Australia – A rapid rise to the international elite.
Australia, separated from the other continents by oceans for roughly 50 million years, has almost two hundred years of viticulture history. For a long time, Australians pressed their wines for their own use, with simple, undemanding vines. But later the country began to specialize in classic, European varieties. And with great success –Australian wines today enjoy great prestige and are consumed worldwide..
White wines from Australia
Red wines from Australia
In 1788, an English ship with 300 convicts anchored in Sydney Harbor. The captain, Arthur Phillip, noted that winegrowing could be developed almost to perfection in such a favorable climate. Thus they immediately began planting the vines they had brought. Later, South African settlers also brought vines with them, which thrived marvelously.
The Scotsman James Busby (1802-1871) is considered the “father of the Australian wine industry.” Busby acquired a vast knowledge of wine in France, and founded his own winery north of Sydney in the Hunter River Valley. After a visit to Europe in 1833, he brought with him hundreds of seedlings of various vine varieties, including the red Syrah, which later became famous in its new home as Shiraz.
At the time of the Australian gold rush around 1850, wine was a popular elixir for prospectors, but was also enjoyed by the rest of the population. This may explain why, with the exception of the Northern Territory, wine is grown today in every Australian state.
Drought is the biggest problem for Australian winemakers, and in many areas the vineyards depend on artificial irrigation.
For this reason, wine production has moved from the hot north to the cooler south in recent decades. The so-called cool climate areas are located in the west (Margaret River, Frankland, and Mount Barker), south (Adelaide Hills, Eden Valley, Coonawarra, and McLaren Vale), and southeast (Geelong, Yarra Valley, and Alpine Valleys).
The fresh, fruity, and light wines from these areas have significantly contributed to Australian wine’s international status.
Loved across the world
At over 400 million liters per year, Australia exports the fourth-largest amount of wine in the world. Another 400 million liters stay in the country for domestic consumption.
Australia exports to the whole world, but the main buyers, by a wide margin, are the United Kingdom and United States.