According to sommelier and winemaker Banjo Harris Plane, there is no other wine region in South Australia like the Adelaide Hills.
Although the Barossa and Eden Valleys are just to its north and McLaren Vale to the south, the Hills boast a cooler climate – courtesy of a higher altitude. Banjo grew up in Adelaide and maintains a soft spot for the region.
“The best wines from the Hills are incredibly elegant but also very perfumed. They really show beautiful aromatics,” he says.
But it’s the winemaking in the region that really excites him.
Winemakers in the past have taken cues from more established South Australian wine regions, and the Adelaide Hills is young by comparison. The result, according to Banjo, can be “heavy handed” vintages. But new-generation winemakers are now tending to old vines with new techniques.
“People are doing something a little bit differently to what’s gone on in the past. In Adelaide Hills they’re lucky enough to have plenty of established vineyards – we’re talking some up to 40-years old – and now there’s a bunch of people who are getting access to them and moving towards organics.”
Although organic and biodynamic winemaking techniques still aren’t commonplace, Banjo says that they’re becoming increasingly popular, especially among the new generation of winemakers.
“There’s certainly a crossover in terms of younger winemakers and people who think that way, but I don’t think you have to be young to think like that, it’s just sort of how it is at the moment,” he says.
But do organic and biodynamic wines taste better than their non-organic counterparts? “It can be a tricky one to quantify,” says Banjo. “It’s more about being happy with the knowledge that when you’re drinking something, you know that it’s been made in the right way.”
Banjo will be leading an intimate group of vino aficionados through a tasting at The Boardroom sessions – The Hills of Adelaide that will focus mostly on newer wines with some regional benchmarks for comparison.
Seats are extremely limited to 16 spots at the table, so be sure to purchase your tickets in advance!