Barossa Valley: Wine and German Heritage

Tanunda Travel Blog

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Vineyards in Barossa Valley

It’s all about wine in the Barossa Valley: The hills around Adelaide are known for their wine-growing regions and the Barossa is the most famous of them all.

Many settlers came to the Barossa valley from Germany in the 1840s and 1850s, mostly from Prussia. This had to do with the famine of 1847 and the revolution of 1848 which forced people to leave their home country, but also with religious reasons: Lutherans who refused to accept and join the church union of 1818 (which had united Lutheran and Calvinist confessions into one Evangelical church) got into trouble with church and authorities and thus emigrated to places where they could live their Lutheran faith.

The original names of their settlements were German – Tanunda, for example, used to be Langmeil, Marananga used to be Gnadenfrei, Moculta consisted of Grünberg and Gnadenberg.

Steel tanks of a large winery
They were renamed in the 20thcentury, during World War I and later, and received names that derived from the language of the local Aborigines. But the German heritage is still very much alive.

The Barossa is a wide valley with a flat ground, rather a plain than a valley, surrounded by low, gentle hills. The vineyards were planted mostly on the valley bottom not the slopes.

The hot climate creates strong wines with a high content of alcohol. In Europe we find mostly reds, but during our tour we discovered, and learned to appreciate, the whites, too. The wineries are large businesses, shattered all over the valley, often outside the settlements. Most of them have shops and tasting rooms which are open all day, no appointments needed. Much different from what we are used to t home.

Tanunda Lutheran church
Since F had to drive, we could not taste much on the go, but we stocked up for the evenings.

We stayed in a campground in Tanunda. Looking for a shop where we could buy drinks, we came across a wine shop with a big sign in the shop window that said, “9000 wines”. The thing looked like a former petrol station, a smallish shabby building, and we thought, “Yeah right”. But we went in and, much to our surprise, it had a maze of cellars underneath, filled with a gigantic selection of Australian and overseas wines.

Mengler’s Hill is a lookout above Tanunda which offers a wide view over more or less the entire valley. The modern sculptures on the hilltop are products of art workshops that took place here.

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Vineyards in Barossa Valley
Vineyards in Barossa Valley
Steel tanks of a large winery
Steel tanks of a large winery
Tanunda Lutheran church
Tanunda Lutheran church
Tanunda
Tanunda
A cute mini pigeon, hardly bigger …
A cute mini pigeon, hardly bigger…
Mengler’s Hill
Mengler’s Hill
Mengler’s Hill
Mengler’s Hill
Mengler’s Hill
Mengler’s Hill
Mengler’s Hill
Mengler’s Hill
Mengler’s Hill
Mengler’s Hill
Tanunda
photo by: Kathrin_E