Pewsey Vale is not an easy vineyard to manage - but we wouldn’t want it any other way.
The lean and hungry soils, high altitude, rocky outcrops and finicky micro-climate keep Darrell and Louisa working hard year-round to individually manage each block according to its specific needs. And it is these very attributes that produce superior quality grapes of exceptional flavour and character.
With an altitude varying between 485 and 500 metres, Pewsey Vale Vineyard sits 250m above the Barossa Valley floor. This means cooler temperatures and a long ripening period that extends well into autumn, perfect for the characteristic Rieslings we know and love.
Our beloved Contours block received formal organic certification in 2013. But Darrell also goes one step further – farming the site utilising holistic biodynamic practices to tease out the very best characteristics from these vines while nurturing the surrounding fauna and flora, which are so important to the biodiversity of the vineyard.
In 1847, shortly after his arrival from England, Joseph Gilbert built a fine homestead in Eden Valley and planted the region’s first grapevines. The vines came from the Macarthur vineyards at Camden in New South Wales. William Macarthur had travelled to Rheingu, Germany in 1837 to collect Riesling cuttings. This is the first successful recorded importation of Riesling in Australia. Like so many vineyards in the 1920s and 30s, Pewsey Vale fell into disuse but, thankfully, its potential was rediscovered.
In 1961, pastoralist Geoffrey Angas Parsons became aware his property had once incorporated the region’s earliest vineyard and shared his discovery with good friend, neighbour and vigneron Wyndham Hill Smith.
Several wine companies were considering potential vineyard sites with cooler ripening conditions than found on the Barossa Valley floor and Hill Smith needed no further persuasion – work soon began on re-establishing Pewsey Vale Vineyard.
Initially, 56 hectares of Riesling was planted in contoured rows. The several remaining hectares of these vines continue to provide fruit for Pewsey Vale Vineyard The Contours Riesling.
All plantings at Pewsey Vale Vineyard are propagated from the original 1847 vines.