A dry winter and a dry vintage right through to March has 1958 recorded as a drought year in the record books, and yields were down by 25% to 40% on 1957 yields.
In 1958 there were 7,096 hectares of vineyards in Barossa and 29,798 tonnes of wine grapes were crushed in that vintage.
In a bid to improve the vine planting material available to growers, the first viticultural clonal trials in Australia started with Shiraz, Riesling, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, White Frontignac and Semillon.
The grower cooperative, Kaiser Stuhl commenced a period of development in this year, registering the brand name Kaiser Stuhl and launching a series of true-to-label individual Barossa vineyard wines. The initiative was designed to build a quality image for the cooperative’s wines but it also had a positive flow-on effect for the Barossa as a premium wine-producing area.
The company also improved its technology base introducing a hermetically sealed batch centrifuge for table winemaking and commencing the production of sparkling wine under contract for the larger wine companies such as Penfolds and Seppelts. The products were positioned to compete with the popular Barossa Pearl.
Penfolds started to experiment with varietal blending in red wine production.
Meanwhile Orlando took delivery of the first South Australian made 10,000 gallon lined, eutectic pressure tanks to expand its production.
Leo Buring transferred its bottling line from Redfern Cellars in Sydney and Matthew Lang in Melbourne to Tanunda and a new bottling hall and warehouse was built.
SA Wine Grape Crush Survey, Vinehealth Australia and ‘Barossa Vintages: a wine history from 1842’, Peter Fuller