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The Independent Weekly
July 16 - 22, 2010
The Independent Weekly is a South Australian owned and operated newspaper, taking an independent view of local news, issues, business, sport and culture for all South Australians.
Printed by Rural Press Printing, Adelaide Rd, Murray Bridge, for the publisher.
Publication Date: July 16, 2010. Recommended and maximum price only.
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is gold for
Amap that s been 35 years in
the making is set to change
land prices and wine flavours,
and influence development in the
picturesque McLaren Vale wine
The map reveals billion-year-old
secrets beneath the vale s grapes
Rock from Willunga in the
south-east, the Onkaparinga Gorge
in the north and stunning cliff faces
lining Gulf St Vincent in the west
were tested see what lay beneath the
region s soil.
The oldest rock in the district
was formed 1.6 billion years ago,
when multi-cellular life was only
just beginning to evolve. It was
originally part of Gondwanaland
before it separated to form
Antarctica, New Zealand -- and
In the 1970s, four "curious
geological scholars" -- Philip White,
Jeffrey Olliver, Primary Industries
and Resources SA geologist
Wolfgang Preiss and William
Fairburn -- worked together on the
South Australian geological survey.
They hatched a plan to create a
geological map of South Australia s
wine regions. For more than 20
years, as Mr Fairburn worked
quietly on the plans in his holidays
and weekends, few outsiders were
In the late 1990s, Mr White
heard he was working on the map
and introduced him to the wine
industry, producing two brochures.
But it was only two years ago that
the four reunited and started work
to finish the final map.
"It meant walking around with
a pick, testing every quarry, every
road cutting, everything," Mr White
"Bill worked hard on the map, but
for a long time the wine industry
didn t understand its importance."
The wine industry has now
emphatically welcomed its
publication, and similar maps of
the Barossa Valley and Clare wine
regions are also in production.
McLaren Vale Wine, Grape and
Tourism Authority chairman
Dudley Brown said the map would
be instrumental in improving wine
development in McLaren Vale.
"What we ve ended up with is the
best geological map of any wine
region in the world," Mr Brown
"For winemakers, we can look
at the geology and say: That s
why that block s never done well.
Having this knowledge of our own
vineyards and regions will show
visitors how well we know our
region and why what we have is so
unique and special."
McLaren Vale wine producers
will now produce single-vineyard
wines to compare those from
different geological regions.
The study has revealed seven
distinct terranes in McLaren
Vale. It reveals where the best
viticultural ground is, and where
the Government should and should
not build houses.
But Mr White said the
Government had paid little
attention to geology in its 30-year
plan. A controversial new suburb
called Seaford Heights at the
gateway to McLaren Vale has just
been approved. Mr White said his
map revealed it was being built on
"some of the most fascinating and
complex geology in the district",
which should not be used for
"Look at Mount Barker, where the
Government is allowing a housing
development to be built on some
of the best agricultural land in
the state. One of this map s major
purposes is to stop houses being
built where they shouldn t be."
Greens MLC Mark Parnell, who
has a background in planning,
also questioned whether the
Government sufficiently considered
geology in its planning.
"Often the maps planners use
are the wrong maps. They ll go for
roads and creeks and topology, but
soil and geological mapping have to
go into that equation," Mr Parnell
"Mount Barker is being developed
on some of the highest-rainfall
agricultural land in the state, but
when you look at the 30-year-plan
they have hatched areas that are
high-value agriculture land for
protection from development, but at
the end of the day it never prevails.
What prevails are the wishes of the
Mr White said if used for
development and viticulture, the
map could change the aesthetics of
McLaren Vale. "They planted all the
vines on the flat, but like in Europe,
some of the best terrain for vines is
on the slopes."
The map could spell doom for
some grape growers. Sections of the
map shown to produce poor-quality
grapes could drop in value.
"Fifteen per cent of the fruit in
McLaren Vale hasn t been picked
this year," Mr White said.
"There s a section near Willunga
where the grapes are rotting on
the vines and if you look at this
map you can see why. It s not good
viticulture country, but it would be
great for wetlands."
■ Anger over McLaren Vale
development: Page 25
Picturesque McLaren Vale: The other beauty is below ground.
Photo: Gary Hayes
Part of the McLaren Vale geological map.
What we ve ended
up with is the best
geological map of any
wine region in the
Tourism Authority chairman Dudley
Kerry Packer Civic
JAM USA/0636/07 CRICOS PROVIDER NO 00121B
The "art of mark-making on paper" is
celebrated in this exciting art exchange
between the staff of two learning institutions
in two hemispheres -- the South Australian
School of Art, Architecture & Design at
UniSA, and the Department of Art at
Colorado State University in the USA.
Exhibition open until Thursday 5 August
Kerry Packer Civic Gallery,
UniSA City West campus,
Hawke Building level 3, North Terrace
Gallery open weekdays 9am -- 5pm
Visit our website for full exhibition program:
Transfigured Night 3: In the Present
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