We’re all drawn to wine bottles for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s the style and variety that we find alluring and the evocative flavours that each promises. Or it can be the label itself. For some though, one thing above all else proves the major draw-card: the region.
Australians are by and large, obsessed with wine varieties. Names such as Cabernet, Shiraz, Chardonnay and the like dominate labels, while regions dwindle into the background. Highly recognised blends emphasise fruit over producer or region, backed by wine industry regulations which state that a wine can be named as a single varietal on the label even if there is up to 15% of other grapes used. It can be a complicated, albeit very mouth-watering, affair.
So this month we’re giving credit where credit is due and asking wine lovers to turn their attention to Australia’s finest regions state-by-state. It is in these scenic locations that you will find century-old vines, unique terroir and, at certain times of the year, a Tasting Panel member or two!
The wine regions of New South Wales stretch from Hastings River in the north to Tumbarumba in the south. Australia’s first state is also home to its oldest wine region, the Hunter Valley, where grapes were first planted in the mid-1800s. This is where you’ll find some of the country’s most famous winemaking names including Tyrrell’s, McWilliam’s and Drayton’s.
Victoria is home to 22 wine producing regions. At its northern-most point is the warm Murray Darling region that sneaks over into New South Wales and is Victoria’s largest wine region. Down on the coast, pioneering winemakers on the Mornington Peninsula planted the country’s first Pinot Gris/Grigio, while out west, regions such as the Pyrenees excel in cool climate Sparkling styles.
Ask an international wine lover to name Australia’s most famous wine region and they’re likely to say South Australia’s Barossa Valley. With its big, bold Shiraz, some made from the world’s oldest Shiraz vineyards, and names such as Penfolds, Henschke and Jacob’s Creek choosing the Barossa as home, it’s no wonder that it’s held in such high esteem. Of course, don’t forget other highlight SA regions including Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and more.
Vying for the position of Australia’s most beautiful wine region would have to be Western Australia’s Margaret River. Reflecting this diversity in terroir is the variety of styles, from Riesling to Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir to Shiraz. Moving further north past Perth is Western Australia’s oldest region, the Swan District, where the warm, dry climate is perfect for Chenin Blanc and Shiraz.
Queensland also has pockets of wineries in many regions including Toowoomba, the Gold Coast hinterland, Mt Tamborine, the Scenic Rim and the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Our Tasting Panel are currently seeking wines from Queensland to add to the Wine Selectors range, so watch this space!
Tasmanian wines share an elegance with the wines of Europe because the climate is similar (mild summers and long autumn days that ensure grapes ripen slowly). The most famous wine route is the Tamar Valley, located north of Launceston along both sides of the Tamar River and north-east to Pipers River.
Discover wines from any or all of these regions and access exclusive Member Privileges including savings at cellar doors, accommodation and much more today.