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Barossa Valley, South Australia
Perhaps Australia’s most famous wine region, the Barossa has some of the world’s oldest vines – some over a century old – and a German-influenced growing heritage dating back to 1842. The most common grape in the 13,000ha of vines is shiraz.
Margaret River, Western Australia
Although it was settled by Europeans in the 1830s, Margaret River didn’t become a wine-producing area until 1970s scientific work identified its gravelly sandy loam and Mediterranean climate as being perfect for growing grapes. Now with 155 wineries, it is renowned for powerful and elegant chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.
A picture-perfect WA sunset, as witnessed from the coast near Margaret River’s wineries.
Tamar Valley, Tasmania
The oldest of Tasmania’s wine areas, dating back to the mid 1800s, the Tamar Valley north of Hobart now produces about 40 per cent of the state’s wine. Pinot noir is the top drop, though chardonnay, riesling, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris and gewurztraminer are also grown.
The country’s unchallenged capital of fortified wine, Rutherglen has been producing top drops since the gold rushes of the 1850s. The loamy soils, hot days and cold nights provide favourable conditions for the region’s rare treasures: sweet tokays, muscats, ports and unique fortified aged white.
Hunter Valley, New South Wales
The Hunter Valley, around 120km north of Sydney in New South Wales, is the historic heart of winemaking in Australia. The region has about 130 wineries and its semillon is regarded as the world benchmark. Other main varieties are chardonnay, shiraz and verdelho.
The Hunter Valley is the sixth most visited place in Australia attracting more than 2.5 million people annually.
The Coonawarra’s terra rossa soil is perhaps the most famous soil in Australia. A red clay with eroded limestone, it is perfect for growing cabernet sauvignon. That, combined with the Mediterranean climate and a regular cloud cover that moderates the summer ripening period, make Coonawarra wines world famous.
McLaren Vale, South Australia
Australia’s most environmentally progressive wine region, McLaren Vale has 87 grape growers signed up to its sustainable winegrowing scheme. With 110 wineries and an industry dating back to 1838, it is one of only two Australian wine regions to be have been given special “character preservation” legislation in November 2012.
Yarra Valley, Victoria
The birthplace of the Victorian wine industry, dating back to 1838, the Yarra Valley has ebbed and flowed in wine production, ceasing altogether from 1921 to the 1960s. The region now boasts about 80 wineries. It is one of Australia’s coolest wine regions, with a mean January temperature of just 18°C.
Riverland, South Australia
Australia’s most productive grape-growing region, this area stretches along the Murray River to the Victorian border. It has about 1100 growers, produces some 380,000 tonnes of grapes a year, and about a quarter of Australia’s wine.
Riverina, New South Wales
Located around Griffith and Wagga Wagga, this Italian-influenced area took off in grape production when irrigated water became available through the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Scheme in 1912. It is now the second-largest wine producer in the country from some 300,000 tonnes of grapes grown each year.
Grapes in a Coonawarra vineyard, South Australia.
Grapes in a Yarra Valley vineyard, Victoria.
Australians produce about 4 per cent of the world’s wines. On average, each Australian drinks 23L of wine per year, making Australia the highest English-speaking consumers of wine per capita.
Home Travel Destinations Gallery: Best wine regions of Australia
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