Photo Courtesy of Dimchuri Vineyards
Barossa Valley wine folks are no strangers to old vines. The South Australian wine region boasts some of the oldest continuously producing grapevines on the planet. The oldest of these gnarled, phylloxera-free relics date back to 1843. In 2009, Barossa Grape & Wine, the region’s tourism and industry body, created an Old Vine Charter, which classifies vines between 35–125 years of age into specific categories; vines older than 125 years are dubbed “Barossa Ancestors.”
One of these “ancestors” lives at Hoffmann Vineyards, owned and operated by fifth-generation winegrower Adrian Hoffmann. The Hoffmann homestead was founded in 1857, and the family has been growing grapes commercially since the 1880s.
Located in Ebenezer, a subregion of Northern Barossa, Hoffmann manages 370 acres of vines, of which he and his family own 235 acres. Their crown jewel is the Dallwitz Old Block, a 50-acre vineyard named after the family who planted it between 1888 and 1912. It was bought by Adrian’s grandfather Gordon in 1954. There’s a little Grenache and Mataro, but the oldest and most treasured is the Shiraz, which stretches its roots deep into soil composed primarily of red-brown earth over red clays and limestone reefs.