Free Newsletter - Subscribe here Eden Springs Vineyards
ProfileOur RegionNewsLinksHome
Our RegionOur WinesContact UsSecure Online Orders
Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.   Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Misty morning Eden Springs
Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Misty morning
Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities. Eden Springs

 

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.

 

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Double rainbow
Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Double rainbow

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Forest dam at capacity
Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Forest dam at capacity

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Joseph Gilbert
Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities. Joseph Gilbert

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.

Eden Springs visitor; a descendant of Gilbert's deer herd
Eden Springs visitor -
a descendant of Gilbert's
deer herd?

 

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.

 

 

Gums and vines
Gums and vines

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.

Foggy sunrise
Foggy sunrise

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.

 

Eden Valley afternoon
Eden Valley afternoon

 

 

 

 

 

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.David Wynn
Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities. David Wynn

 

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.

 

  Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.
Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities. High Eden
Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.

The history of white settlement of the Eden Valley region, which includes the sub-region of High Eden, began in 1839. Wealthy London banker and merchant George Fife Angas, founder and chairman of the South Australian Company, which had started settlement of South Australia in 1836, sent German geologist Johann Menge into the area to seek water and building materials for the new colony. Menge described what were known as the Barossa Ranges as "the real cream of South Australia". He also reported that the country now called Eden Valley was particularly suitable for growing German varieties of grapes. Because of this, Menge named the area's river system the Rhine and one of its peaks Kaiserstuhl.

In the same year, Menge persuaded Angas to send Angas's personal secretary, Charles Flaxman, with him on a tour of the region. Flaxman supported Menge's glowing description of the area: "I am quite certain that we shall see ... vineyards and orchards and immense fields of corn throughout all [of this] New Silesia, which is matchless in this colony," Menge said. The astute German also gave the name Flaxman's Valley to an area on the north-eastern boundary of High Eden.

Acting as Angas's agent, Flaxman bought seven areas of land, known as surveys, which totalled 28,000 acres and for which he paid one pound an acre. The land is shown in a survey map drawn in 1840 by surveyor William Jacob. The surveys' boundaries were the Light River at Truro to the north, the Rhine River at Keyneton to the east, Mount Crawford and Lyndoch Valley to the south, and near Greenock in the west.

Settlement of the newly acquired holdings followed rapidly, with the surveying of Angaston, the area's first township, in 1841. Angas sent his son, John Howard Angas, and his second daughter, Sarah Lindsay, with her husband, Henry Evans, to occupy and run the new estate. They arrived in 1843 and Angas himself followed in 1850.

At the same time, other wealthy English landowners were taking up large areas in the Barossa Ranges under the so-called Special Survey provisions of the South Australian Company. These allowed any person prepared to buy 4000 acres to demand the survey of 15,000 acres in the locality in 80-acre blocks, with the buyer then allowed to select any of the sections up to 4000 acres at one pound an acre. The buyer was also entitled to a lease over the unsold land for three years at a low rental. As migrants arrived, mainly from south-western England and Scotland, and settled on the estates in the 1840s, the big landowners set about developing their holdings. They grazed sheep and cattle, grew cereal crops, and planted orchards and vineyards. George Fife Angas's success with these activities in the Eden Valley area attracted settlers from other parts of SA and, in the mid-1850s, newly arrived migrants from Germany.

Among those to benefit from the Special Survey system was Joseph Gilbert, of Puckshipton Manor, in Wiltshire's Vale of Pewsey, who arrived in the colony in the Buckinghamshire in March, 1839. Gilbert, then 39, lost no time in setting about making a fortune, taking up land on the Para River, near where the town of Gawler now stands, and importing a flock of 300 ewes and 10 rams from Van Diemen's Land. Within four months of his arrival, the government Gazette of July 4, 1839, announced that Gilbert and Edward Rowland had applied for a Special Survey of 15,000 acres in the Barossa Ranges, 40 miles north-east of Adelaide. Although the Wiltshire survey was not made until 1843, Gilbert set up a camp there in 1841, living under a tarpaulin strung between gum trees. Gilbert gave his portion of the survey the name Pewsey Vale and began a diverse range of farming enterprises. As well as planting grapevines and building a winery, he grew wheat, barley, maize and potatoes, established an orchard (which doubled as a windbreak for the vines), and set up a deer park and a thoroughbred horse stud. It was the cradle of the Eden Valley wine industry and a significant part of what is now the High Eden sub-region.

Gilbert had completed his formal education in France and had gleaned enough winemaking knowledge to recognise Pewsey Vale's potential for cool-climate, high-altitude grapegrowing. Gilbert's first vines, planted in 1841-42 in his homestead garden, are thought to have been cuttings of a table grape variety, for Gilbert dried fruit from them and displayed it at the Adelaide Show in 1847. In the same year, the pioneer vigneron obtained enough wine-producing stock from the MacArthur brothers of Camden, New South Wales, and the Royal Horticultural Society, Chiswick, to plant one acre. This was expanded to eight acres in 1852 and by 1857 the plantings occupied 15 acres, then one of the largest vineyards in the colony. Gilbert's vines included shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, riesling, white and red frontignac, madeira, verdhelo, tokay, gouais and sweetwater.

