Australian wines

Australia is the fourth largest exporter of wine in the world, and the seventh largest overall wine producer (after Italy, France, Spain, the United States, China, and Argentina). Every state produces at least some Australian wines, and there are more than 60 regions that have been designated as official wine-producing regions. Most of these regions are in the south, where the climate is cooler.

The vineyards in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia all produce different varieties and styles of grapes for Australia wines that take are optimized for the difference in climate, soil, and topography – what the French refer to as Terroir, or the characteristics of the land that are expressed in the grapes grown there. Unlike many wine-producing cultures who are obsessed with Terroir, Australian wines are often made with grapes sourced from many different areas.

Regions that grow Australian wines

how to gro wine in Australian country side

The first vineyards were established in Australia in the late 1700s, with the first Australian wines available for consumption in the early 1800s. The quality of Australia wines continued to improve as wine growers and wine makers from Europe immigrated to Australia throughout the 1800s, culminating in a number of prestigious awards for Australian wines at international wine competitions in the late 1800s. Then a devastating epidemic destroyed most of Australia's vineyards, a setback from which they did not recover for almost 100 years.

Australia now leads the world in biodynamic and organic wine growing. The first International Biodynamic Wine Forum was held in Australia in 2004. Biodynamic and organic vineyards have continued to see growth, despite the overall cyclical trends in price and supply of Australian wines, because their products can be used by European biodynamic and organic wineries.

The major grape varietals used in the making of Australian wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Shiraz (called Syrah elsewhere in the world). Although there were no native grapes in Australia, they have created the new varietals Cienna and Tarrango through crossbreeding European varietals. Some of the other 120 varietals grown in Australia include Viognier, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, and Petit Verdot. If the labels of Australian wines specifically name one of the varietals, that grape is legally required to compose at least 85% of the finished wine.

Australian wines have strict laws governing what geographic information must appear on their labels. Geographic information may be the name of the country, broad geographic area (such as South Eastern Australia), state, zone, region, or sub-region, but it must apply to where the grapes were grown, not where the wine itself was produced.

The state of New South Wales has seven zones that produce Australian wines: Big Rivers (containing the Swan Hill, Riverina, Perricoota, and Murray Darling regions), Central Ranges (containing the Orange, Mudgee, and Cowra regions), Hunter Valley (containing only the Hunter wine region, although that contains the sub-region of Broke Fordwich), Northern Rivers (containing only the Hastings River region), Northern Slopes, South Coast (containing the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven Coast regions), Southern New South Wales (containing the regions of Tumbarumba, Hilltops, Gundagai, and the Canberra District, which includes the northern part of the Australian Capital Territory).

Queensland has no defined wine-producing zones for Australian wines, but has the two regions of Granite Belt and South Burnett.

The state of South Australia produces Australian wines in these seven zones: Barossa (part of Adelaide Super Zone, it contains the Barossa Valley and Eden Valley regions, with Eden Valley also containing the High Eden sub-region), Far North (containing the Southern Flinders Ranges region), Fleurieu (part of the Adelaide Super Zone, it contains the Southern Fleurieu, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Kangaroo Island, and Currency Creek regions), Limestone Coast (containing the Robe, Wrattonbully, Padthaway, Mount Benson, Coonawarra, and Bordertown regions), Lower Murray (containing only the Riverland region), Mount Lofty Ranges (part of the Adelaide Super Zone, it contains the Adelaide Hills – which itself contains the Lenswood and Piccadilly Valley sub-regions, Adelaide Plains, and Clare Valley regions), and The Peninsulas.

Tasmania also has no defined wine-producing zones for Australian wines, but has the seven regions of Coal River, Derwent Valley, East Coast, North West, Pipers River, Tamar Valley, and Southern.

The state of Victoria produces Australian wines in seven zones: Central Victoria (containing the regions of Upper Goulburn, Strathbogie Ranges, Heathcote, Bendigo, and Goulburn Valley which itself contains the Nagambie Lakes sub-region), Gippsland, North East Victoria (containing the regions of Rutherglen, Glenrowan, Beechworth, and Alpine Valleys), North West Victoria (containing the Swan Hill and Murray Darling regions), Port Phillip (containing the regions of Yarra Valley, Sunbury, Mornington Peninsula, Macedon Ranges, and Geelong), and Western Victoria (containing the Pyrenees, Henty, and Grampians regions).

