The Riverina grows 15% of the total Australian grape production and is the largest wine producing region in New South Wales. It is a flat tract of land on the state's south-west plains and is centred on the city of Griffith.

 

The term Riverina was apparently invented by John Dunmore Lang in the 1850s to describe a type of country (the Riverina Plain). With a strong food and wine culture, largely due to its large Italian population, the Riverina is also popular for its food and wine events during the year. 

34° 00'S
Latitude
140m
Altitude
200mm
Growing season rainfall

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the Riverina's third most important grape variety. Judicious use of oak produces a wine of pleasant varietal flavour, weight and style. 

Semillon

Picked at normal maturity, Semillon provides a pleasant wine (which may be blended with other varieties). These days specially selected blocks of Semillon grapes are left on the vine for up to two months after maturity. As a consequence if the conditions are favourable, Botrytis cinerea attacks the grapes, evaporating the water content of their juice and concentrating both its sugar and acid. The resultant wine is a luscious dessert wine, the regions outstanding speciality. 

Top varieties grown in Riverina
Climate
  • High evaporation, low relative humidity and ample sunshine are features of the summer. 
  • A characteristic of the climate is high growing-season temperatures.  Autumn conditions favour the onset and spread of the fungus Botrytis cinerea. 
  • The higher humidity late in the season allows Botrytis or “Noble Rot” development to occur after the picking of most of the red and white varieties. 
  • With the region having such a low natural rainfall, grapes can only be grown here economically with irrigation. 
Soil
  • The Riverina plains were deposited by the action of ancient streams upon the remnants of the Great Dividing Range and thus consist of highly variable alluvial soils with sands and gravels embedded in clays. 
  • The main soil type of the Riverina is red-brown earth. It has a loamy surface horizon 10-35 centimetres deep and passes abruptly to a reddish-brown clay which contains lime at a depth of about 70 centimetres. 
  • Many of these also contain limestone rubble. It is on these soils that the majority of the vines are planted.