Although technically a New world wine producing country, Australian wines seem to have been around for ever. The diverse climate across this enormous country allows them to grow practically any grape variety and produce an amazing array of wines. Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Hunter Valley, McLaren Vale, Margaret River and Tasmania are just some of the world renowned wine producing regions that Australia can boast.
Wine regions of Australia.
Adelaide Hills is an Australian geographical indication (agi) for wine made from grapes grown in this area in South Australia. The most common varieties planted are Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay followed by Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.
An excellentexampleof this is Wirra Wirra 12th Man Chardonnay
One of the oldest wine producing areas in South Australia, about 35 miles northeast of Adelaide, this region is famous for its richly flavoured Shiraz red wines from some of the best producers such as Penfolds, Peter Lehman, Wolff Blass and Yalumba. Other grape varieties planted in the Barossa Valley are Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Chardonnay and Sémillon.
Another region in South Australia, about 120kms north of Adelaide city. This area is famous for its Riesling wines as it has a more continental climate leading to cool evenings even in the summer. Only contributing 2% of total grape crush it wins 7% of awards to Australian wines! Red varieties are predominant in Clare with Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz the two main varieties planted.
A region famous for its “terra rossa” or red soils and long lived Cabernet Sauvignon wines made famous by Wynns and Penfolds. The climate is similar to Bordeaux in that it is only 60km from the ocean and quite cool for a good part of the year, suiting Cabernet Sauvignon. Other varieties that do well in the limestone soils are Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Red wines dominate though.
Situated 38km south of Adelaide city this is one of the oldest wine producing areas in Australia. Red wines made from Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvèdre are the most important, Shiraz accounting for over 50% of the crush. McLaren red wines are known for their power, structure, elegance and complexity. The Shiraz grapes tend to be smaller here than other regions which leads to a more concentrated flavour.
A good area for sampling Australian red wine as there are over 90 cellar door wineries where you can try the wines from.
Situated in New South Wales, quite close to Sydney, this area has become well known for Australian white wines. Going back to the early 1800’s vines have been planted here. Hunter Valley Sémillon is considered to be the iconic wine from this region but there are many good Australian wines produced from a variety of different grapes in this region.
Tyrells Vat 47 Chardonnay was said to have been the bottle that launched a million bottles of Chardonnay on the world!
Although this is the largest state in Australia the wine making regions are confined to the cooler southerly corner of WA, producing only 5% of the total wines in Australia they are top quality and win 35-40% of awards!
Within WA there are 3 regions, Margaret River, Swan District and Great Southern. The Great Southern is the largest and coolest region growing a wide variety of grapes, Margaret River has a temperate climate and Swan District is the hottest.
The Yarra Valley is the oldest region in Victoria, dating back to 1838, and has garnered a reputation for its white wine made from Chardonnay and Red wine from Pinot Noir.
Also sparkling wine is well established in this area with Moët &Chandon opening a winery here, Domaine Chandon.