A Guide To Australian Wine

By: Louise Truswell

In the last 20 years, Australia has really made its mark in the wine world. The country produces a variety of wines from a number of wine growing regions and has revolutionised winemaking processes, making it a real force to be reckoned with in the wine-growing world.

The vast majority of Australian wine comes from South Australia, although Victoria and New South Wales are both key players in the country’s wine output. Western Australia produces a smaller volume and has earned itself the reputation of producing more expensive, boutique quality wines. Look to Tasmania if you fancy something sparkling or a little sweeter.

The most widely planted grapes in Australia are international varieties. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are all big on the red front, while Chardonnay, Semillon and Riesling are all popular whites. Alongside these, Australian winemakers are increasingly experimenting with some of the remaining 80 or so grape varieties that are planted in Australia, meaning that you can expect some interesting Australian wines to come out of the country in the coming years.

Australia has made its name for producing most of the big branded wines that are available in the UK. This is largely because land in Australia is plentiful and winemakers don’t have the restrictions of space that European wine-makers do. In addition, as the climate doesn’t vary much from year to year, there is little difference between vintages, giving Australian wines a degree of reliability that is impossible to guarantee from Old World countries. However, in an effort to ensure that every bottle tastes identical, many of the mass-produced Australian wines will have had other ingredients, such as additives, added to them. While you can be sure that the wine will have been made according to rigorous quality standards, all elements of their uniqueness and soul will have been removed. If you fancy something a little more authentic, you’ll just need to hunt a little deeper. There are plenty of small, independent, wineries producing Australian wine for love and not money.

Australia is at the forefront of innovation and Australian wine-makers have invested huge amounts in developing some of the most modern wineries and in re-evaluating their wine producing techniques. Combined, these have allowed Australian wine-makers to experiment with different grapes and styles. Not only this but Australian wine-makers have become champions of producing simpler labels (which include simply grapes and regions), making it easy for even the beginner wine enthusiast to understand.

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Louise Truswell works in and writes about the Australian wine industry. If you are interested in finding out more, or would like to choose from a range of Australian wines, visit virginwines.com/wine-zone/australian-wine

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