Jim Barry plants Australia’s first assyrtiko vineyard

Australia’s first assyrtiko vineyard was planted a few weeks ago by Jim Barry Wines (my tasting notes) of Clare Valley. Owner Peter Barry fell in love with the crisp dry white wines made from this native Greek grape when holidaying on Santorini, and soon after arranged with a Greek producer to source vine cuttings, which have been in the accredited quarantine nursery at Yalumba for the past four years. During that time, sufficient planting material was propagated so that a small vineyard of 600 vines could be planted on the Barry family’s Lodge Hill vineyard.

Peter Barry hopes to increase the planted area to 8 acres (three hectares) over the next three or four years. In five years time, expect to see the first wine. “Assyrtiko is grown predominantly on Santorini in arid, windy and hot conditions,” says Barry. “Clare is a cool district with good rainfall but we must face up to climate change and water scarcity and adapt our management appropriately.”

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