BAROSSA CENTRAL ESTATE
NATIONAL VINEYARD FUND OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED
The Barossa Central Estate vineyard, owned 50% by NVFAL, is another super-premium vineyard which produces A & B grade fruit for its purchasers. The grapes are destined for the various premium products, including Treasury Wines Estate.
It is located in the central region of Tanunda in the famous Barossa Valley region approximately 65km northeast of Adelaide in South Australia. Barossa Central Estate is located approximately 1 km north of Tanunda in the heart of the region.
The 17.8ha property is located on the western side of Barossa Valley Highway on Buring Road, Tanunda and is approximately 150m above sea level.
The original vineyard was planted from the 1960’s to 1970’s a mixture of Shiraz, Cabernet and white varieties. The property was owned by the Lehmann family and was fully planted at this time.
The land is mostly flat and has a small winter creek that runs through the property to the North Parra river on the western boundary. While the water flow is low in most years, large rainfall years can result in significant catchment in the out stream dam. There is some native vegetation and other grassed land within the site but no further area for planting.
The soils are rich loams and provide ideal growing conditions for super-premium wine grapes. The land is able to draw from BIL or bore water drawn from pumps on the property. Irrigation is discussed in the Water section below.
Today, Barossa Central Estate is planted to 14.9 ha, a combination of classic red varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz, together with some old planting of Semillon, White Frontignac and Chardonnay recently removed and replanted to Shiraz.
The mix of wine grape varieties planted on Barossa Central Estate are being changed to focus solely on red varieties ‘in-demand’ and will be chosen by FABAL Operations in conjunction with the new purchasers of grapes from the property.
Shiraz will dominates the planting on the Estate because of its notable reputation on the floor of the Barossa Valley region. It is also projected that demand will continue in the long term.
CLIMATE AND SOIL
The average rainfall of the central region of the Barossa Valley is approximately 490mm per annum. More importantly, the majority falls in the winter and spring (May to October) periods with lower likelihood of summer rain during the growing season. This results in reduced disease pressure from post rain events. There is low likelihood of hail but frost may affect some part of the site in some years. There is approximately 1,800 hours of sunshine from October to April of each (the heat degree index).
The site is open and has a flat terrain down to the river alongside and stream through the property. The soil on the property varies from deep red clay loam to lighter sandy loam on higher ground.
Soil nutrition is another important factor that can affect growth and FABAL Operations will be reviewing the regime after the 2016 purchase of the property.
WATER AND IRRIGATION
Grapevines require regular watering to supplement the natural annual rainfall. To produce the quality of wine grapes expected for this business, the Barossa Central Estate vineyard requires approximately 1.2ML of water per hectare of supplementary irrigation give the regions annual rainfall.
The floor region of the Barossa Valley has ground water for use in irrigation but it is above the preferred level of water salinity preferred by FABAL Operations. Accordingly, the Barossa Central Estate will rely on a blending of BIL water and bore water for its supplementary irrigation. NVFAL considers irrigation and its management to be the most important aspect of its operations.
Considerable time will be spent assessing this newly acquired system.
Irrigation System: The water is delivered to the grapevines through a series of pumps and mainlines. This is being assessed by FABAL Operations for suitability on the 2016 purchased vineyard. The ‘in-line’ drip irrigation system is considered the most effective supply of irrigation but upgrades will occur as new plantings are undertaken in 2017. The irrigation system is currently manually operated.
South Australian Water Entitlements: As has been seen in past years (and in particular between 2003 and 2010), potential risk exists that the vineyard may have an insufficient water supply in periods of drought. Accordingly, NVFAL secured rights to 16 ML of BIL Water (through shares) and 18ML of Barossa Valley Prescribed Water Resources Area licence via the ownership of Bore Water Licence No. 3803. Whilst NVFAL is satisfied that it has secured more than sufficient water to provide water for the vines in most years, it is a reality that supply can be restricted due to extremely dry conditions or other unforeseen events.