A true Australian original

The origin of Semillon can be traced back to the Bordeaux region in France. Semillon also has a long history in Australia but has been overtaken in popularity in recent years by Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris/Grigio.

More than half of Australia’s Semillon comes from the Riverina. It is made as a single varietal wine in Barossa and the Hunter Valley and is commonly blended with Sauvignon Blanc in many regions, especially Margaret River.

Semillon is traditionally used to make a dessert-style wine where it is exposed to the fungus Botrytis cinerea (or ‘noble rot’), which consumes the water content of the fruit, concentrating its sugar.

Semillon Variety Snapshot 2020

Variety snapshots are one-page profiles of individual Australian winegrape varieties and provide at-a-glance summary statistics on: viticulture data, winegrape production, winegrape price, key producing regions and export sales data compared against the same statistics for all wine grape varieties.

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In the vineyard

  • Semillon is a thin-skinned variety
  • Conditions in Australia aren’t conducive for the production of botrytis affected wines
  • Often picked early to preserve natural acidity 
  • Semillon is often harvested early and made into a dry, light-bodied style of wine
Regions

It is a mid-ripening variety and adaptable to various climates and regions

Styles

Light to medium-bodied dry wines. Oak fermented and aged versions tend to be a little richer.

Qualities

Affordable and easy drinking approachable styles through to the classic age-worthy Hunter Valley versions.

4,569ha
Total plantings (2020)
Early 1900s
First plantings

In the winery

Vinification techniques
  • Cool temperature, stainless steel fermented is common for certain styles
  • Barrel fermented approach is also used but rarely in the Hunter Valley
Maturation
  • Some styles, such as those from Barossa Valley and Margaret River, spend time in oak barrels

Major regional expressions

Barossa Valley

  • Two different styles have emerged in the Barossa
  • Richer, ripe, more full-bodied oak aged versions
  • Lighter, crisper unoaked styles
Read more on Barossa Valley

Hunter Valley

  • Harvested early and fermented to dryness in stainless steel – bottled early
  • Light and lemony with high acidity when young
  • Develops complex fig, toast and honey character with 6–8 years of age
  • Can age gracefully for 40 years or more
Read more on Hunter Valley

Margaret River

  • Typical blended with Sauvignon Blanc in Margaret River
  • Can be made in a juicy, fresh unoaked style
  • More age-worthy styles tend to be oak fermented and/or oak matured
Read more on Margaret River

In the glass

Style and character

Light to medium weight wines that can be enjoyed early while crisp and fresh but also have the capacity to age for decades.

Pairs with

Fresh oysters, shellfish, white fish dishes, chicken, salads, goat and sheep’s milk cheeses.

Typical flavours

Toasty
Lemon
Herbal
Waxy
Honey
Fig

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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.