Description 1 of 4
The history of wine-making in Australia dates back to the late 1700s when the first European settlers arrived, bringing vines to plant around the coast near Sydney. As settlement spread throughout the country, so did wine-making, and exports of mostly dry red wine became popular in the UK by the late 1800s. World War II brought an even larger influx of European immigrants who began to focus on more quality wine-making practices. By the mid 1990s, the international market was taken by storm and Australian wine became a globalized industry, with many labels recognized throughout the world.
Though a small continent, Australia has an astonishing range in climates, with distinct growing regions that adapt to these conditions and many different styles of wine produced from sparkling to dry to off dry, dessert, and even ice wine. Shiraz (Syrah) has become the signature grape of Australia, huge on the international market, with great ranges in style and quality. Most growing regions in the country were spared from Phylloxera, so many descendants of original vinifera vines still exist without the need for hybrid grafting.
The wine states of Australia are:
* New South Wales, which includes Hunter Valley and its famous Semillon and Chardonnay.
* Northen Territory, where Alice Springs is located.
* Queensland, known for the cool climate Granite Belt.
* South Australia, known for its prized Shiraz and Rhone style blends from McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Coonawarra, Padthaway and Barossa, plus the Riesling-driven regions of Eden Valley and Clare.
* Victoria with its huge territory and vast range of styles from the Yarra Valley to Gippsland.
* Western Australia, home of the Bordeaux-like Margaret River and Burgundy-like Pemberton subregions
* Tasmania, an up and coming state with increased focus on quality wine
*The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has an amazing array of leading vineyards and winemakers
Description 2 of 4
Australia has a winemaking history dating back to 1788 – when Captain Arthur Phillip, along with the First Fleet, brought Australia’s first vines from Brazil and Cape of Good Hope. It wasn’t until the early 1800s that Australia’s first commercial vineyard and winery was established. Over the course of approx. 200 years of winemaking excellence, Australia has become the fourth largest exporter of wine in the world. Heritage is an important aspect of Australian history, with vineyards and wineries passed down through generations of families. In 2010, Australia’s First Families of Wine was launched, which is an exciting initiative created by 12 family owned Australian wineries. Between these 12 wineries they represent 16 Australian regions across four states and have more than 1200 years of winemaking experience. Australia is home to some 64 wine regions across six states, encompassing about 2500 wineries. As of 2009 data, Australia has 162,550 hectares of area under vine of which South Australia accounts for 43.9% of production, much of which is from a handful of large scale wine producers. The second largest wine producing state is New South Wales, with 37.2% of wine production. Proportionally Victoria accounts for 15.7%, Western Australia 2.9% and Tasmania 0.2%. All Australian states consist of smaller subregions (Geographical Indicators equivalent to AC in France) which house some of Australia’s finest small to medium size wineries producing iconic hand crafted, premium wines depicting regionality and a true sense of place. Australia’s diverse climate is well suited to the production of various wine styles – the cool marginal climate of Tasmania favours Sparkling wine production with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay; the cool maritime climate of Margaret River is similar to that of Pomerol and St. Emilion favouring Bordeaux red varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and white Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. In Victoria, the cooler inland subregions produce interesting Shiraz’ styles with nuances of pepper and elegant red fruits, while those stretching along the coast produce remarkable Pinot Noir, comparative to some fine Burgundys. As a New World wine producing country Australia is able to experiment with various winemaking styles and techniques including the production of Sparkling Shiraz as well as bottling wine under consumer-friendly screw caps. More and more organic and biodynamic producers are cropping up around Australia with greater demand for environmentally sustainable agriculture while keeping up the fashionable trends in viticulture and vinification. In May 2010, Wine Australia launched a new fine wine campaign - A+ Australian Wine which works in several ways. First, there is a clear connection with excellence and high-achievement, while at the same time it also represents that there is always more to discover about Australian wine. The tag line, ‘Every one has a story’, is both a statement of intent and a call to action. It encourages people to seek out our stories, to embrace them and to want to share them. This new brand will become the consumer interface for Australian wine globally. – Description from Wine Australia
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