Australia might not be as well known for its wines as France or Italy, but as the world’s fourth largest exporter of wine, it certainly holds its own. Aussie wines pack a flavourful punch and are as unique as the regions they hail from; whether it’s vibrant Shiraz from the iconic Barossa Valley in South Australia or crisp Riesling from Tasmania.
Australia’s wine regions
Australia is home to 420,000 acres of vineyard and produces more than 1.46 billion bottles of wine each year. Although it has over 60 designated wine regions, most Aussie wines come from one of the three major wine regions, which are South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.
So what can you expect from Australian wine country?
Some of the world’s oldest living vineyards are located in South Australia’s Barossa Valley, which is primarily known for its Old Vine Shiraz. New South Wales is historically known for its Chardonnay and Shiraz, but recently many winemakers have switched to more drought-friendly varieties like Tempranillo. Victoria’s cooler cool climate areas like Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula are known for producing excellent Pinot Noir.
Other notable wine regions include Tasmania, where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are king and queen, and Queensland, where the Granite Belt’s cooler climate and high acidity soil lend themselves to delicious light to medium bodied red wines and crisp citrusy white wines.
Varieties of Australian Wine
What are Australian winemakers known for if not Shiraz? Even so, while this versatile and vibrant wine is now one of the highest produced varieties in Australia, it certainly isn’t the only notable Australian offering.
Cabernet Sauvignon is grown widely in South Australia, and Chardonnay actually accounts for half of Australia’s white wine production and can be found just about every Aussie wine region. Other well-loved Australian-style wines include the softly textured Merlots from warmer inland regions and the subtle Sauvignon Blancs that hail from Adelaide Hills.