The Barossa You Never Knew Excerpt from Barossa Wine Traveller by Tyson Stelzer and Grant Dodd There’s a lot more to the world of the Barossa than it first seems. Turning off the highway, lines of ancient date palms stand as sentinels to guard the road to Seppeltsfield. The spires of fairytale churches stretch heavenward, competing with grand old gum trees on every side. Ancient bluestone cottages watch over lines of primordial vines, their twisted trunks bearing the laughter lines of a century and a half of life in the Barossa. Century-old barrel halls dot the countryside, ripe with the heady perfume of vintage. The main street of Nuriootpa is filled with the exotic aromas of redgum burning in the smokehouse at Linke’s butcher. Around every corner, the delicate scent of rose gardens lingers; the Barossa truly lives up to its name, ‘Hill of Roses.’ As night falls, the fragrance of the day dissolves into the crystalline purity of breezes that bring in the twilight from the cool of the ranges. below the surface, we have been astounded by the A local passes by in a 1950s Bedford truck, returning Barossa that has been unearthed. home from a day in the vineyards. On another day he’ll polish it up, don his traditional German ‘lederhosen’ There is an authenticity to the culture of this place that outfit and wave at the children from the vintage festival runs as deep as the roots of its archaic vines. It is a parade. surprising truth that the Barossa’s grand festivals, its traditional produce and its quirky idiosyncrasies are It’s a different world in the Barossa. At a glance, it upheld not for the tourists at all, but for the locals would be easy to presuppose that these fairytale themselves. That visitors are welcome to join in is a appearances are little more than a façade to lure the bonus for the Barossa and a windfall for the rest of us. tourists to Australia’s most famous wine destination; an Aussie attempt to replicate kitsch German traditions in Since its settlement in 1842, the Barossa has treasured a half-hearted fashion. But there’s a lot more to the its German and English heritage, while at the same time Barossa than it might seem. infusing its own unique Australian flavour. “It’s very unusual anywhere in Australia to find a community This book is about folding back the layers and with such strong links to its European origins,” says experiencing what really lies below the surface. It’s the Philip Laffer, Chief Winemaker at Jacob’s Creek. “This Barossa you never knew. is because the Barossa was one of the poorest rural As a child growing up in Adelaide, I (Tyson) first communities in Australia, most people just had a few visited the Barossa when I was younger than I can vines and a cow, and this explains why so many people remember, and I’ve returned in most years since. For me stayed here – they simply couldn’t afford to go (Grant) it’s been my wine pilgrimage destination for anywhere else.” more than a decade. We’ve always felt at home in the Barossa, but between the pages of this book, in digging And then there is the wine. That potent, deep purple Wrapped in these many layers of heritage is a unique glue that binds this community together. “There are Barossa that is today one of the most remarkable very few communities that are driven around one communities to visit anywhere in this country. thing,” says Wolf Blass Chief Winemaker, Chris In its places, faces and never-before-told stories, this Hatcher. “In the Barossa, wine is at the core of book will take you to the Barossa wherever in the world everything.” you happen to be enjoying its fruits. For the first time, More than any other Australian wine region, the the inside stories of each of its 150 wineries are told, Barossa is its own. There is no other precedent to leading you through a behind-the-scenes tour of the which it aspires, and there is no Old World wine to Barossa like you’ve never known it. Along the way which it pins its allegiances. In its own inimitable way, you’ll discover all the favourite haunts of the Barossa the Barossa marches to the beat of the drum of its own and Eden Valleys, according to those who know Oom-pah band. them best, the wine folk who call the Barossa home. It is a beat that sets the pace for the wine industry If you had all the time in the world to plan the ultimate across the country. The winemaking landscape of the trip anywhere, you might look up a few locals and find Barossa is rich with iconic names who have carved out out about the most authentic places to visit, to stay, to the directions of some of Australia’s most influential eat and to drink. You’d get the local tips on the best companies. Many of its most celebrated boutique shops, the best golf courses, the best walks, the best wineries have their home here, as do most of the big coffee, the best places to take your kids and, of course, names. In the words of Penfolds’ Chief Winemaker, the best wines. In these pages, we’ve done all the hard Peter Gago, “The Barossa is our engine room.” work for you and put together the inside secrets, not If anything is new in the Barossa today it is a renewed just from a few people ‘in the know,’ but from every recognition of the old. Winemakers have recently winery worth visiting and every wine personality worth launched their ‘Barossa Old Vine Charter’ to recognise talking to across the length and breadth of the Barossa. and protect the oldest Shiraz and Cabernet vines in You’ll find a lot of fun around every corner and plenty Australia, and most likely the oldest Grenache and of good old yarns to make you smile. Mourvèdre, too. These rank among the oldest vines in We wish you an exciting journey. We guarantee you the world. At the same time, there has been a resurgence will discover a Barossa you never knew. in the food heritage of the Barossa. ‘Food Barossa’ was established in the mid-1990s “to first identify the food culture of the Barossa, and then to conserve it,” says founding chair, Margaret Lehmann.