Regional Development Australia Barossa recently advertised a Thinking Barossa forum headed with a question, Can we have it all?With a title like that it piqued my interest in regional development so I booked in online and looked forward to making the drive out along the new Northern Expressway and through the valley.
At late notice I decided to drive up to the Barossa Valley the night before the forum and I booked into the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort in Rowland Flat. Arriving after dark I was happy to see the resort had been updated with a number of improvements from the last time I stayed there for a conference which was a few years ago now. The room was modern; a good size and waking up in the morning to a stunning sunny view over the valley was just lovely.
The forum was at the Old Redemption Cellars, Peter Lehmann Wines in Tanunda, and a short drive from the resort. With lovely grounds I was envious of their rose display and the cellar had a rustic veranda where we had a beautifully prepared BBQ lunch with local produce at the end of the formal proceedings.
Questions such as, How can we maintain sustainable, liveable communities and valuable food production areas in co-existence with a growing Adelaide and Barossa Valley? What will the preservation of Barossa and McLaren Vale agricultural lands mean? What are the implications of options such as UNESCO World Heritage Status? provided for interesting debate and discussion. Speakers included the Hon John Rau, MP, Tim Horton the Commissioner for Integrated Design and Prof. Randy Stringer from the School of Agriculture Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide.
Take away messages for me included the idea proposed by John Rau to draw rings around Adelaide and towns in regional areas to slow urban sprawl, the importance of maintaining the essence of the Barossa Valley from the community up, the need for a long term economic development plan (and therefore a workforce plan by Workforce BluePrint), the question of can we have economic growth without population growth, and that design is about synthesising possibilities, problem solving and responding to vision.
Having limited understanding of what it means to gain UNESCO World Heritage Status, I enjoyed Randy’s explanation of the opportunity for South Australia across the Fleurieu, Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley and Clare agrarian, wine and food regions supported by significant trails and events.
I knew a couple of people, met lots more and enjoyed the day which officially finished after lunch. So then what to do? Well, on my way back to Adelaide I first pulled into the well known Jacobs Creek Visitors Centre and Restaurant. It’s an interesting and contemporary building that makes use of the vineyard and hills views with zones for wine tasting, eating, functions and enjoying the outdoors on the deck. Sweet wine is my favourite so I picked up a gift pack with white and pink moscato plus a couple of Jacobs Creek glasses and a copy of Barossa Wine Traveller.
Next I called into Grant Burge Wines having heard about the impressive gardens and grounds. I loved the cellar door which had a conservatory style looking out over the old cellar covered in vines and down towards the water feature and formal garden. Purchasing a moscato and the new Autumn edition of the Barossa Living magazine I drove through picturesque Lyndoch and Gawler. Arriving home I put my feet up, with a glass of wine and read the new publications I had bought making plans to return to the region for theBarossa Vintage Festival from 23 April to 1 May 2011 – see you there!