Wine regions - Southern Flinders Ranges
Southern Flinders Ranges South Australia
The beautiful Southern Flinders Ranges is a new wine region whose skilled vignerons are producing premium quality grapes for their own emerging labels and for the wineries of the neighbouring Barossa Valley and ClareValley.
The Southern Flinders Ranges is in the final determination stage awaiting official recognition as a wine region. The region lies to the north of the Clare Valley, stretching from the Spencer Gulf in the west to the boundary of the Clare Valley to the south and rural land to the north and east.
The main towns are Port Pirie, Port Germein, Laura, Melrose, Wirrabara, Wilmington, Jamestown and Gladstone.
The region's elevation ranges between 20 metres on the coast to Frypan Hill at 718m. Most vineyards lie on the slopes of the ranges at between 350 and 550 metres. The region's warm to hot climate is tempered by the cooling effects of elevation and winds crossing the waters of the Gulf.
Geologically the region has two major areas, the Baroota Land System which takes in the coastal plains to the west of the Flinders Ranges. The soils are deep sandy loams typical of alluvial deposits. To the east of the Flinders Ranges lies the Wild Dog Creek Land System. The soils here range from relatively deep loams over red clay to more shallow stoney loams on the slopes.
The region is divided by 'Goyder's line of rainfall', named after the surveyor George W Goyder. This line marks the 'northern most limits of feasible agriculture.' Rainfall is relatively low ranging between 450 to 650mm per annum. Irrigation comes from underground water, however, there is a focus on 'dry grown' premium quality grapes especially once vineyards are post establishment.
The region produces a wide range of grape varieties, however, its strength lies in red grape production with three main varieties being produced, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz.
The first grapes were grown in the region in the 1890s, however, it is only in the past 10 years that the industry has become a significant commercial operation. Reduced demand on water supplies, early harvesting and a ready market in Barossa wineries has made grape production a viable agricultural industry.
Barossa wineries such as Charles Melton Wines, Peter Lehmann, Beringer Blass, Southcorp and Yalumba use grapes from the Southern Flinders Ranges for blending and production of Southern Flinders Ranges wines.
The unique natural history of the Flinders Ranges has always been a magnet for tourists. Mount Remarkable National Park and Alligator Gorge are major features within the wine region. Major outback routes traverse the Flinders Ranges. Highways taking travellers to outback town and cities like Wilpena Pound, Oodnadatta, Broken Hill and the route to Alice Springs and Darwin.
The region is set to take hospitality towards travellers to another level, with the developing regional wine industry forging links with local tourism. Flinders Wine and Food Day will be held in October, a gourmet event to showcase the region's produce and wine and launch the new region and the opening of the first cellar door, Remarkable View Wines at Murray Town.
Old Brewery, Melrose
Harvest time: late January - mid March
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