When you think of wine, botanic gardens don’t often spring to mind. But in what’s believed to be a world first, Adelaide Botanic Garden has produced a vintage made from grapes grown in its own backyard.

The limited-edition wines were launched last week, made solely from grapes harvested in the south-eastern section of the Adelaide Botanic Garden. The tiny inner-city vineyard is managed by the bordering National Wine Centre, producing 16 grape varieties that include tempranillo, riesling, merlot and shiraz.

Adelaide Botanic Garden’s 2017 Field Blend Rosé or Dry White can be picked up at the National Wine Centre for $25 a bottle, or sipped by the glass at the Gardens’ shady Café Fibonacci. With just 1,266 bottles available, they won’t be around for long.

The 2017 vintage marks the second year in an exciting collaboration between the Botanic Gardens of South Australia, the National Wine Centre and Jacob’s Creek Winemakers, which is already planning to release a third vintage in 2018.

Lucy Sutherland, Director of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia, says the wine is a good example of the importance of plants to South Australians.

“The importance of premium wine to South Australia’s economy is well known, but the product is also woven into the state’s cultural fabric, with SA having some of the oldest grape vines in the world.

“To be able to build on that story, carrying out the ancient tradition of transforming grapes into wine in the heart of the city in partnership with two of SA’s most esteemed institutions, is a real treat.”

The wines’ iconic origin is also alluded to on the labels, which are illustrated with the Botanic Garden’s signature Amazon Waterlily (Victoria amazonica) – a coveted species that only flowers for 48 hours, and was first displayed to South Australians in 1868.

Ben Bryant, Chief Winemaker at Jacob’s Creek, says the cooler growing season has helped to give the 2017 vintage “fantastic flavour and freshness”.

The wine isn’t the Botanic Gardens’ first foray into alcohol production – in 2014, it produced a Botanic Ale from its own barley, grown as part of the Adelaide Botanic Garden’s City Crop.

If this is the future of botanic gardens, then we’re definitely in.

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