Ricca Terra = Rich Earth

In 2003 Ashley and Holly Ratcliff purchased a small 8Ha vineyard in the Riverland, South Australia. The vineyard was called Ricca Terra (Italian for Rich Earth). The soils found throughout the vineyard are red earth over limestone, which have the reputation for being very fertile. The vineyard purchased was planted to Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Ruby Cabernet and Sultana.

Ashley and Holly’s primary intent after purchasing the vineyard was to plant grape varieties appropriately suited to Australia’s warming and drying climatic conditions (Chardonnay was not one of these grape varieties).  Their second intent, was to manage their vineyards in a manner that would produce high quality wines. This resulted in the elimination of machine pruning and harvesting in many of their vineyards, which is a common occurrence throughout the Riverland.

Today (2019) Ricca Terra’s spread of vineyards is in excess of 80Ha, and one of the largest producers of climate adaptive grape varieties in South Australia.

Ashley and Holly’s vision to evolve a traditionally planted vineyard into one that could adapt to extreme climatic changes goes beyond just grape variety selection. The use of drought tolerant rootstocks, soil surface mulches, soil moisture monitoring probed and smart viticulture management are all playing their part in building a vineyard for the future!

 

 

“5 black star winery”

Halliday Wine Companion 2021 and 2020

The first Riverland winery to be awarded 5 stars, and One of the “Top Ten Best New Wineries in Australia”

Halliday Wine Companion 2020

 

Top 50 Finalist, 2020 Vineyard of the Year

Young Gun of Wine 2020

“Ricca Terra plants for climate change”

“The stats are out and it’s official: this summer has been the hottest in recorded history – and the first season when temperatures exceeded the long-term average by more than two degrees. So said the Bureau of Meteorology – quoted by the Fairfax press on February 28. If you think it’s been hot and dry where you live, and the mass fish-deaths on the Darling River upset you, spare a thought for those trying to grow wine grapes in the Riverland.  One of the region’s most thoughtful spokespeople, Ashley Ratcliff of Ricca Terra Farms, is a leading proponent of planting grape varieties that suit the hot, dry conditions – ie. Mediterranean and Iberian rather than classic French varieties.(…).”
Huon Hooke, The Real Review, March 2019

“Ratcliff finds his rich land”

“(…) they are among the most interesting wines to come my way lately.”
“Ashley Ratcliff is an innovative grapegrower in the South Australian Riverland and an active promoter of the region. He formerly worked for Yalumba both in Angaston and at its Oxford Landing vineyard, he manages a group of Riverland vineyards called Ricca Terra Farms and has just launched his own range of innovative wines.  The brand is Ricca Terra, and they are among the most interesting wines to come my way lately.(…).His philosophy is to plant and grow grape varieties that suit to hot, arid climate of the Riverland, using drought-tolerant rootstocks, hand picking and hand pruning as well as using viticultural methods that conserve water – never losing sight of the main goal which is to produce good wine.To that end, he’s been pulling out more and more cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay and planting more and more Mediterranean and Portuguese varieties. His new wines employ the black grapes nero d’avola, negroamaro, tinta barroca and tempranillo, and white grapes greco, vermentino, arinto and fiano.Ashley uses hand pruning because he needs to control the bud numbers, and thereby the yields. This can’t be done with machine pruning, which is the norm in large-scale vineyards. As well, he enlists top winemakers to do the vinification, and for his first batch of wines from the 2017 vintage, brothers Phil and David Lehmann and Hentley Farm’s Andrew Quin are the guys.(…).”
Huon Hooke, The Real Review, September 2017

Ricca Terra ‘Bronco Buster’ Fiano, Vermentino, Greco 2020

2 Trophies – Best White Blend + Best Italian Variety Australian Alternative Variety Wine Show 2020   Fiano, Vermentino and Greco. In a life before wine, Ricca Terra Farms’ Ashley Ratcliff was a horseman (representing Australia in 1991).  Growing up on a farm in the Adelaide Hills, he moved to a small town outside Fort Worth, Texas, USA, where his…

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Ricca Terra ‘Bullets Before Cannonballs’ Tempranillo, Lagrein, Aglianico, Shiraz 2020

