It is no secret that Australia is a country of extremes. From humid tropics to arid deserts, this large island country also has abundant hills and a temperate climate. Fortunately for us, and the more than 25 million Australians who call it home, Australia also has the right soil, temperature and altitude to produce some of the best wines in the world.
Today, Australia, with more than 2,500 wineries and 65 defined wine regions, is one of the world’s largest wine exporters and is known for a variety of grape varieties, including Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Riesling.
Australian wine origin
From countries of humble wine beginnings in the Hunter Valley region, north of Sydney (NSW) in the 1820s, all the way to the thriving Australian wine regions of South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia, there are plenty of amazing wine tours and tasting opportunities no matter where you happen to be is in Australia. You can even check out some delicious craft pubs and local food while trying out some of the best wineries with NSW wine regions with Tastes of Hunter wine tours.
Although wine has been produced in many parts of the world for much longer than Australia, the country below still has some data on wine that other countries are ashamed of. From the existence of some of the longest continuous production plants in the world to the only country in the world that allows you to taste wine directly from a barrel that was brewed in the year of your birth, Australian wine has more than most people think.
The best wine regions in Australia
While the opinion that any Australian wine region is better than another is, of course, a matter of opinion, the play of simple numbers often makes certain wine regions more popular than their contemporaries.
With more than 65 wine-growing regions in Australia, finding one to visit is often more a question of “which cities do you visit” than how to find a wine-growing question.
Here we will list some of the most famous, most popular, most unusual and, of course, some of our favorite wine regions in Australia. If we didn’t mention yours, it’s probably just because we haven’t gotten there yet.
Barossa Valley in South Australia
One of Australia’s oldest and most fertile wine regions with over 150 wineries calling this area home is the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Known for its lavish Shiraz production with its rich body and toppings of chocolate and spices, the hot and dry Barossa Valley is located just an hour north of Adelaide and has rolling hills and miles and miles of vineyards and orchards.
In terms of production, the Barossa Valley wine region produces more than half of the country’s wine exports, including some of Australia’s most famous wineries, including Jacob’s Creek, Penfolds Grange, Wolf Blass, Yalumba, Peter Lehmann and Henschke’s Hill of Grace.
It is also the home of celebrities Seppeltsfield vineyard, which is one of the most prominent wineries in the Barossa Valley in South Australia, and also the only winery in the world that produces a hundred-year-old vintage wine every year.
This wine region of South Australia also produces a multitude of Australian mass-produced boxing wines. While some people may scoff at choosing boxed wines in their country, what most people don’t realize is that there are so many options in Australia when it comes to boxed wine because a huge percentage of boxed wine options never leave the country.
On top of the packaging wine varieties in Australia there are many smaller batches of bottles from larger producers with everything from onions and blends to well-aged vintages, and the only way to try them yourself is to be in the country.
Personally, on our first trip to Australia a few years ago, the Barossa Valley was our first experience with Australian vineyards. We ended the days spending trips traveling up and down, tasting and tempting all that the area had to offer. Although we fell in love with more than a few vineyards, a local selection of boxed wines and a small series of port-style wines we couldn’t get out of the country made the Barossa Valley our favorite wine region in Australia.
Hunter Valley Wine Region in NSW
Just hours north of Sydney in New South Wales, the Hunter Valley wine region is the oldest wine region in Australia. While early vines planted around Sydney in early 1788 had problems with humidity and heat, the discovery of the Hunter Valley opened up a new world of possibilities.
The first major planting in the Hunter Valley wine region occurred in 1825 when James Busby, sometimes called the father of Australian wine, bought the land and planted the first commercial vineyard in the region. The area soon became synonymous with wine production, and almost 200 years later it is still a thriving area with over 120 vineyards called home to the Hunter Valley.
While the Hunter Valley wine area is the most famous wine Samillon (first planted more than a century ago), more reds than whites are still harvested in the region, and even then Semillon is in second place Chardonnay is the amount of production. It also exists Verdelho which is another common white color found in the area while Shiraz,, Cabernet Sauvignon i Merlot are the most populous of the reds.
Although Hunter Valley does not have the world-famous names found in the Barossa Valley wine region, it still gives it an edge in tourism and visitors because Hunter Valley is so close to Sydney. Some of the most famous vineyards in the Hunter Valley wine region include Tulloch and Lindemans, as well as the Audrey Wilkinson winery, which was first founded in 1866 with its panoramic views of the Brokenback mountain ranges. There’s also the well-awarded Tyrrell’s Vineyard which has remained in the family since the first batch of wines back in 1862, as well as a host of other amazing vineyards worth visiting.
