A confident return to traditional winemaking techniques such as basket presses and open fermenters, a focus on the provenance and rarity of old vines.
From this “revolution” of the late 1980s and early 1990s, a new style of full-bodied Barossa red wine emerges. Rather than being apologists to the wine media and show judges who have been encouraging cool climate elegance in the 1980s, there is now a confident return to traditional winemaking techniques such as basket presses and open fermenters, a focus on the provenance and rarity of old vines, a more European understanding of the influence of soil type, geology and micro-climate and a renewed appreciation of the pioneering achievements of Colin Gramp, Max Schubert, Cyril Henschke and Peter Lehmann. The UK Masters of Wine and drinks media have discovered the Barossa and suddenly chronic oversupply is replaced by a voracious export boom. The Barossa has evolved a style all of its own and consumers from Sydney and Melbourne to London and Los Angeles fall in love with the flavour of ripe Shiraz matured in American oak – but they also learn about the Barossa’s other heritage varieties such as Grenache, Mataro, Riesling and Semillon. At last growers are being paid profitable prices for their grapes, so they can afford to heed the advice of wineries to manage their vine canopies more carefully, reduce yields and control irrigation to produce premium fruit.