The Barossa Valley is about an hour and a half drive to the North of Adelaide, in South Australia and is the oldest wine region in the country, founded by German settlers. The region can be credited with putting Australian wine on the world wine map, thanks to Shiraz, which thrives in the warm climate (though Hunter Valley Semillon also contributed.) For many years traditionalist wine makers thought the grape variety was best suited to the cooler climates of the Rhone Valley and that the variety would cook and in the warmth of the Australian sun. Although South Australian Shiraz is a bigger, beefier wine than its southern French counterpart Syrah, no one can deny the regions propensity to produce world class wines.
Not only Shiraz is cultivated in Barossa Valley, with other red varieties such as Grenache, Mourvedre (Mataro) and to a lesser extent Cabernet Sauvignon. The white varieties that thrive best seem to be Semillon and Chardonnay, which are generally oaked and undergo malolactic fermentation.
This style of big, full bodied Shiraz with rich, chocolate and spice notes became synonymous with not only the Barossa Valley but with Australian wine in general. In the words of Master of Wine Jancis Robinson, the Barossa Valley became "Australia's quintessential wine region".
The Valley has many subregions which all have unique terroirs. Seppeltsfield, Marananga, Greenock are to name but a few. With a huge number of wineries in such a small area, and a host of accommodation, the region is very popular for wine-tourism.