Average annual rainfall is up to 700 mm whereas rainfall during growing season is approximately 250 mm. At 19°C average January temperatures are 2°C cooler than the Barossa, resulting in later maturity of fruit. The July temperature is 8°C on average, and the winter conditions are generally wet throughout, with cold southerly winds.
Eden Valley Vineyards range in elevation from 440 metres at Woodbury, up to 550 metres above sea level at High Eden. Dominant, rolling, exposed hills with moderately steep gradients, rocky outcrops and large gums, combine with the sparse natural vegetation to create a truly magnificent landscape. The most common soils range from grey to brown in colour and from loamy sand to clay loams, with subsoils deriving from weathered rock. Ironstone gravels, quartz gravels and rock fragments are present in the surface and subsurface. These are well suited to dry land viticulture but there are also patches of weaker sandy soils on the slopes, underlain by weathered mica-schists, which have reduced water-holding capacity. As one might expect, given the varied terrain, there are a number of soil types.
Soils vary between 3 main podsolic soil types:
- sand over sandy loam,
- sandy loam over light to medium clay,
- sandy loam over mottled clay loam of shallow depth, overlying impermeable sandstone.
The trellis systems vary across the vineyard: single wire, Vertical Shoot Positioned, Scott Henry, split two wire vertical and ‘Ballerina’ are all in use. The aim for the next five years is to establish all vines onto suitable trellis types for ease of mechanisation and optimisation of end use.
Mechanical pruning followed by hand clean up is carried out and any remaining area is hand pruned. Vineyard monitoring has been set up and is carried out regularly to maintain the correct vine balance and produce the desired end product.
A permanent sod culture is established and slashed during the growing season. Fertilisation is carried out as required on an annual basis. Lime is applied after soil testing, to control soil acidity. Under-vine herbicide application is also carried out to control perennial and annual weeds in all blocks.
The entire vineyard is on a drip irrigation system, which delivers two-to-four litres an hour, per vine. Unless in a drought year, water supplies are generally not restricted, with ample winter run-off into dams most seasons. Irrigation is scheduled utilising various continuous moisture monitoring probes, visual inspections and a dig stick.
The majority of the vineyard area is machine harvested in-line with winemaking specifications and the end use of the fruit. Harvest begins in middle-to-late February with chardonnay for sparkling wine and continues through to the end of April-early May with other table wine varieties.