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Growing some of the oldest vines in the world, it is no wonder the Barossa Valley region has such an extraordinarily rich wine heritage. This valley has been home to grape-growing families since 1842 and many plots of land are still being worked by sixth-generation growers to produce the world-famous red wine varieties.
About an hour’s drive northeast from Adelaide, the Barossa Valley has a predominantly warm, Mediterranean climate with some cooler vineyards in the surrounding higher elevated hills. Whilst the bold Barossa Valley Shiraz is undeniably the regional hero and comfortably sits amongst the world's great wines, this region also continuously produces premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache vines.
Wine Varieties: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache
The Yarra Valley was Victoria's first planted wine region, beginning with a vineyard at Yering Station in 1838. Situated just 45 kilometres east of Melbourne’s CBD, the Yarra Valley is a large and diverse region, with a unique landscape and terrain that offers a vast array of growing sites for outstanding cool-climate wines.
The cooler climate produces a different style to that of the more full bodied wines that you’ll find in the Barossa Valley, particularly amongst reds, but also white varieties such as Chardonnay, which have a more subtle note.
Wine Varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz
Margaret River is known as one of the most remote and isolated wine regions in the world. Surrounded by ancient forests and rugged coastlines, this region is packed with five-star wineries. Once considered a hidden oasis, this region took off in the wine industry after the arrival of two research scientists in the 1950’s deemed it an ideal location for growing high-quality grapes, with its ancient soils combined with Mediterranean climate and the cool sea breezes creating a long, dry ripening season.
As they say, the rest is history. In the space of less than fifty years these dedicated winemakers have cultivated an international reputation for producing first-class cabernet sauvignon and chardonnays.
Wine Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay
Home to some of Australia’s most renowned vineyards, The Hunter Valley is the most well-known wine region in New South Wales, and the oldest in all of Australia, dating back to 1823.
Situated roughly an hour north of Sydney, it is also one of the country’s most Northern wine regions, with its inland location offering a combination of warm summers with cooler winters, encouraging the making of wines with a sophisticated medium body, somewhere in between warmer climate South Australian and cooler climate Victorian wines.
Wine Varieties: Shiraz, Semmilon, Chardonnay, Verdelho
Long been seen as the state’s little brother to the better known Yarra Valley wine region, with the industry proper starting in the 1970s, the Mornington Peninsula is now having a real moment. Home to much smaller vineyards than most of the country’s other renowned wine regions, the Peninsula’s reputation as a gourmet destination pairs well with its independent boutique aesthetic.
With most vineyards situated in the hills between Port Phillip Bay and the rugged Bass Strait, the sea breezes result in temperatures that are on average a few degrees cooler than Melbourne, roughly an hour to its North, which is already Australia’s coolest capital city (in every sense of the word). This allows for earthy and subtle wines, most notably its Pinot and sparkling varieties, but also its distinct cooler climate Shiraz.
Wine Varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Pinot Gris, Shiraz
Welcome to the home of Australia’s Riesling! With a history of wine-making dating back over 160 years, it is steeped with tradition and heritage as one of Australia’s oldest wine-producing areas with many family-run wineries operating alongside innovative new producers. Known worldwide for its signature wine; the Reisling, Clare Valley also produces award-winning red varieties such as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Located roughly 90 minutes North of Adelaide, the Clare Valley’s elevated sites and alluvial soils, combined with the warm temperature of the area and cooling maritime breezes, provide a Mediterranean-style climate that is not dissimilar to that of the Hunter Valley, lending itself to more medium bodied varieties than the neighbouring Barossa region.
Wine Varieties: Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon
Nestled in the Barossa high country is Eden Valley, one of Australia’s premier cool-climate wine regions. Often mistaken for being part of the Barossa Valley, these are in fact two distinct subregions that together create the Barossa region. Despite being immediate neighbours these regions have a distinction in the wine being produced. Eden Valley wines are characterised by the powerful aromatics of the higher elevation compared to the vines growing in the warm climate of the Barossa Valley.
With a similarly rich heritage, Eden Valley features some of the oldest Riesling and Shiraz vines in Australia. Home to a passionate community of sixth and fifth-generation growers, these winemakers continue to balance tradition with sustainability to produce captivating red and white wine styles.
Wine Varieties: Riesling, Chardonnay, Shiraz
The island state of Tasmania is home to a number of wine subregions, but perhaps the most well-known is the Tamar Valley, which runs along the Tamar River between Bass Strait and Launceston. Tasmanian wines are very much in-vogue right now, with Tasmania’s mild temperatures providing the optimal environment for cool climate Pinot varieties.
A major factor in Tasmania’s surgance as a wine destination has been Hobart’s iconic Museum Of New Art (MONA), which owns the Moorilla Estate, with its original vineyard situated on MONA’s grounds. The aesthetic of MONA and Moorilla Estate perfectly match the broader wine industry of their state, which is one that is making its mark by daring to be different, while still respecting tradition.
Wine Varieties: Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sparkling
While some vineyards date back to the 1840s, the wine industry didn’t really take off in the Adelaide Hills until the 1970s, with the region’s climate recognised as optimal for wine making. This relative youth in the wine industry is similar to Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, as is its climate and rural landscape, despite being so close to a major city, with its steep hills and deep valleys creating different microclimates that inspire the creativity of local winemakers.