Margaret River Wine Region in Western Australia
The Margaret River Wine Region, located a few hundred kilometers north of Perth and formed only in the late 1960s, does not yield the tonnage as its siblings from the Australian wine region, but still manages to squeeze out a fifth of the country’s top wines. .
With its Mediterranean rainfall and colder annual temperatures, this western Australian wine region has more boutique vineyards compared to larger operations. With 140 registered vineyards in the Margaret River wine region, you can visit half a dozen a day for almost a month and still walk away happy.
The main wine varieties in the region are divided fairly evenly between the red and whites, with the leading ones being Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Some of the most famous wineries in the Margaret River wine region include Voyager Estate, Leeuwin Estate with a penchant for hosting big events, as well as Vasse Felix, who is a dr. Tom Cullity founded in 1967 as the first commercial viticulture and winery in the region. There’s also Cape Mentelle, one of Margaret River’s “founding five” wineries, as well as Cullen Wines which was Australia’s first winery neutral with organic and biodynamic certification.
Wine region of the Yarra Valley in the state of Victoria, Australia
The Yarra Valley, located less than an hour east of Melbourne, is a thriving Victoria wine region known for its slightly fresh climate and popularity due to its proximity to the state capital.
The Yarra Valley wine region and its 80+ wineries are well known for chardonnay, pinot noir and sparkling wine varieties with the oldest vineyards in the state starting there in the late 1830s.
The region is also a great weekend getaway for many people in the city with tons of accommodations and restaurants flooding the valley.
Some of the most popular vineyards in the Yarra Valley wine region include Oakridge wines, Helen and Joey estates, Pimpernel vineyards, De Bortoli, Innocent Spectators, Many Hands, TarraWarra Estate and Domaine Chandon which is popular for its sparkling wines.
If you really want to experience a bit of regional wine history, be sure to visit Yerring Station. This winery has been operating since 1838, and the doors of its cellar are still without the original building.
The wine region of the Tamar Valley in Tasmania
The wine region of the Tamar Valley has a long and picturesque past. The Tamar Valley is located on the small island of Tasmania, on the north coast near Launceston, the second largest city in Tasmania.
Common wine varieties found in this Tasmanian wine region include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling, as well as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinos Gray that have recently gained popularity.
Located along the Tamar River, the Tamar Valley wine region has colder weather than its large island counterparts, and its premium wines are often said to be better balanced due to colder maritime weather. There are currently 32 vineyards in the region.
The fun fact about the Tamar Valley is that it is said that this area was actually cut for some of the first vines planted in both South Australia and Victoria, so the island region preceded their vineyards starting in the 1830s.
Some of the most popular wineries in this wine region of Tasmania include Goaty Hill, Holm Oak, Pipers Brook, Tamar Ridge, Josef Chromy and Iron Pot Bay. As Tasmania hosts some of the oldest vineyards in all of Oceania, it’s not hard to see why it’s included on this list.
The wine region of Canberra County in the Australian capital
The Canberra County wine region may be smaller than the others on this list, but this wine region of the Australian capital is powerful.
With 140 vineyards and more than 40 wineries within a half hour drive from Canberra, visiting here will give you a lot for your mile. The region is also just hours south of Sydney, so the area attracts visitors from both cities.
With moderate, slightly drier weather and higher elevations, this wine region of the Australian capital sows a diverse range of wine varieties including Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Merlot and a few rarer varieties like Gruner Veltlin and Sangiovese.
With roots in the 1800s, real wine production here only started in the 1970s, when several wineries decided to make the region home, and for a long season because of all the varieties here you can witness harvesting for yourself from February to May most years.
Some of the most popular wineries in the Canberra County wine region currently include Clonakilla, which is killing competition in awards in recent years, Helm Wines, Lerida Estate, Murrumbateman and the new and popular Nick O’Leary who is quickly making a name for himself in the region.
The wine region of the granite belt in Queensland
While Queensland is better known for its heat, humidity and proximity Large coral reef than it is because of the wine, the Granit Belt wine region is trying to change that.
With over 50 wineries rooted here, the Granit Belt Group has been cemented for decades as Queensland’s most popular wine region.
So how does a winery survive in an area known for high temperatures and even higher humidity? They go more where the weather is colder and the air dries out. On some of the highest elevations in the country, the Granit Belt wine region is the perfect place for everything from vineyards to apple orchards, and within a few hours drive south of Brisbane, they will also get their rightful share of wine tours.
Similar to the rest of Australia, the most popular wine varieties include Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, but in recent years there has been an increase in Nebbiol, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot, so it’s exciting.
Although there are no large producers in the Granite Belt wine region compared to those in South Australia or New South Wales, there are tons of popular wineries in Granite Belt, including Barramundi wines, Ballandean Estate, Golden Grove Estate, Boireann Winery, Symphony Hill Wines wines and heritage estate .