Upcoming Tours Major Grapes: Shiraz, Chardonnay
Welcome to Australia
Of all the wine countries of the new world, Australia adopted the grape cultivation to the fullest. The result is a litany of wines comparable to the best in the world. For whites, Australia does great work with chardonnay, semillon and sauvignon blanc. In reds, cabernet has been king, but Australia’s unique claim to fame is the shiraz. In the right hands, shiraz yields a suberb wine.
The primary grape regions are New South Wales, Upper Hunter Valley, Victoria and Tasmania. The Barossa Valley has epitomized the best of Australia’s wine regions.
Australia is so similar to California with its excellent winegrowing conditions. Almost every year is a vintage year and the versatility of its soil allows it to produce a classical style Cabernet, a good vintage Port type, superb dry white wines and luscious dessert wines.
The vine in Australia is as old as the settlement itself. When Captain Arthur Phillip set sail from England in 1788, he brought the first vines to start the wine industry.
There are numerous wine districts in Australia, the most important being New South Wales, with its Hunter River, Corowa and Murrumbidgee Irrigation Areas. There is also Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
Australia can produce wines from just about any grape. It makes wonderful Chardonnays, Rieslings and Semillons for whites, and Cabernet and Merlot for reds. Its singular claim to fame is the Shiraz or Syrah. Penfolds’ Grange is the one first-growth of the southern hemisphere.
Australia in one generation became a true wine consuming country. Australians drink more wine than English or Americans.