Barossa symposium delivers tips for Shiraz vineyard management

SCHRAPEL 1885 VINEYARD was one of many sites where grapegrowers and vineyard staff gathered in the Barossa Valley on 29 May for the Barossa Grounds Shiraz Symposium.
Soil expert and co-author of The Soils of Southern South Australia David Maschmedt spoke about the soil profile - which consists of sandy loam over clay with ironstone - and viticulturists Ralph Schrapel and Nigel Blieschke gave an insight into the viticultural practices at the vineyard.
The tour was one of eight soil pit workshops that took place in the north and south of the Barossa as part of a two-day symposium, which concluded on 30 May with a tasting of various Shiraz wines from the 'Barossa Grounds' as well as different Shiraz clones.
Peter Lehmann viticulturist Nigel Blieschke said the soil pit workshops provided a valuable insight into the diversity of Barossa soils, some of which are older than 200 million years.
'What's exciting is that people are seeing what their soils are like and changing their management to try and improve their soils,' Blieschke said.
Since 2008 Barossa winemakers have conducted tastings of single vineyard Barossa Shiraz wines to investigate what differences or similarities might be due to place, or 'Barossa Grounds'.
This symposium, made possible with the help of GWRDC funding, took the investigation a step further to identify the similarities within the physical environment - such as soil type, temperature, rainfall, elevation and aspect - that might be contributing towards consistently identifiable characters and flavours in Barossa wines.
Blieschke said the point of the Barossa Grounds project was to understand what exactly makes the Barossa unique.
'Consumers at the top end really want to get their head around what makes the Barossa a great wine region, so we're seeking to better understand our soils. Each part of the Barossa can create great wine if we understand the soil's particular traits.'
He said the plan was to keep producing wines from various sub-regions of the Barossa and to look at them over time and determine descriptors.

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