Australian Wine Regions

Western Australian Wine Country South Australia Wine Country Tasmanian Wine Country Victorian Wine Country New South Wales Country

The Australian wine industry has been successful to say the least. In fact, in a Financial Times news story on March 2, 2001, it was stated that Australian wines were challenging the French wines in the U.K. In 1990 there were 85,000 litres of Australian wine exported to the U.K. and in 1999, this had increased to 1.2 million litres.

In the United States, Australian wines are gaining in popularity also. In most large cities, you will find wine shops with huge selections of Australian reds and whites from many regions. Many Americans fancy the Australian wines as they are inexpensive, because of the exchange rate, and they are good.

Of course, Australian wines were not always this successful and Australia was always considered a nation of beer drinkers. It has been a long and hard struggle to gain the international recognition and success. In fact, the wine industry in Australia originated in 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip brought vine cuttings into Australia from Europe. They were first planted where the Botanic Gardens are now situated in Sydney but they did not thrive because of the unsuitable soil composition. It wasn't until John MacArthur planted vines in the fertile Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, did they begin to thrive. Today, the Hunter Valley is one of the world's best wine growing regions.

Over the years, much of the European immigration to Australia helped to shape the wine industry. The Barossa Valley in South Australia was largely influenced by the German Lutheran population that settled there as they were fleeing religious persecution. As a result, there are still Rieslings produced in this area today. Similarly, the wine industry in Victoria was influenced by Swiss settlers. Victoria quickly went on to become the premier wine growing region responsible for 75% of Australia's wine production during the 1890's.

In these early years, fortified wines became very popular. In fact, Port is still quite popular in many Australian households. During the 1930's fortified wines were popular as it was the Depression and these wines were the most affordable beverage. The dominance of the fortified wine lasted for 70 to 80 years until the 1970's when table wines began to take over. Much of the popularity of the table wine can be attributed to the European immigrant influence. After World War 2 there was an influx in European immigration and they brought much of their culture with them, one of which was the consumption of table wines.

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