SUSTAINABILITY is transforming South Australia’s Riverland. A sweeping embrace of alternative grape varieties has brought kudos to a raft of growers, which is changing the way their vineyards are managed and resources are used in the region. Ultimately, this results in a league of exciting wines that are changing the Riverland’s reputation.
The efficiency of drought-tolerant grape varieties, popularised by the likes of Ashley and Holly Ratcliff through their network of 10 Ricca Terra vineyards at Barmera, means profitability can come. from smaller vineyards. These grapes are commanding higher prices than Riverland’s historically infamous bulk fruit. Due to this economic shift, Ashley believes the region will be a more concise grape-growing area in another 20 years, enjoying greater efficiency, productivity and quality.
“if we take the macro approach to observe Riverland vineyard management, I can see we’ll be be growing grapes on less area to make a decent living – and therefore we’ll be using less water, and less inputs of every type to make high-quality wines”, Ashley says. “Climate-appropriate grape cultivation equals truly sustainable wine regions”.