable awards in Australia and internationally. The Cervalo 2006 Adelaide Plains Petit Verdot won Top Gold and the Trophy in its class at the 2007 Royal Adelaide Wine Show.
"It is a way of life for us and gives us enormous pleasure to grow the best grapes and produce some great wines on our little piece of Australia … for someone, somewhere else in the world to enjoy."