Only 20 minutes from Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills experiences cool, dry summers and crisp winters for an overall cooler climate. Combined with the higher-altitude, this allows for the classic production of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as creating alternative varieties. Adelaide Hills is now known to be home to small artisan winemakers who continue to push the boundaries of traditional grape growing for a contemporary range of wine styles.
Wine Varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir
A particularly rare and unique feature of the Geelong wine region is the fact that all wineries are family owned and operated, there are no corporates. Visit any Geelong winery and the chances are the people you meet are the personalities behind the wines. The majority of Geelong wines are estate grown with pride and handcrafted with soul.
Sitting on the opposite side of Port Phillip Bay to the Morning Peninsula, the Geelong wine region shares the cool climate of its neighbour, which inherently provides an extended ripening period.
Wine Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
The history of Heathcote is one similar to so many small towns of its era - once a bustling gold mining and logging town, bringing people of many different cultures and nationalities, with hopes of making a gold fortune. Heathcote wines are defined by their inky depth of colour, and deep, dark, complex fruit. Voluptuous and well balanced, acid and tannin meld together in a way that does not dominate the fruit, but gives the wine great cellaring ability.
The Shiraz grape is the main planting, with the Heathcote Shiraz being renowned for its unique character. The Heathcote Wine & Food Festival held in early October is a fantastic event staged over a long weekend where you taste nearly every wine made in Heathcote.
Wine Varieties: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon
You can find the boutique wines of Perth Hills only 30 minutes from Perth’s CBD, scattered along the hills of the Darling Ranges. Whilst the first vines were planted in the 1880’s, Perth Hills wine region came into its own in 1999 when it was officially declared as a gazetted wine-growing region. By this time the wineries had already gained a reputation for producing fine quality wines, which continues to this day with most of the region’s vineyards and wineries still family-owned and boasting many awards and trophies.
Surrounded by spectacular scenery, the Darling Scarp mountain range plays an essential role in creating diverse microclimates. The warm, dry summers and cool nights allow for wines bursting with flavours as grapes can ripen to perfection. Along with classic varieties, alternative wine styles are also produced here like Chenin Blanc and Tempranillo.
Wine Varieties: Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
The Great Southern District makes up one of the largest wine regions in Australia and is the second-largest producer of grapes in Western Australia. This vast region stretches along the southern ocean and is tucked into the bottom of Western Australia. Made up of the sub regions of Frankland River, Mount Barker, Porongurup, Albany and Denmark, each region produces distinctive wines characterized by their varying geomorphic features.
Due to the size and varied terrain of the Great Southern, there is also no one-star grape variety which means this region has the capacity to produce a range of classic varieties. This has led to an enviable reputation for producing premium cool climate, elegant wines to rival its produce from its famous neighbour, the Margaret River.
Wine Varieties: Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz
One of Australia’s oldest wine regions, dating back to the 1830s, Rutherglen is one of Victoria’s ultimate wine and food destinations, boasting award-winning wineries, chef hatted restaurants, artisan micro breweries, and world-class local produce.
Given its inland location made up of gentle rolling hills, matched with hot summers, cool winters and long dry autumns, Rutherglen enjoys a classic continental climate. Soils here range from red loam over clay, through to sandier soils closer to the Murray River, allowing for rich and complex wines.
Wine Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Durif, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Semillon, Shiraz
Less than two hours from Melbourne, the Pyrenees Wine Region in Western Victoria is the home of award-winning wines and the spectacular untamed ranges that give this region its name. While wine making here dates back to the 1880s, the size of the industry remains relatively small, and made up of mostly independent winemakers.
Similar to its name-sake, the mountainous region of France and Spain, the Victorian version of the Pyrenees has a classic mediterian style climate. This allows for the making of varieties such as Malbec and Sangiovese, which are far less common in Australia.
Wine Varieties: Shiraz, Cabernet, Sangiovese, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay
Wine making in the McLaren Vale dates back to the 1830s, with one of the first vines planted by Thomas Hardy, one of the most famous names in Australian wine. Its proximity to Adelaide, a mere 45 minute drive South of the city centre, makes McLaren Vale extremely popular with tourists, which has led to abundance of restaurants and art installations to accompany the many cellar doors.
With a warm and dry climate consistent with the broader Adelaide region, McLaren Vale also enjoys sea and inland breezes alike, due to its seaside location at the foot of the neighbouring Adelaide Hills. The result is quintessential Australian shiraz and chardonnay, along with other red and white varieties.
Wine Varieties: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Chardonnay
The Riverina region, which incombasses the area along the river basin in New South Wales around towns such as Griffith and Wagga Wagga, accounts for roughly 15% of wine manufactured in Australia, due to its dependable climate and rich water supply.
Another major factor in the growth of the Riverina as a wine making region is the large Italian community, particularly in Griffith, going back to the early 20th century. With its warm summers, the Riverina has an optimal climate for the making of dessert wines, while cooler winters also allow for the production of Australian staples such as shiraz and chardonnay.
Wine Varieties: Semillon, Dessert, Shiraz, Chardonnay
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