In 1849 Gilbert took out a licence to distil and employed Carl Sobels as winemaker and distiller. Although the records are unclear, it seem Gilbert's first wine was made in 1850 or 1851. Within five years, Gilbert was a force to be reckoned with; Pewsey Vale was awarded second prize for "wine of the 1852 vintage or older" and was the most successful exhibitor at the 1854 Adelaide Show, with the judges also remarking that Gilbert's brandy was a "splendid style". In 1864, the London "Medical Times" was moved to report that the Pewsey Vale Claret of that year was " a fine, mature wine, grapey and potent, fit to rank with Hermitage". In 1867, the Melbourne Intercolonial Wine Exhibition commissioners awarded Gilbert one of only three special medals for "the general excellence of his wines and in recognition of his services and success as a vigneron". By then, Gilbert's winery held in storage about 50,000 gallons which was being released as three- and four-year-old wine, with as much as fifty percent exported to London.

By 1893 Pewsey Vale was producing as much as 10,000 gallons a year. Gilbert's son, William, who assumed management of Pewsey Vale at his father's death in 1881, eventually boosted the winery's output to 17,000 gallons a year, using fruit from the then 29 acres of vines at Pewsey Vale and the 18 acres at his own property, Wongalere, at Williamstown, a few miles south-west of Pewsey Vale. William Gilbert Junior took over the two properties in 1914, but sold Pewsey Vale when his father died in 1923 leaving the family facing crippling probate taxes. The sale marked the end of the first chapter of the Pewsey Vale and High Eden wine story. Within six years, because of the severe economic hardship of the Great Depression, the vineyard first had fallen into disuse and then was grubbed by its new owners.

However, Pewsey Vale had earned a wide reputation for the quality of its wines, a reputation which led to its resurrection almost a century after its golden days in the hands of Joseph Gilbert. Even today, labels on Pewsey Vale wines pay homage to Gilbert as "a pioneer in high-altitude, cool-climate viticulture". The labels also note that early Pewsey Vale wines "were exported to England where they won numerous awards in the prestigious wine shows of the day". One of Australia's first wine writers, Ebenezer Ward, who visited Pewsey Vale in 1862, remarked that Gilbert's riesling was "the choicest wine, delicate and pure". Ward also reported in his series "Vineyards and Orchards of South Australia", published in Adelaide's "The Advertiser" newspaper, that the Pewsey Vale shiraz and cabernet "would fairly rival if not outvie the finest Burgundy".

It was with praise such as this that the Angas Parsons and Hill Smith families began the renaissance of the higher western hills of Eden Valley in the 1960s. Geoffrey Angas Parsons had bought 9,000 acres of land, which included the original Pewsey Vale, in the mid-1950s and in 1961 he approached Wyndham Hill Smith, of Yalumba, with a plan to replant the vineyards. The Hill Smiths eventually bought out their partner and greatly expanded the vineyard. The value of the project was shown in 1969, when Pewsey Vale riesling won seven gold medals at wine shows around Australia.

With the Hill Smiths having successfully shown the way, there was a boom in new plantings on the traditional pastoral land in the area in the early 1970s and the name High Eden was born. It was the creation of the late David Wynn, one of the pioneers of the modern Australian wine industry, who wanted a distinctive and descriptive name for his new vineyards along what was then called the Springton ridge. David Wynn coined "High Eden" to indicate the elevation of the new plantings in the cool climate of the Eden Valley. His enthusiasm for the High Eden concept led even to his instigating a change of name for the public road beside his properties - Boundary Road (marking the boundary between two local government areas) became High Eden Road.

The High Eden sub-region is unique among Australia's winegrowing areas not only for its attributes of cool climate and high altitude, but for its magnificent landscape. It is largely unspoilt land with a sparse population and with no major settlement. Many regard it as Australia's most picturesque winegrowing area, with sweeping vistas which embrace graceful contoured vineyards on misty hillsides dotted with massive red gums and stands of yacca trees. There are meandering creeks among massive rock outcrops, some of which display ancient Aboriginal art. It is home to majestic wedge-tail eagles and minute superb blue wrens, and retains a serenity unmatched by neighbouring winegrowing areas.

(We are indebted to Peter Fuller, of Peter Fuller and Associates, and the Eden Valley Winegrowers Group of Barossa Wine and Tourism Inc. for much of the historical information about High Eden.)


Go to top
Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.
Eden Springs Vineyards
Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.
Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.

Good grapes    Good wine    GoodwillFine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities.

Fine Australian wine, premium Barossa-zone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling from grapes grown at Eden Springs Vineyards in the cool-climate High Eden sub-region. Made only in small quantities. Email us