Take a tour through Australia’s wine regions
The Barossa Valley wine region is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions. Located in South Australia, the Barossa Valley is about 56 km (35 miles) northeast of the city of Adelaide. Unlike most of Australia whose wine industry was heavily influenced by the British, the wine industry of the Barossa Valley was founded by German settlers fleeing persecution from the Prussian province of Silesia (in what is now Poland). The hot continental climateof the region promoted the production of very ripe grapes that was the linchpin of the early Australian fortified wine industry.
The Clare Valley wine region is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, best known for Riesling wines. It lies in the Mid North of South Australia, approximately 120 km north of Adelaide. The valley runs north-south, with Horrocks Highway as the main thoroughfare.
The wines are planted from 400 to 500 metres (1,300 to 1,600 ft). The climate is moderately continental, with cool to cold nights and warm to hot summer days. The higher altitude, compared to other wine regions in South Australia, ensures cool nights even during the heat of summer allowing the fruit to ripen more evenly and slowly.
The most important white variety is Riesling, with the Clare Valley regarded as its Australian home. Principal red varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. They make a range of styles of varietal wines, reflecting different approaches to winemaking as well as the influences of the various sub-regions and micro-climates in the valleys. Many other lesser varieties are also grown, including Chardonnay, Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo and Grenache. The Clare Valley Region contributes around 2% of the Australian national grape crush, but wins over 7% of all medals awarded for Australian wine.
The Coonawarra wine region is a wine region centred on the town of Coonawarra in the Limestone Coast zone of South Australia. It is known for the Cabernet Sauvignon wines produced on its “terra rossa” soil. Coonawarra is an Aboriginal word meaning “Honeysuckle”. It is about 380 km southeast of Adelaide, close to the border with Victoria.
Coonawarra is synonymous with Cabernet Sauvignon, full of plum and blackcurrant fruit, so much so that successes with other grape varieties is overlooked. In the early days Shiraz was the most widely planted grape, and it produces some star wines such as Wynns Coonawarra Estate Michael Shiraz (formerly Michael Hermitage). The limestone geology also suits Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon blanc.
Pokolbin is the centre of the Hunter Valley wine country, which claims to be Australia’s oldest wine region. It is located between the towns of Cessnock and Branxton, about 50 km (31 mi) west of Newcastle. The wine country is primarily located within the Cessnock and Singleton [LGAs. Its proximity to Sydney has been an influence on the area’s investments in wine production and its emergence as a tourist destination. Much of the rolling countryside around Pokolbin is under vine with the traditional varieties Shiraz and Semillon as well as extensive plantings of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and small quantities of Pinot noir. The Pokolbin area has a large number of vineyards, restaurants, shops, golf courses and country guesthouses. Other parts of the valley including the Wollombi Valley and Broke Fordwich subregion are also well known for wine, along with the Upper Hunter Valley.
McLaren Vale is a wine region approximately 35 km south of Adelaide in South Australia. It is internationally renowned for the wines it produces.
The region was named after either David McLaren, the Colonial Manager of the South Australia Company or John McLaren (unrelated) who surveyed the area in 1839.
Among the first settlers to the region in late 1839, were two English farmers from Devon, William Colton and Charles Thomas Hewett. William Colton established the Daringa Farm and Charles Thomas Hewett established Oxenberry Farm.