Situated in the South Pacific Ocean, Australia is its own continent and country approximately ¾ the size of the United States. It has many varying soil types and climate. On average, the country is hot and dry, with cooler coastal climates, which is where the majority of its fine wines are produced.
The wine styles exhibit a tremendous range as well, but the Australians are known for making fruit-forward, consumer-friendly modern wines utilizing the very latest techniques of wine making and viticulture (a field in which they excel).
Australia’s most famed varietal is arguably Shiraz (aka Syrah), which has become internationally synonymous with the Australian’s fruit-forward style of this varietal. It is also well-known for Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Riesling (dry crisp style). However, it is not uncommon to see Australian producers release a wide variety of varietals, including Tempranillo, Moscato, and Grenache, as well as different blends such as Shiraz-Cab and GSM (Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre), and wine types, including sparkling wines and “stickies” (dessert wine).
There are no native “vitus” species in Australia, but Australia has a long history of wine production dating from its first colonization in the late 1700’s. Production exploded between 1997 and 1999, increasing by more than 40%, and the area under vine grew by more than a third. Today, it remains among the top in wine production and export.