Ricca Terra has established a reputation for growing Italian grape varieties (our name means ‘rich earth’ in Italian) however there are only a certain number of Italian grape varieties you can fit in one farm! The challenge for Ricca Terra’s viticulturist and owner, Ashley Ratcliff, was identifying a region and grape varieties that could compliment varieties such as Fiano, Vermentino, Montepulciano and Nero d’Avola that were already the cornerstone of Ricca Terra. Fortunately, an experimental vineyard (Riverland Vine Improvement) just five kilometres from Ricca Terra, had a range of Portuguese grape varieties. In some instances, the plantings were restricted to no more than three vines. After a few years of observing how these varieties performed in the warm and dry conditions of the Riverland, Ashley selected the varieties that would be planted in a new vineyard that would be known as the ‘Portuguese Paddock’.
Today, the 6Ha vineyard contains grapes varieties such as Touriga Nacional, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Cão, Tinta Barroca, Parraleta, Souzão, Alvarinho and Arinto. This diverse planting of Portuguese grape varieties in a single vineyard is extremely rare in Australia and unique to Ricca Terra. To avoid confusion, Ashley created a new stand alone wine label for these wines, called ‘Terra do Rio’, meaning land of river. Many of the wines made under the Terra do Rio label are small production, in some instances less than 70 cases.
The Terra do Rio offering is a unique opportunity to taste and enjoy some wines that are only available in very small quantities. Many are on the verge of selling out.