Needless to say, Australia has a rich culture, and while you can learn a lot about it from books and documentaries, you can also learn a lot about its history and development just by studying its amazing wine scene. And it’s not all about Shiraz ‒ as fantastic as it is, there’s much more to Australia than that. Australia’s wines are as diverse as the continent itself, so if you are interested in learning a bit more about it, here are some of the basics you should know.
- Australia’s first grape wines were brought to the continent from South Africa near the end of the 18th century. The first governor of New South Wales, Captain Arthur Phillip, is one of the people who contributed the most to the development of first vineyards in Australia.
- By the end of 19th century, thanks to the success of blind tasting competitions in Europe, Australia started exporting larger amounts of wine to England. The first export was in 1854, and the popularity of Aussie wine has only grown since.
- Australia produces only around 4% of the world’s wine, but it is among the top five wine exporting countries in the world, which is quite impressive considering its size and population.
- There are more than 2500 wineries across 65 wine regions in Australia. The continent’s climate is rather diverse, from snowy mountains to hot beaches. This diversity can best be seen by tasting and comparing wines from two completely different regions.
- Shiraz is the most famous variety in Australia, and it is famous all around the world, especially in Canada. However, Australia doesn’t make just Shiraz – there are 155 grape varieties. Some of them are well known, like Shiraz, Chardonnay, and Cabernet, and some of them are just starting to be popular, like Montepulciano, Moscato, and Vermentino.
- Thanks to the altitude of the continent and the influence of the waters on the Australian coastline, there are many cool-climate regions in Australia, which are very important for making delicious wines. Australia’s cool regions, which are famous for producing subtle and elegant wines, are Tasmania, Yarra Valley, and Margaret River.
- More than 30 million glasses of Aussie wine are consumed around the world daily!
There is a wide range of Australian red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Merlot, and of course, Shiraz. They are mostly dark purple or deep red in color and high in alcohol (around 14-15%). Most of them are rather fruity ‒ some of them are famous for their cherry, blackberry, and plum flavors (like the Shirazes and Grenaches) and some, like Cabernets, are more focused on the flavor of red currant. Shiraz is also known to contain the flavors of toffee and chocolate.
The most famous Aussie white wine, Chardonnay, is usually spiced up with butterscotch and vanilla flavors, which makes it even more popular. The alcohol levels often go even up to 14%, and it’s not always easy to pair it with food, as this style of wine tends to overpower almost anything. Seafood and grilled meat, however, are always good choices if you crave such white wine. If you love this style, other white wines you should definitely try are Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Verdelho. Unlike Chardonnay, Verdelho has a more fruity and subtle palette, which makes it go well with many dishes ‒ even spicier cuisines, like the Spanish and Asian ones.
Whether you’re into white wine or red white, Australia has something for everybody. Learn about its culture through its rich collection of amazing wines, enjoy those wines with your meals, use them as perfect gifts for your loved ones, and you might even gain a new level of appreciation for such amazing culture. For every true wine lover, Australian wines hold a special place in their heart, so have no doubt that the time spent learning about Aussie wines ‒ and tasting them ‒ is time well spent.
About the Author
Peter Minkoff is a beauty & fashion editor for Shlur magazine from the UK living in London and occasionally in Brisbane, Australia. After graduating from Australian Institute of Creative Design, he worked as a stylist for few fashion events around the UK. Besides beauty and fashion, he loves reading, making DIY cosmetics and traveling to tropical destinations. He plans to create a business for beauty & style advising.
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