Australia is a vast island continent with only its coastal regions able to support agriculture and, hence, vine production: over 1.5 million tonnes of grapes crushed in 2020: 30% Shiraz and 19% Chardonnay. Wine is primarily produced in 5 states: N.S.W., Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia and each state has within it very distinct climate and topographical differences. In N.S.W., for example, the Hunter Valley region is probably the most well-known with its Hunter Semillon and Chardonnay, all very much put on the map in the 1970’s by the long-established Tyrrell family. The neighbouring state of Victoria has at least 800 wineries, many small and catering to local consumption only. Recently the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne, has come to the fore with its super Pinot Noirs. 260 miles (420km) across the Bass Strait divides Victoria from the island of Tasmania. It is a mountainous state, windy with a heavy rainfall. Nevertheless, the leading grapes of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are producing some fine wines and, although still small in quantity, are now receiving decent global recognition. It could be added that Tasmania has many notable whisky distilleries!
South Australia is now producing at least half of Australia’s total output each year and wines of extraordinary quality from some of its wine-producing regions – the Barossa Valley: think Penfold’s Grange; Eden Valley: Henschke’s Hill of Grace, Seppelts and Yalumba; Clare Valley: Petaluma, Kilikanoon and Jim Barry; McLaren Vale: D’Arenberg, Fox Creek and Mollydooker; Coonawarra: Wynns and Petaluma, and finally the Adelaide Hills: Petaluma, Shaw & Smith and Lucy Margaux.
And now to Western Australia, its capital Perth almost 3300 kms(over 2000 miles) from Sydney. Today best known of the southern wine regions, blessed by westerlies off the Indian Ocean, is Margaret River where we have Vasse Felix, Cape Mentelle, Voyager, Stella Bella and McHenry Hohnen, to name but a few.
Certainly over the last 30 years Australian wine-making producers, technology, expertise and quality have beneficially influenced wine production all around the world.