Australian wines are mainly produced in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, but each Australian state and territory has some wine production, even those that are considered tropical zones. Read about the Australian wine growing regions, where they are located, which are the oldest, and the types of wine produced.
Australia is a big country with a vast range of soil types and climates and has around 60 wine-producing regions. The variety of grape growing conditions allows Australian wine makers to produce all of the major wine types across the gamut of red, white, fortified, sparkling and sweet dessert wines.
The most well-known wine producing regions of Australia are those that are located in the south east portion of the country, where the climate is generally cooler. These include the vineyards in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales which produce most of Australia's wine. However, wine is produced in every single one of Australiaâ€™s six states and two territories.
South Australiaâ€™s Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills have some of the worlds oldest grape vines as they were not wiped out by the phylloxera disease that wiped out many of the old vines in Europe and North America. South Australia accounts for the majority of Australian wine production and has seventeen different wine growing regions due to its diversity of soils and climatic zones. The major regions are the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, the Riverland, Clare Valley, Langhorne Creek, Padthaway and Coonawarra.
New South Wales
New South Wales is the oldest wine growing region in Australia as it was the first state to be colonised by Europeans, who brought vines with them. Like South Australia it has an extremely diverse range of climates and is divided into about a dozen different wine regions. The major regions are the Hunter Valley, the Riverina and Mudgee.
Wine production in Victoria began in 1838 and until the spread of phylloxera it was the premier wine state in Australia. Victoria has over 20 wine growing regions and the major ones are the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Goulburn Valley, Macedon Ranges, Rutherglen, Bendigo and Geelong.
Western Australia is the largest state of Australia and the country's most isolated wine regions have developed in its southwest corner. During the last 40 years the area has developed rapidly with many new wineries coming into existence that are most well-known for Sauvignon Blancs, Cabernet Sauvignons and Zinfandel. The major regions of Western Australia are Margaret River, Swan Valley and Great Southern.
Tasmania is an island state with a cool climate. It is well suited for the production of sparkling wine from classic varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Tasmania also produces Riesling, GewÃ¼rztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines that are noted for their crispness, delicate flavour and natural balance.
A large portion of Queensland is hot and tropical and therefore not suited for the production of quality wines. Queensland wine production is small compared to the other five states of Australia and the two wine growing regions are the Granite Belt and South Burnett. Queensland has the closest vineyard to the equator and vineyards are placed at sites with high altitude to compensate for the hot climate.
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory is part of the Canberra Wine Region which comprises the ACT and the surrounding area of New South Wales. Most of the vineyards are young with most established since 1990. These are cool climate wineries that are renowned for consistently performing white varieties such as Chardonnay and Riesling.
Most of the Northern Territory is totally unsuitable for grape growing but in the dry red heart of the Australian continent, only 15 kilometres from Alice Springs, there is a boutique vineyard and winery, the Chateau Hornsby. There is also Kakadu Winery near Darwin but their main drawcard is wine made from mangoes rather than grapes.