Introduction

By Lisa Rowlands

With a population of just twenty-five million people and a land area of over seven million square kilometres, Australia is a nation of geographic and cultural diversity. Its most iconic images - Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney Harbour - are instantly recognised all around the world and its reputation as the ultimate tourist destination is well deserved. A favourable climate, much revered outdoor lifestyle, beautiful coastline and some of world’s most exciting urban areas, make Australia a truly unique and unforgettable destination. Add to this, the alluring appeal of a vast and efficient network of wine tourism possibilities, and you have the perfect place for the budding connoisseur.

Vitis Vinifera vines were introduced to Australia at the beginning of the nineteenth century with the first domestically produced wines offered for sale around twenty years later. Initial growth in the industry was slow owing to the unfamiliarity of the Australian climate, but from the 1850s onwards, with the introduction of key French grape varieties and a deeper understanding of the country’s diverse terroir, Australian wine began to find its groove. International success ensued before the Phylloxera epidemic wiped out much of the nation’s vines, but since re-establishing itself, the Australian wine industry has very quickly risen to the rank of viticultural super power.

Today Australia has more than one-hundred-and-thirty thousand hectares under vine, sixty-five designated appellations and is amongst the world’s most prolific exporters. Each of the nation’s states makes wine in some quantity but the vast majority is produced in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. Given its size, topographical diversity and the influence of surrounding oceans for coastal sites, Australia’s range of microclimates is extensive and wide ranging. Hence, the number of grape varieties that have found suitable terroir here is plentiful, and the style of wines produced reflective of this.

Regions of Australia