Aussie wines are awesome. I have been to the NAPA and Sonoma
Valleys in California several times and there are a lot
of Australian wines and vineyards that truly rival the U.S.
wines. I have also been to France on 2 occassions. They
make great wine but it is not all that affordable. However,
part of the fun and enjoyment for wine lovers is to travel
and visit the vineyards. Australia has a whole host of wine
tours available and a huge selection of wonderful places
to stay in key wine areas such as the Hunter and Barossa
Over the years, 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. Other
wine journals such as the Wine Spectator are giving
Australian wines their true deserve. Just take a look at
the July 31, 2001 edition. Australia's Chardonnays are stated
as being California's biggest rival and coming on a strong.
Watch out NAPA!
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.
Some of the key wine growing areas in Australia include;
The Barossa Valley is north east of Adelaide, South Australia,
and has a hot climate. Penfolds is one of the more famous
wineries in this region. Barossa is renowned for its Rieslings
which is indicative of the Valley's German heritage, and
for the reds such as Shiraz and Cabernets.
The Hunter Valley is another hot area and is located north
of Sydney, New South Wales. This area is within easy reach
of Sydney for a day trip or you can stay overnight at one
of the many bed and breakfasts. Some of the more notable
vineyards include Rosemount, and Rothbury. A variety of
wines are grown in the Hunter Valley, including Shiraz and
Semillon. As well as visiting the larger vineyards, you
will want to check out some of the smaller boutique wines.
The Clare Valley is a cooler growing area located in South
Australia, north of Adelaide. This is an area of four interconnecting
valleys, the Clare, Polish River, Watervale and Skillogallee.
The main wines from the Clare Valley are the whites such
as Riesling, Chardonnay and Semillon.
Coonawarra lies to the south east of Adelaide and is more
noted for it's reds such as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The area has a cooler climate and is also noted for is reddish
coloured terra rossa soil. Penfolds grows some its grapes
here for some of its Cabernets. One of the more popular
wines from this region includes the Wynns Coonawarra Estate.
The Yarra Valley is located in Victoria, north east of Melbourne.
It has a temperate climate and is noted for making the cooler
climate varietals. The Pinot Noir is popular here and one
of the better wines that we have tried from this area is
This is just a sampling of the wine growing regions in
Australia. Wines are also grown in Western
Australia in the Swan Valley and Margaret River, the
Mornington Peninsula in Victoria,
McLaren Vale and Padthaway in South Australia and also in
Today, Australia produces many of the best traditional
wines such as Cabernets and Chardonnays and they also have
a flair for being experimental. There are varieties such
as the Pinot Chardonnay which are becoming more popular
and an ever increasing number of un-wooded wines that are
fermented in steel vats.
Currently, Australian wines are exported to 77 countries
and sales exceeded $1 billion in 1999 for the first time.
There were 612 million litres produced and 38% was exported
to countries such as the U.K., United States, Germany, New
Zealand and Canada. Exports rose 12% compared with the 1998-99
season. In 1999, there were more red grape varieties planted
than white and record amounts of grapes were crushed. Of
all the grapes grown in Australia, 85% went to wine production.
The total area of vines increased in all states with South
Australia, New South Wales and Victoria leading the way.
The main wines produced are Chardonnays, followed by the
Shiraz. Others include the Pinot Noir, Grenache, Merlot,
Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon, Riesling and the Sauvignon
For more information about where to stay and what to do
in Australia's wine regions, please see our wine pages for
New South Wales, Victoria,
and Western Australia.
Useful Links for Tours, Vineyards and Accommodation:
Australian Wine Tours: If you are interested in wine and
seeing the very best Australia has to offer, why not combine
the two with an Encounter Australia Wine Tour. Encounter Australia
are the destination wine tour specialist in Australia. We
offer the ultimate travel experience to the premium wine regions,
gourmet food with fine wines, luxurious accommodation, and
the magnificent natural scenery of Australia. Choose from
a one day tour to your favourite wine region through to a
12 day Wine Extravagance. We invite you to have a look at
our pages and discover the wonders of Australia and our world
class wine. We are also able to custom design tours to suit
your personal needs.
Daimler Tours: Winners of tourism awards and critical
acclaim, Barossa Daimler Tours have the knowledge to
show you their little piece of paradise and fill it with history,
fine regional food, winemakers, cellars, and golden sunsets.
Experience Tours: Personal escorted wine & heritage tours
of the Barossa Valley for 2-6 guests.
Region: You will find the area is unique in Australia
and this site has been designed to help you discover, experience
and enjoy the best of the Barossa. The combination
of a rich European heritage and the fresh vitality of Australia
is embodied in the lifestyle of the Barossa. Premium wines,
fine restaurants, magnificent old churches, wineries and cottages,
traditional music, butchers and bakers, all in a peaceful
rural setting where each season accentuates the beauty of
the vineyards and the undulating hills. Whether here for business
or pleasure, we invite you to share our Barossa with us.
Vineyard Tours: Leave your driving worries behind. Sit
back and relax in air-conditioned comfort as the coach travels
through the lush rural countryside of the Hunter Valley
vineyards. You will visit a range of wineries, from small
family owned to large, world famous wineries, with generous
tastings of all types of wine. Included is a guided tour of
a selected winery.
River Region: Comprehensive listing of attractions, wineries
and events in the Margaret River Wine Region, Western Australia.
Wine Centre: As an icon for the Australian wine industry,
the National Wine Centre of Australia will provide world class
interpretive, educational and entertainment facilities, representing
every wine region in the country. The Centre will lead visitors
on an exciting and dynamic interactive journey through the
Australian wine industry, making it a must-see attraction
for anyone captivated by the mystique of wine and its production.
Situated adjacent to Adelaideís stunning Botanic Garden,
the $24.7 million National Wine Centre of Australia will offer
the complete wine experience.
Penfolds has been named Red Winemaker of the Year (2000) at
the world's most important wine competition, Britain's International
Wine Challenge, which this year attracted 9300 entries from
35 countries. Penfolds Chief Winemaker, Mr John Duval, who
received the award in London last night (September 6), said
the Challenge was considered the most comprehensive and rigorously
judged international wine competition, with gold medals awarded
to less than two per cent of all entries."
Winery Tours: We have designed a number of special tours
to enable you to experience the best things in life - good
food, fine wine and the Victorian countryside. Whatever your
passion is, combine it with a glass of wine and it makes a
perfect day. All our tours are small group tours, with a minimum
of two passengers and a maximum of eight passengers per vehicle,
with a flexible itinerary. We feel the best way to enjoy the
countryside, food and wine is with a small group and in a
luxury, air-conditioned mini-bus. Of course, if you have a
larger group, please let us give you a quote for a separate