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This is a region of rapidly growing importance for the production of super-premium table and sparkling wine. The only limitation on its potential growth is that imposed by water conservation and alternative land use requirements. It is a very beautiful area, particularly in autumn, and is still a largely undiscovered treasure. Twisting and turning, rising and falling, the roads throughout the Adelaide Hills offer cameo vistas with bewildering frequency. But no one should venture into this region without a detailed road map, for it is impossible to navigate by simply using one's sense of direction. Altitude is the key to the climate. Mount Lofty and the Piccadilly Valley are a bare 25 minutes drive from the centre of Adelaide, but the contrast in climate throughout much of summer has to be experienced to be believed. The veritable maze of valleys and sub-valleys, with slopes offering every conceivable aspect, means there is as much mesoclimatic variation as one can find anywhere in Australia, making generalisations very hazardous. However, the Adelaide Hills has an unequivocally cool climate, with heat summations ranging from less than 1300 at Stirling to 1398 at Lenswood. It is not until one reaches the northern extremity of the region, and the western facing slopes, that one moves out of a climate suited principally to the early ripening varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, and into terrain which satisfactorily ripens Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Rainfall varies throughout the region, increasing at higher elevations, but is strongly winter and spring dominant. Irrigation is considered necessary. The main viticultural hazard is the misty, wet weather which often prevails during flowering and results in poor fruit set. The soils are predominantly grey to grey-brown loamy sands of low to moderate fertility. Most fall into the common south-east Australian family, and are well suited to viticulture. Registered subregions are Lenswood and Piccadilly Valley. Wine to try: Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc – Description from Wine Australia

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