Posted by: travelrat | March 7, 2012

Wine and Roses

Chateau Barrosa

There’s a connection between wine and roses besides the title of the well-known song. In Italy, they sometimes plant a rose bush at the end of a row of vines. The idea is that, if there are any ‘nasties’ about, they’ll strike the roses first, and the viticulturalist can take any necessary action early.

We first saw this going on at the Mercouris vineyard in Greece … the vine-grower learnt his trade in Italy, and brought the practice with him. And, let me say that Mercouris is very good wine. It was there I formed the theory that the Greeks have managed to persuade tourists that retsina is the wine of choice in Greece, and keep the good stuff for themselves.

Fellow blogger Mike Kingdom-Hockings says that growing roses along with grape vines is also practised in South Africa. It’s  fairly common in Australia, too.

Mercouris Vineyard, Greece

I’ve already written about our favourite, ‘Corkscrew Road’ which we discovered purely by chance. We stopped at the Chain of Ponds winery in the Adelaide Hills attracted, not by the winery itself, but by the beautiful rose garden behind it.

However, the lady in the shop hadn’t heard of the original purpose. She thought they’d been planted because they looked nice, rather than from any practical reason.

On our trip to the Barossa Valley, we called at the Chateau Barrosa … a mis-spelling I think is deliberate, and a not very good pun! Yes, we tried some of their wine, and liked it enough to buy some. We passed on their grape liqueurs, though … to be fair, we don’t like any liqueur; it’s usually too sweet and sticky for our tastes.

We’d really come to see their famous rose garden. There’s nearly 30,000 roses in it! And, it’s become so famous, they’ve renamed the road on which it stands Hermann Thumm Drive, after the founder.

But, when he opened his motel there, and planted a few roses around it 30 years ago, I wonder if he ever dreamed it would expand to the extent of today, with its motel, winery and 12 Ha of gardens?

Rose Garden, Chateau Barrosa

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Here, I take a short break; there won’t be a Friday entry of a ‘Pic of the Week’ this week. I’ll be back home on Sunday night, and will post, as usual, on Monday if I get back early enough. Otherwise, I will get the Monday dish up as soon as I can.

Update: In fact, the correct spelling IS ‘Barrosa’; Colonel William Light named the valley after a place in Spain where he’d campaigned … and spelt it wrongly!


  1. Garden is full of beautiful flowers.

  2. Hi,
    Lovely photos. I didn’t know about the idea of the roses at all, very interesting.
    Absolutely beautiful rose garden, 30,000 roses, the fragrance of these roses must be spectacular. 🙂

  3. I would love to see that rose garden. I didn’t know about roses in vineyards, either. I love that. It adds to the magic of the whole process. I really enjoyed this post. Have a good break!

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