The Orange wine region was accepted as a distinct Geographic Area (GI) by the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation in 1996. The Orange wine region is defined as the contiguous (continuous) land above 600m elevation in the Local Government Areas of Cabonne, Blayney and Orange. This New South Wales Region is within the Central Ranges Zone and adjacent to the Cowra, Mudgee and Bathurst wine regions.
Wines of the Orange region have a unique style as a result of the local climate, soils and topography (terroir). The modern Orange wine industry began to develop in the early 1980s and now has over 1500ha of winegrapes being grown on some 80 vineyards. Over 40 wine labels are now available in the region with 35 Cellar Doors. This region is also a major producer of a range of regional foods within a spectacular rural landscape and is an exciting destination for wine and food tourism.
Terroir is the French word used to define the features of a wine growing region that includes its climate, geology, topography and soils which contribute to the individuality and renown of wines produced there. It also includes the historical and human effects on site expression of the vineyard and wines produced (Martin 2000).
Topography and geology
The Orange region is the highest wine region in Australia, extending from 600m to over 1000m elevation. This region is quite distinct from the Great Dividing Range to the east and it also rises some 500m above the surrounding tablelands.
This elevated area is dominated by the extinct volcano Mount Canobolas which lifted and developed above the old sedimentary landforms of the Lachlan Fold Belt. The Mount Canobolas volcano was at the younger southern end of the volcanic boomerang that extended from Queensland to Oberon that includes the Warrumbungles. At least three separate eruptions occurred 11-13 million years ago above the northwest tending Canobolas Divide. This Divide and now Mount Canobolas separate the northerly draining Macquarie River catchment from the southerly draining Lachlan River system.
The first eruption formed a large shield volcano which spread magma over the older sediments of the region that include limestone, shales, slate, older volcanics and greywacke. Fluid basalt lava later covered a large area from Borenore to Millthorpe at mostly the 850-1000m elevation. The last eruption produced slower moving trachyte lava which formed the steep sided domes at high elevation such as Young Man Canobolas, Old Man Canobolas and Towac Peak.
For more information click here to download the Terroir Report.
To Purchase a copy of the printed Terroir guide, please visit the Orange Visitor Information Centre.