The red grapes used to make this wine are some of the standout Mediterranean varieties found planted in Australia.  Ashley’s aim was to craft a wine that ‘shouted a statement’ to the world that blends of Mediterranean grape varieties grown in the Riverland would make great wines. The bullets have been shot…now for the cannonball! This is a very fragrant,…

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Ricca Terra ‘Colour of Calmness’ Negroamaro and Mataro Rosé 2020

Trophy – Best Rosé Riverland Wine Show 2020 After spending time working as a viticulturist in Southern Italy, Ricca Terra Farms’ Ashley Ratcliff fell in love with the locally produced pale red wines and how they enchanted the villagers that consumed them in iced filled tumblers under the summer sun.  This moment in time brought an apparent ‘calmness’ to a…

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Ricca Terra ‘Daisy Chain’ Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, Fiano, Greco 2018

Ashley and Holly Ratcliff are committed to investing in Mediterranean grape varieties and discovering how best they suit their region.  They are excited by their unique qualities, ability to adapt to their climate, and of course their drinkability! Like the flowers in a Daisy Chain, Ricca Terra wouldn’t exist without a chain of important people. The vignerons and winemakers; bottlers,…

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Ricca Terra ‘Juicy June’ Negroamaro, Grenache 2020

2020 ‘Juicy June’ Negroamaro and Grenache is Ricca Terra’s newest wine.  Get that grey out of your life and drink in the vibrant juiciness of this Nuovo style fresh red. Ashley Ratcliff has long been a trendsetter and was recently affectionately described by @wbmmagazine Editor, Anthony Madigan, as “(…) mad as a cut snake in a good way. His biggest badge is…

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Ricca Terra ‘Soldiers’ Land’ 90 Year Old Vines Grenache 2019

The release of the Ricca Terra ‘Soldiers’ Land’ is a proud moment in the company’s history.  This wine is made from 90-year-old vines that were planted under the Soldier Settlement Scheme. This wine has two purposes: the first is to acknowledge and hopefully preserve the remaining old vineyards located in the Riverland (planted by returning soldiers but unfortunately many have…

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Ricca Terra ‘The Marathon Man’ Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot 2018

Many think the marathon is the truest test of endurance, determination and self-discipline. The reality is, the marathon all about self-belief, the knowledge you can do better and making dreams come true! Over 42.195Km the human body sweats, strains and screams to the mind to stop!  But the mind knows that reaching the finish line will bring unprecedented satisfaction.  The…

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Ricca Terra Aglianico 2019

Trophy – Most Exciting Wine Australian Italian Varieties Wine Show 2020   Using different clones of the same grape variety is an excellent way to infuse complexity.  For many years there has only been one clone of Aglianico in Australia, but in recent time the importation of new clones have provided new options.  The Ricca Terra Aglianico is a blend…

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Ricca Terra Fiano 2020

Fiano has found stardom in Australia’s warm and dry landscape. It’s ability to create wine bursting with flavour make it one of our favourite white grape varieties.  The robust nature of Fiano lends itself to minimal inputs in the vineyard that are usually needed to grow grapes that are disease free. For a number of years Ricca Terra has grown…

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Ricca Terra Montepulciano 2020

Montepulciano is a grape variety originating from Italy.  It’s the number one variety when it comes to robustness – it’s literally bulletproof! The warm climatic conditions of Ricca Terra’s vineyards allow for a long ripening period and the development of flavoursome and rich wines.  A distinctive trait of Montepulciano is its caviar appearance in picking bins when harvested. Fermented in…

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Ricca Terra Nero d’Avola 2020

One of Australia’s Best Nero d’Avola “(…).“Savoury nose, slight salty note, cherry and earthy aromas too…” Kim Chalmers, Young Gun of Wine tasting, December 2020   Nero d’Avola is a red grape variety that originates from Sicily, which is perfectly suited to the warm and dry growing conditions of the Riverland.

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Ricca Terra Tinta Barroca 2018

Tinta Barroca is almost unknown in Australia, however, it’s renowned in Portugal as a variety used to make port.  The name itself was also interesting and fun and the wine that gives you ‘bounce’ was nicknamed ‘the energiser bunny’!  During his 14 years at Yalumba, Ash has championed many alternative grape varieties in Australia. Ashley Ratcliff, Ricca Terra’s Viticulturist and…

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