Australian wine and vines: diverse and authentic
Australia is the fifth largest wine producer in the world, and the largest in the Southern hemisphere (although it vies with Argentina for both positions from year to year). The total vineyard area is around 135,000 hectares. While the top five varieties make up three quarters of all plantings, there are over 100 different varieties planted, with a recent surge in popularity of “alternative” varieties that are well suited to Australia’s climate, originating mainly from the warmer regions around the Mediterranean.
Australia was one of only two countries in the world whose vines were not destroyed by phylloxera in the nineteenth century, which means it has some of the oldest grapevines in the world, dating back to the 1840s. It also has some of the oldest and most varied soil profiles on Earth, creating distinctive terroirs that allow for the production of unique wine styles.
There are 65 separate recognised Australian Geographical Indication vineyard regions spread across Australia from Southern Queensland to Tasmania, and from Margaret River to the Hunter Valley.
Wine production is around 1.2 billion litres per year, with 52 per cent being red wine. Total production, and the proportion of red wines, have both been increasing in recent years, driven by strong sales demand for Australian premium red wines, particularly from China.
Total sales of Australian wine are around 1.3 billion litres.
Photo: Randy Larcombe / Wine Australia
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