Australian wine regions

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As we mentioned in yesterday’s Tip of the Day, inland Australia has very limited water supply, thus most vineyards are planted in regions close to a reliable water source. The majority of Australian wines are produced using grapes grown in the south-eastern Australia, including the states of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, though viniculture also takes place in Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland.

Image: ‘Mountadam Vineyard’, Eden Valley, South Australia by Matt Turner, provided by AWBC

In South Australia, most vineyards are concentrated on the south-east of the state, contributing to almost 43% of the country’s wine production. Here are a few important regions in the state:

The irrigated region along the Murray river — Riverland is known for producing healthy grapes and bulk wines, and its dry weather is ideal for organic wine production. Situated north to the state capital Adelaide, the Barossa Valley produces high quality wines including Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro (or Mourvèdre) and Cabernet Sauvignon. The cooler vineyards in the Eden Valley and Clare Valley produce outstanding Rieslings whereas Adelaide Hills specialises in high-acidity Chardonnays. The McLaren Vale provides soft and juicy reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot. Further south to the Limestone Coast zone laid the vineyards of Coonawarra. The iron-rich soils here create excellent Cabernet Sauvignon.

The state of Victoria used to be the most important wine region in Australia, until Phylloxera ravaged the region at the end of 19th century. Now it’s responsible for a quarter of the country’s wine production.

Key wine producing regions here include Rutherglen, which is famous for its Liqueur Muscats and Tokays. Yarra Valley to the south is especially known for its full bodied Pinot Noirs, as well as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and high-quality sparkling wines. Benefiting from the Oceanic weather, The Mornington Peninsula is known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Hunter Valley is no doubt the best known wine producing region in New South Wales. It can be further divided into Upper Hunter Valley and Lower Hunter Valley. Chardonnay is the dominant variety in the Upper Hunter Valley. For the Lower Hunter Valley, despite of the damp weather throughout the whole year, quality Semillon stands out for high acidity and low alcohol, as well as good aging potential. The soft and earthy-styled Shiraz is also famous in this appellation.

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