History of the Adelaide Hills Wine Region
Historically grapes were grown very early in the settlement of the Adelaide Hills. The earliest record of South Australia’s first commercial winemaking enterprise was John Barton Hack who established an acre of vines at his Echunga Springs property near Mount Barker in 1839 and produced his first wine in 1843. In 1844 a case of his wine was forwarded to Queen Victoria. The vineyard continued to operate until at least 1856. German immigrants also arrived in the Adelaide Hills and planted vines at Hahndorf and Lobethal around 1842.
The vine disease oidium, which first appeared in 1872 and spread rapidly, was particularly expensive to control.
In 1876 when a crop of wine grapes brought between £9 and £12 peracre, Thomas Hardy put the annual cost of three applications of sulphur at more than £1 per acre.
The resurgence of viticulture in the Adelaide Hills came about in the 1970s, when the Verralls at Glenara established vineyards in 1971, and Petaluma in the late 1970s. Other producers such as Knappstein, Weaver and Henschke entered shortly after, followed by Cootes, Seppelt, Ashton Hills, Kuitpo Vineyards, Gumeracha Vineyards and others, and have proven that the Hills offers a diversity of microclimates to suit a range of wine styles from sparkling to premium quality table wine.