Thistledown Wines have been tracking down the old vineyards in the Riverland region. Our ‘old vine project’ aims to secure the future of these old vine vineyards by providing a sustainable income for those growing the fruit. But we also want to demonstrate that this is a region capable of more and it is one that can provide wines of significant quality and personality.
Our Riverland fruit displays all the advantages associated with old vines and subtle, high quality winemaking. Moreover, in placing a higher value on this previously underestimated fruit, we also provide a much needed lifeline to the communities of the Riverland.
Dismissed as the home of Australia’s industrial production, The Riverland possesses a rich history and is one of the most quickly changing regions in all of Australia. Identified as a region suitable for grape growing by the Chaffey brothers in 1887, it quickly grew into a prosperous settlement. The Riverland region of South Australia was developed in the late 19th century as an irrigation colony. In 1919 the ‘Soldier Settlement Bill’ provided soldiers returning from war with the opportunity of land to cultivate. These ‘soldier blocks’ have largely been lost, their steadily reducing yields not consistent with the low price, high yield demands of the wider industry. The burgeoning alternative variety scene, coupled with renewed interest in the old blocks has helped reimagine The Riverland. Once married up to the sensitive, low intervention wine making approach of Thistledown, the amazing old vine fruit has already been proved capable of making wine more exciting than many might have thought plausible.
Though much of The Riverland is dominated by broadacre, mechanised vineyards, there are still small pockets of old vine fruit, little of which has ever been given the treatment it deserves. We’re now investigating and working with, vineyards where we can realise the potential of these sites and help to preserve the future of these better, older sites.
Based on old vine fruit, hand-picked and given the Thistledown treatment in the winery, we are intent on making delicious wine while helping to preserve the livelihoods of growers and the future of old vine Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro in the region.
We are re-imagining the Riverland.