Swiss and Italian immigrants played an integral role in the development of commercial viticulture in Australia. Vitis Vinifera was imported from Europe and the first vineyards were established between 1820 and 1840. In the mid 1950's Australia began adopting new science and technology which marked the beginning of the country's entry into the premium wine category.
Today Australia is the 6th biggest wine producer in the world and in March 2010 it was recorded as being the fourth-largest exporter of wine with an annual total of 773 million litres. Australian universities and research institutes are paramount contributors in the development of global wine production, and their graduates can be found worldwide making innovative wines.
'Regionaility' is a term coined by the Australians in an effort to emphasize the geographical influence of their variety labeled wines. There is a robust appellation system in place revolving around the regionally defined production areas known as 'Geographical Indications'. This aims to maintain and protect provenance as well as inform the consumer.
The range of styles found are vast: illustrious Shiraz based wines; approachable yet elegant Clare Valley Rieslings; opulent fortified and dessert wines and sparkling wines, made using the traditional Champagne method, and many more.