Australian wines are grown in two zones of Western Australia: Greater Perth (containing the regions of Swan Valley, Perth Hills, and Peel) and South Western Australia (containing the regions of Pemberton, Margaret River, Manjimup, Geographe, Blackwood Valley, and Great Southern – itself containing the Porongurup, Mount Barker, Frankland River, Denmark, and Albany sub-regions).

Choosing Australian wines

learn to chose good Australian Merlot Wine

The most well-known of Australian wines is its award-winning Shiraz, which also comprises white Merlot wine. These Australia wines have won so many awards and become so popular that many other wine-producing countries around the world have started calling their Syrah wines Shiraz as the Australian wines do, hoping to capture a piece of that market. There are also Shiraz-Cabernet or Shiraz Merlot wine. Other Australian wines of note are the Chardonnays, Rieslings, and Cabernets. However, when you shop for wine from Australia don't limit your purchase to white Merlot. Australian wines are often blended from many different grapes, from all over the country, creating a richness and complexity of taste that single varietals or even blends from vineyards with the same terroir cannot hope to match.

Australian wines are often surprisingly inexpensive compared to other wines of similar caliber, Merlot produced in other countries for instance, which is one of the reasons they have been rising through the ranks of wine producers so quickly. However, if you're willing to spend more money on white Merlot – sometimes a sizeable bit more money – you can shop for white Merlot wine from one of the boutique Australian wines.

These boutique Australian wines are what in other places in the world are called Artisan wines. Each of these boutique Australian wines is a work of art. They do not rely on any industrial processes, or chemical or mechanical aids. Instead, these wines such as Merlot are produced and bottled "by hand" in small volumes by small wineries, where they express both the passion of the vintner and the terroir of the land where the Merlot grapes were grown.

To choose from among the boutique Australian wines, select a style of wine that you would like to purchase, for example white Merlot wine, and narrow down the selection of boutiques to those that make that style. Identify the wines - white Merlot for instance, that fall within your price range. Then, either ask your local wine shop for a recommendation, or, if you want to buy white Merlot wine from our online wine store, read the notes about each wine, including white Merlot wine to determine which you would prefer.

Serving Australian wines

how to serve australian white Merlot wine with food

The red Australian wines such as the Shiraz (Merlot) wine should be served slightly cooler than room temperature, or about 59 – 64 degrees Fahrenheit. A general guideline is to place the bottles of red Australian wines in the refrigerator about half an hour before you plan to serve them. The white Australian wines such as white Merlot wine should be chilled in an ice bucket containing a mix of half water and half ice for 20 – 30 minutes. Beware of leaving white Merlot in the refrigerator for longer than a few hours, as this deadens the flavor of Merlot wine. If your white Merlot wine don't seem to have their promised flavor, allow them to warm up a bit, and the full white Merlot flavor will come forth. You may also want to consider decanting your white Merlot wine, to separate the sediment out of the wine and, particularly for red wines, exposing more of the wine to the air to let it breathe. The recommended method of decanting a white Merlot wine is to double decant it. This allows twice as much exposure to air, and does not require the purchase of a special-purpose Merlot wine decanter. To double decant your white Merlot wine, you should let your white Merlot wine bottle stand quietly for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. If the Merlot wine was stored in a wine cellar, carry it carefully to the location where it will be opened, disturbing the sediment as little as possible. Once the bottle of white Merlot wine has been opened, pour the wine into a clean container using a smooth, continuous stream with air entering the bottle at the top of the opening as wine flows out the bottom of the opening. Do not upend the white Merlot wine bottle so that the flow alternates between outgoing Merlot wine and ingoing air. (Your pour should be quiet, not noisy.) When the wine reaches the 720ml mark, stop pouring, and discard the remaining 30ml of wine and sediment. Rinse out the Merlot wine bottle with warm water (do not use detergent!) and pour the decanted white Merlot wine back into the bottle.