The Barossa Valley takes its name from the Barossa Ranges, which were named by Colonel William Light in 1837. Light chose the name in memory of the British victory over the French in the Battle of Barrosa, in which he fought in 1811. The area is approximately 13 km long by 14 km wide.
The three major towns of the Barossa each have a distinctive personality. Tanunda is generally recognised as the most German of the three with long-standing traditions dating back to the 1840s when the first German settlers arrived in the area. Because many of them came from Prussian Silesia, they called the Barossa Neu-Schlesien, or "New Silesia". The German influence survives to this day (see Barossa German). Angaston, in contrast, is considered the English town as it was settled predominantly by Cornish miners and others from Britain. The third town, Nuriootpa, was influenced by both the German and British settlers, and today is the commercial hub of the Barossa where most of the larger stores are located.
The area is also a Lutheran stronghold with many residents identifying themselves as Lutherans. Some towns have more than one Lutheran church. Tanunda, for example, has Langmeil, Tabor, St. Paul's and St. Johns. Nuriootpa has St. Petri and Holy Trinity. Angaston has Zion and Salem (Penrice).
Each major town also has a Lutheran primary school. Tanunda has Tanunda Lutheran School, Nuriootpa has Redeemer, and Angaston has Good Shepherd. St. Jakobi, the Lutheran primary school at Lyndoch, hosts the Barossa Airshow annually as its fundraiser
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The wine industry plays a major role in the Barossa, being the main source of employment for many residents. The many hectares of vineyard are the most distinctive feature of the area, especially when viewed from the Mengler's Hill lookout positioned on the range of hills that form one side of the valley itself. The success of the wine industry has historically been celebrated every two years (odd numbers) with a week-long Vintage Festival. The festival draws visitors from all over the world and has entertainment for all tastes including a huge street parade, concerts and gourmet dining.
This area has winter dominant rainfall with high summer evaporation. It is classified as being warm to moderately continental. Very hot weather in February and March can place stress on the vines at the end of the ripening cycle resulting in concentrated flavours.
'Gustav got the winery and Sophie got the soup tureen': the contribution of women to the Barossa valley wine industry, 1836-2003.
Dec 01, 2005; This paper explores the participation of women in grape growing and wine making in the Barossa Valley, and their contribution to...
Down on Maggie's Farm ; Skye Gyngell Travels to Australia's Barossa Valley to Track Down One of Her Culinary Heroes: The Queen of Home-Grown Cuisine, Maggie Beers. Photographs by Lisa Barber
Jan 14, 2007; On an overcast Thursday afternoon, I arrived in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. I was hoping for sun, but Australia had...