Straddling the Murray River in north-west Victoria and western New South Wales, the Murray Darling is a vast region. Combined with Swan-Hill immediately to the South-East, it is the third-largest winegrowing region in Australia after the Riverland (South Australia) and Riverina (New South Wales).

 

The first grape vines were planted in the region in 1888; the region was a virtual desert before irrigation transformed it in the late 1800s. While being primarily known for the large-scale production of Chardonnay, Shiraz and other major varieties to go into leading well-known brands, the past few years have seen a large number of smaller wineries emerge and the region now has more than 30 boutique wine producers. 

13,490ha
Total Vineyard Area across both VIC and NSW
34° 25'S
Latitude
19-134m
Altitude
162mm
Growing season rainfall

Chardonnay

By far the most important premium product of the region. The wines have a fruity softness and generosity and are represent great value for money. 

Alternative Varieties

Although the Murray areas are a major source of economically priced wines, several wineries are striking success by planting varieties from across the Mediterranean that are perfectly suited to the warm climate of the Murray Darling. 

Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon

The red wine boom saw the plantings of these varieties increase dramatically. They offer excellent quality in the lower to mid-price range. The wines have plenty of soft, sweet fruit, making them ideal for drinking at one to two years of age. 

Top varieties grown in Murray Darling
Climate
  • Although the distance between the eastern and western extremity of the region is in excess of 350 kilometres (217 miles), the climate throughout is virtually identical.  It is hot, with long sunshine hours, low humidity and negligible growing season rainfall, making irrigation essential.  
  • The Continental influence is strong, with high shifts in diurnal temperature ranges, but these shifts are insufficient to make spring frosts a problem.  Disease pressures are also low. 
Soil
  • The soil is unique to the Murray River system and is known technically as calcareous earth, ranging from brown to red-brown loamy sand, sandy loam or loam.  
  • The surface is neutral to moderately alkaline with increasing alkalinity at depth as textures become more clayey and calcareous. 
  • Overall, the soil supports the vigorous growth and high grape yields. 

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.