Definition - What does Australia mean?
Australia is known as a producer of large quantities of the world’s wine supply which can be attributed to its large size and variation in climates and soils. Located in the southern Pacific Ocean, Australia is an island so large, it is also one of the 7 continents. There are approximately 60 different regions that produce wine providing many different options of varietal propagation, the oldest regions are Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, and the three main growing regions include Victoria, New South Wales and S. Australia.
The large topography in Australia includes many different soil types, sandy soils, soil mixed with gravel, red clays over limestone foundations and volcanic soils.
WineFrog explains Australia
Australia does not have any native grapevines, the first imported grapevines were planted after the original arrival of European settlers in 1788. Before most of European grapevines in the 1800's were plagued with phylloxera, James Busby, an Australian viticulturist, imported over 500 vine cuttings to Australia. In 1831, with 350+ surviving cuttings, Busby started the first vineyards in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens, South Australia and Victoria, which contain some of the rarest historic European grapevines.
Australian Wine Growing Regions
Western Australia - The largest wine region, it includes two sub regions have temperate climates and produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Semillon, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc:
- Margaret River
The Northern Territory is responsible for producing Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz and has a short, hot summer with either dry or humid growing climates.
Queensland - This region has vineyards in higher altitudes which are home to Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Viognier wines and warm spring/summer climates with cool winter months.
South Australia - is the driest region with cold ocean breezes. It includes five sub regions that produce Shiraz, Semillon, Grenache, Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon Sauvignon Blanc:
- Barossa Valley
- Clare Valley
- Adelaide Hills
- McLaren Vale
Thes regions make Shiraz, Semillon, Grenache, Chardonnay, Reisling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon Sauvignon Blanc.
Victoria - Includes three sub regions that produce wide range of varietals like Pinot Noir, Shiraz, sparkling wines, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc due to a diverse climate:
- Yarra Valley
- Mornington Peninsula
- Macedon Ranges.
New South Wales - Includes two cool maritime climate sub regions which make Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot:
- Hunter Valley
The island of Tasmania - Located off Australia’s southern coast, which has a cool/cloudy climate, it produces Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling.