Australia is the leading country in wine innovation, technology and advancement. Producing superb quality wines from either end of the spectrum- inexpensive, everyday wines to single vineyard age worthy and expensive bottles!
Nearly 100 different types of grapes are grown in Australia but the main International varieties of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Semillon prevail.
The less restrictive nature of its wine laws, allow many advantages-irrigation of its vines, oak flavours to be added using oak chips (which is cheaper and quicker than barrel ageing) and refrigerated fermentation to retain the grapes’ perfect ripeness and freshness.
These practices are in complete contrast to Europe.But I believe you cannot compare Old and New World wines because they are completely different, made differently and should be judged on their own merit.
Alongside this modern and exciting industry, the Australians have revolutionised marketing, exports and labelling. They bring wine home to the people and are much more user friendly in their approach with eye catching brands and informative labels.
Australia is divided into States, then Zones, then Regions (decreasing size order).
Wines can be from a single region e.g. Barossa Valley, or be blended with other Regions from the same Zone to be from, for example, South Australia Zone.
Or, they can be blended on a larger scale from different States in a particular area to be classified as South Eastern Australia, for example.
South Eastern Australia is a massive super zone producing lower priced wines, blended from grapes produced within a huge area.
Remember that the more specific a region or vineyard is on the label (rather than the mass blending across Regions and Zones),then usually the quality and cost of the wine is higher.
South-Eastern Australian Wines
This is the super zone of wine production in Australia. It is made up of the States of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria (see below). 95% of the total production of Australian wine comes from here!
If you see South-Eastern Australia on your wine label, this means that the grapes from anywhere in this vast area have been blended together. These are often inexpensive, easy drinking multi-varietal wines, yet are a good example of what Australia can produce.
But if you want to delve more into the expertise of Australian wine making and sample some of their fantastic quality wines,(and not necessarily at high prices), then explore the States one by one and their Regional and vineyard specific wines.
Australia is made up of the following wine States: