South Australia

South Australia – the facts

South Australia is a state in the southern central part of Australia and the city of Adelaide is the capital. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth-largest of Australia's states and territories by area, and fifth largest by population. With a total of 1.7 million people, the population is highly centralised with more than 77 percent of South Australians living in Adelaide, one of the world's Great Wine Capitals.   

The state's colonial origins are unique in Australia as a freely settled, planned British province. Under the Old Gum Tree (a historic site in Gleneld North) on 28 December 1836, the British governor John Hindmarsh delivered the proclamation announcing the establishment of Government of the colony of South Australia

South Australia has remained politically innovative and culturally vibrant. Today, it is known for its delicious food, fine wine and numerous cultural festivals. The state's economy is dominated by the agricultural, manufacturing and mineral industries.

South Australia's wine industry

South Australia’s wine history may be short by Old World standards, but it is incredibly rich. It's prestigious place in the wine world was born of equal parts vision, planning and hard work. Barely three years after the original Colony was founded in 1836, a German settler saw the immense potential of the area north of Adelaide we now know as the Barossa Valley, noting a resemblance to France’s famous Rhone Valley.

Just a handful of years later, vineyards were flourishing in the Barossa to the north, McLaren Vale to the south and the nearby Adelaide Hills (three of modern South Australia’s pre-eminent wine regions) and pioneering winemakers were beginning to make their mark. It is significant that eight of the 13 oldest wine companies or continuously operating brands in Australia are South Australian. Established between 1841 and 1853 they include household names Penfolds, Orlando, Seppeltsfield, and Yalumba, alongside Bleasdale, Normans, Sevenhill Cellars and Oliver’s Taranga. The likes of Saltram and Hardys Tintara were quick to follow.

South Australia has the some of the oldest producing grape vines in the world because our industry remains proudly phylloxera free. The state has strict biosecurity measures in place to prevent this deadly root eating bug from entering our wine regions.

Today, the industry supports not only highly regarded, established wine producers, but a large number of innovative young winemakers who embrace the use of alternative varietals and natural winemaking principles of minimal interventions and organic farming.

Plan your next road trip around South Australia with these five great itinenaries:


Quick facts 

75,500 Hectares

There are 75,500 hectares of grapes planted in South Australia, managed by 3,296 vignerons.

550 Million Litres

Our 18 wine regions produce around 550 million litres of wine. The equivalent of 734 million bottles.

769,000 Tonnes

The winegrape crush total reported in 2019 was 50% of Australia's.

$2.15 Billion of Wine

South Australia's wine production value is worth $2.5 billion.

More than 680 Wineries

The number of South Australian wineries has grown from 308 in the year 2000 to 684 in 2019.

8,440 employed

Our industry directly employs 8,440 South Australians in grapegrowing and winemaking.

$1.85 Billion Exports

We export 377 million litres of wine worth 1.85 billion dollars (64% of
Australia's total). Our largest export markets are China, USA, UK, Singapore, HK, NZ and Canada.

590 Million of Grapes

The Farmgate value of South Australia's grape harvest is $590 million.