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Details for Bethany, 'g6', old-vine Grenache

Barossa Valley
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Grenache / Garnacha
(click to find out more)
Bethany Wines
(click to find out more)

Barossa Valley

Situated about 35 miles north east of South Australia’s capital city, Adelaide, the Barossa Valley was one of the first areas in Australia where vines were planted, and is today home to some of the oldest vines in the world.

The main valley is hot and dry, favouring Shiraz (regarded as the star of the Barossa), Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Growing in importance is the red grape variety Mourvèdre, known here as Mataro, which is used in the blend GSM – Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvèdre.

The early settlers were largely from German-speaking areas of Europe, and so planted white Riesling, which wasn't well suited to the heat. They soon moved on to Shiraz and Grenache. But Riesling, and other cool-climate varieties like Semillon, found a home in the nearby Clare and Eden Valleys which are higher and cooler.

Bethany Wines

Johann Gottlob Schrapel and his family, German-speaking emigrants from Silesia, arrived in the Barossa in the 1840s and settled in Bethany, then the region's only settlement. In 1852 they planted their first vineyard. A winecellar was built and Johann established quite a reputation as a winemaker.
However, subsequent generations concentrated on grapegrowing, selling their fruit to other winemakers. It wasn't until 1981 that 5th generation descendants Geoff and Robert Schrapel established Bethany Wines and began to vinify their own grapes once again. Today Bethany Wines is owned and run by the 5th and 6th generations of the family, a history commemorated by their g6 range of wines.
The winemakers favour minimal intervention, hand-pruning and hand-harvesting. This gentle approach is reflected in their gravity-flow winery, built in an old quarry overlooking the vineyards.
Those vineyards are perhaps Bethany's greatest asset, with their ancient Shiraz and Grenache vines, many over a century old, that were preserved by the family during Australia's "vine-pull" program of the 1980s.

about this wine About this wine

South Australia’s famous Barossa Valley is home to some of the oldest vines in the world.  Many are over a century old, and some date back to 1857.  Although the ancient Shiraz vines get most of the attention, those early settlers planted just as much Grenache and a lot of it is still there.
Old vines are more drought-resistant and less productive, producing fewer but more concentrated grapes that ripen earlier and more reliably.  Grenache has a tendency to overcrop, which the reduced yields from old vines naturally counteracts.
The Schrapel family arrived in the Barossa in the 1840s and settled in Bethany, then the region’s only settlement.  In 1852 they planted their first vineyard.  Today Bethany Wines is owned and run by the 5th and 6th generation of the family (that’s what the g6 in the name means.)
The gnarled old bush vines used to produce this wine are between 50 and 120 years old, and are all grown on their own roots.  The root-eating Phylloxera louse never reached the Barossa, which is a major reason why the vines here are so old.  In most of the rest of the world, the solution to the Phylloxera epidemic that started in the mid-19th century was (and still is) to graft cuttings of classic European vines onto the roots of American vine species which are naturally resistant to the pest.  The sick old vines were grubbed up and the vineyards replanted with grafted vines, or just abandoned to die.
So here we get to taste a piece of history: wine made from ancient vines grown the same way as Europe’s vines were 200 years ago, before the advent of Phylloxera.

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