Australian wine production enjoys a reputation for being one of the world’s most exquisite and exciting in the industry. From classic, timeless options, to innovative and experimental styles, the wine scene of the Land Down Under certainly has much to offer wine lovers.
Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or you just want to enjoy a glass of Australia’s finest, there’s a wine region, style, and bottle that’s perfect for you, just waiting to be discovered.
As with anything worth doing, if you want to drink Australian wine, you have to do it right, so here’s everything you need to know about the wines of Australia.
⇒ Looking for other wine regions to visit? Check out this list of the best wine vacations around the world.
About Australian Wine
Grape Varieties in Australia
Featuring around 155 grape varieties, Australian wine has a great amount of diversity.
Shiraz, also known as Syrah, is the most popular and wide-spread grape variety in Australia, with some of the oldest Shiraz vines in the world. Shiraz wines are known for their numerous styles, ranging from juicy wines with rich blackberry and plum flavors to exquisite wines with distinct regional characteristics.
The Chardonnay grape is the second most popular option that, along with Shiraz, accounts for 44 percent of Australia’s wine production.
When it comes to other options, Australia also features Mediterranean varieties, such as Moscato, Vermentino and Montepulciano, as well as the much loved Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Australian winemakers are re-discovering the forgotten value of older varieties, such as the white Chenin blanc grape and the red Mourvèdre and Grenache.
Australia Wine Regions
Stretching across six states, there are 65 Australian wine regions featuring different climate, types of soil, geography and topography. From the highest and coolest vineyards in the Granite Belt region to hidden wineries in small towns, there’s plenty of wine destinations to visit.
Some of the most visited regions are:
- Adelaide is the wine centre of South Australia, and the largest region in the country.
- The Barossa Valley is the most prestigious wine growing area in the region with some of the world’s oldest vineyards, nestled just a few miles away from Adelaide.
- McLaren Vale is located in the same central area as Adelaide and Barossa and features elegant Shiraz, as well as ultra-premium Grenache and Cabernet.
- New South Wales accounts for 31 percent of Australia’s total wine production, with most popular areas being Riverina, also known as Murrumbidgee, the historic Hunter Valley, Mudgee and Orange.
- Margaret River is located in southwestern Australia and features mostly boutique-sized wineries with international varietals.
- Yarra Valley can be found about an hour southeast of Melbourne. It is a cool climate region that is best known for producing Chardonnay, sparkling wine, and Pinot noir.
- Tasmania, an island off the southeastern side of Australia, has a small production and is known for its cool climate wines.
How to Choose the Best Australian Wines
The Inexpensive vs. the High-End
The more affordable Australian wines come from the entire region of South Eastern Australia, which means that they typically don’t have regional characteristics. They are more user-friendly, with intense grape flavors and playful labels. More expensive Australian wines are known for their region-specific flavors.
While the inexpensive varieties are typically drunk young, the high-end options are more serious, and are left to age for a few years or more.
With some of the oldest vineyards in the world, Australia features a range of rich, classic wines that you simply have to try. If you want to taste Australia’s fine white wine, these options should be at the top of your list:
- Blend of Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon
- Barossa Valley Riesling
- King Valley Chardonnay
For classic reds, try the Ninth Island’s Pinot Noir, an exquisite Tasmanian option, and the elegant Peter Lehmann Cabernet Sauvignon. Dean Hewitson’s savoury Old Garden is yet another classic red wine made from the Mourvèdre grape variety planted in the 1840s.
If you’re a wine connoisseur, you’ll be charmed by the rich taste of these wines. And if you’re not, there’s no better way to start than from Australia’s finest.
Australia’s wine scene is also marked by some of the new stars that have found their way under the spotlight over the recent years. Innovative grape varieties and styles have brought rich new wines with distinctive regional flavors that can stand proudly next to the old classics.
Coming from cool Adelaide Hills, the rich, elegant and fresh BK Wines One Ball Chardonnay is undoubtedly one of the most popular new options, along with the Brash Higgins Nero d’Avola, a Mediterranean variety with a savory, tangy flavour.
From new flavours made from innovative grapes, to old classic wines with a long tradition, Australia will delight you with its wine selection and transform you into a true connoisseur.
Pin it for later!
Laura is the founder and editor of the travel blogs Savored Sips and Savored Journeys. She is dedicated to sharing the best information about drinks found around the world.