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An Introduction to Australian Wine

Updated on December 1, 2012
The Hunter Vally in Australia
The Hunter Vally in Australia

Australian Wine Regions

Barossa Valley
Barossa Valley
McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale
Clare Valley
Clare Valley

Wine and Grapes

Comparing the color of two different wines
Comparing the color of two different wines

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An Introduction to Australian Wine

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If you enjoy drinking and learning about wine from all over the world, here is a list of ten things that you should know about Australian wine:

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1. Australia is the sixth largest producer of wine in the world (4.38 % of the world’s production in 2009). Australia is sixth in the world in wine production behind France, Italy, Spain, the United States and Argentina.

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2. Australia is the fourth largest exporter of wine around the world. Australia provides 16% of the wine imported into India, 17 % of the wine imported into the United States and it is the largest supplier of still wines to the United Kingdom.

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3. The per capita consumption of wine in Australia is 23.2 liters per year, which is slightly more than in the UK (20.7 liters) and more than twice as much as in the United States (8.96 liters).

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4. Australians prefer white wine to red wine although this preference is gradually changing. In 1986, 80 % of Australian wine consumption was white and recently that has declined to 60 %. Here in America, most of the Australian wine that we see for sale is red wine.

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5. South Australia produces more than half of all of the wine produced in Australia and half of that is shipped to the United States. Important wine regions there are Barossa Valley, Eden Valley, Coonawarra, Padthaway, Riverland, Adelaide Hills and Clare Valley.

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6. Other important regions are Hunter Valley and Tumbarumba in New South Wales, Yarra Valley in Victoria and Margaret River in Western Australia.

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7. Australian wines are labeled similar to California wines with the grape variety listed first and then the region in which the grapes were grown.

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8. Perhaps the best known Australian red wine grape variety is the Shiraz (Syrah) followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.

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9. The most widely planted white wine grapes are the Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.

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10. The Tasmanian Wine Zone is rapidly becoming a good source of premium wines made from cooler climate grape varieties such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.

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THE MAJOR WINE REGIONS OF AUSTRALIA ARE SHOWN ON THE FOLLOWING MAP:

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The Wine Regions of Australia

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There are 27 wine zones and 63 Wine regions in Australia. They are located in four states - New South Wales, South Australia , Victoria and Western Australia. In addition, Tazmania is considered as a single wine zone and a single region. The Following table provides the details with the more popular regions highlighted in yellow.

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Australion Wine Zones and Wine Reions

Source

Australian Wine Video

A
Sydney, Australia:
Sydney NSW, Australia

get directions

B
New South Wales, Australia:
New South Wales, Australia

get directions

C
Victoria, Australia:
Victoria, Australia

get directions

D
Barossa Valley, Australia:
Barossa Valley, Tanunda SA 5232, Australia

get directions

E
Margaret River, Australia:
Margaret River WA 6285, Australia

get directions

How To Read An Australian Wine Label

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Vintage – Optional, but must be at least 85 % if claimed. Multiple varieties can be claimed but must be at least 95 % and must be listed in descending order.

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Grape Variety – Optional, but must be at least 85 % if claimed. Multiple varieties can be claimed but they must be listed in descending order.

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Region (GI) – Optional, but must be at least 85 % if claimed. Multiple GI claims are acceptable but they must be listed in descending order.

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Brand Name – Must not be misleading

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Country of Origin – Mandatory

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Alcohol Content – Tolerance varies with the product

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Name and Address – Mandatory

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The following link takes you to a sample Australian wine label.

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Australian Wine Vintages

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It should be fairly obvious that Australian wine vintage ratings will not follow European or California wine vintage ratings since they are in different hemispheres and the Australian grapes are harvested six months earlier.

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However, much like in California, there are no really bad Australian vintages. To help you to understand which years produced better wines, I have provided a link to Robert Parker's chart of recent wine vintages.

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Please keep in mind that vintage ratings are only overall averages and in every vintage, some grape varieties performed better than others and so did some wine producers.

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Comments

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    • rjsadowski profile imageAUTHOR

      rjsadowski 

      6 years ago

      I assume that the fine Australian red wines are very expensive just like the good French, Italian and California wines. When I started drinking wine in the 1960s people bought wine to drink it. Then about 1970, the financial analysts told everyone that fine red wine ia a good investment and non drinkers drove up the price of good red wine. Today , a lot of people buy fine wine in hopes that the price will go up and never even bother to taste it. The secret is to discover good wines before the speculators do.

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      That's very interesting! Another good reason to visit Australia some day! Thanks for sharing :)

    • brackenb profile image

      brackenb 

      6 years ago

      An interesting and informative article. I learnt a great deal. Thank you.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 

      6 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      You won't believe it, but with the soaring Aussie dollar it is cheaper for us to buy French wine than local wines! The other day I bought a top quality burgundy for $15, where the equivilant aussie wine was $29...! It's a bit crazy. Your've inspired me to wine a hub on my cellar - might introduce you to special local wines. Cheers Michael

    • rjsadowski profile imageAUTHOR

      rjsadowski 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for your comments. Of course the best way to learn about the wine of a country is to live there and visit the vineyards. I regret that I have never been to Australia and I hoped to introduce Americans to Australian wine which is becoming more available here and which is an excellent substitute for the more expensive French and Italian wines.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 

      6 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Great article on Australian wines rjsadowski! I live in SA and my favourite areas are the Barossa for Shiraz, the Clare Valley for Riesling and softer reds, the Coonawarra for Cav Sav, Adelaide Hills for Sav Blancs and McLaren Vale for lighter Reds. The great news about living in Adelaide is I can be in these premium wine districts within 45 minutes (except Clare - 75 mins & Coonawarra 4 hours). We are very lucky!

      I think that now Australian's are mainly red drinkers, this would have been a definite change since 1986. Also we drink less beer now as we have switch to wine.

      Great hub - Cheers Michael

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