The Adelaide Plains wine region is situated just 18 miles north of Adelaide amongst the market gardens and rose farms of Virginia and Angle Vale.
The Plains are bounded by the city of Adelaide in the south; the cooler climate Mount Lofty Ranges/Adelaide Hills in the east, the Barossa to the north, and the Gulf of Saint Vincent to the west, creates a maritime Mediterranean climate that ensures hot summers with cooling afternoon sea breezes, and mild, wet winters.
For many reasons, the Adelaide Plains have often been overlooked as a wine region in its own right. For many years (and still today) much of the fruit from here is schlepped down to the Barossa or McLaren Vale to be blended with other fruit for many of the larger companies 'regional blends.' That is not to say there is not great quality fruit here...in fact it is the opposite. The fruit for the original Penfolds Grange Hermitage was grown in the Adelaide Plains in the 1950s. The Adelaide Plains is home to many of Australia's oldest vines and a vast array of Italian varietals. Why Italian varietals?
Migrants came mostly from Italy to the northern plains of Adelaide. Many European migrants lived in the region and ran the market gardens, and the Italian settlers owned most of the vineyards. In the 1970s, these pioneers began to make and label their own wine, and sell on to distributors (both domestic and international), and set up cellar doors.
This is a very warm district, and the dry heat proves resistant to the pests and diseases that cause grief in other regions. The low annual rainfall of 17.3 inches means the vignerons must irrigate to ensure the fruit will ripen without raisining too early. The flat plains lie at 220 feet above sea level and consist of red-brown sandy-loam and alkaline subsoils over a limestone bed, typical of South Australia and much of South-Eastern Australia, and ideal for grape growing.