Wine tourism is thriving in Australia, and it’s not hard to see why, with amazing wine being produced all across the country. Australia has a rich history of wine production, which varies from region to region. We’ve rounded up some of the best wine regions to explore this thriving culture of cultivation, so read on for a quick guide to the best regions to sample Australia’s delicious wines.
New South Wales
New South Wales has the longest history of cultivating wine in Australia. In 1788, vines were planted at Sydney Cove, followed by vineyards around the Parramatta River in the early 1800s. Cuttings from James Busby’s collection made their way to other parts of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, sparking the thriving wine culture that exists today.
Hunter Valley is one of the most exciting wine-producing areas to visit in New South Wales. Sandra Chipchase, CEO of Destination NSW, says of the area: “The Hunter Valley is responsible for some of Australia’s most distinctive and outstanding wines.” Visit the Audrey Wilkinson winery, which dates back to 1866, and offers a stunning range of Semillons. The picturesque tasting room is the perfect place to sample the stunning produce of this region, whilst basking in the majestic scenery and rolling green rows of the vineyard.
Queensland was once considered too hot to produce quality wine, but in more recent times grape growers and winemakers have planted some amazing vines in the cooler, rich volcanic soil of the higher altitudes inland. Now, beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Viognier wines can be found in the region, which features some wonderful boutique wineries.
The Gold Coast Hinterland Wine Country is a spectacular example of what has been achieved in Queensland, a beautiful wine region that produces award-winning boutique wines. Well worth a visit is the Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery, which is a well-established icon in the Tambourine Mountain area. The estate produces Sauvignon Blanc, Verdelho, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Chambourcin and Muscat, but there are an even wider variety of Queensland wines available to sample at the Queensland Wine Centre, which is also on the estate.
Responsible for almost half of the entire annual wine production of Australia, the southern region is the most important when it comes to wine. It is home to some of the most famous names in Australian wine, as well as historic estates and some of the oldest vines. It is the driest state in Australia, with moisture supplied by the Murray river, and has a multitude of different soils that allow for a range of wine styles.
The Barossa Valley, as one of the finest and oldest wine-producing regions in Australia, is definitely a must-visit in South Australia. First settled in 1842, the region retains an old-world charm that makes it a wonderful destination for tasting wines. There are around 150 wineries and Cellar Doors in the Barossa Valley, along with a wealth of tours and tastings. Jacob’s Creek was the first commercial vineyard in the area, and is well worth a visit to sample its famous wines. It also offers cooking classes, wine pairings, amazing food and the chance to explore the stunning countryside of this wine-producing area by bicycle.
Tasmania is situated just off the southern coast of Australia, and the cool climate makes it perfect for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Many of Australia’s best sparkling wines have been made in Tasmania, or are made largely from products sourced on the island. Tasmania enjoys a global reputation as a leading producer of cool climate wines, which have won a variety of awards for their quality.
The Tamar valley, which is responsible for 40% of the wine grown in the region, is a great place to visit for a sample of what Tasmania has to offer. Travel along the Tamar Valley Wine Route to experience the amazing scenery and range of wines on offer in this stunning region. There are over 32 wineries within driving distance of one another, making it the perfect place to taste all the exquisite, boutique wines produced in Tasmania.
Once Australia’s biggest wine-producing state, Victoria is still home to more individual wineries than any other wine-producing region. The diversity of climate across the region means that Victoria produces a huge range of wine styles, including sparkling, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, and its famous Rutherglen fortified wines.
There are over 800 wineries and 600 cellar doors across the state, with a huge variety of wines to suit every palate. Visit Victoria suggest that you base your wine-tasting destination on the type of wine you enjoy, with the High Country offering stunning full-bodied reds and the Mornington Peninsula producing a variety of mouth-watering whites. Yarra Valley is perfect for those seeking “a taste of the estate wines that kick-started Victoria’s internationally-renowned wine industry”.
Western Australia may be the country’s largest state, but wine production is mainly concentrated in the south-west and great southern areas of the state. It produces just 5% of the country’s total wine output, but the wine that is produced in Western Australia is some of the finest in quality. Casey Ewers, of Travelling Corkscrew, recommends the area, saying “The state produces a wide variety of wine styles and grows a number of different grape varieties to satisfy and intrigue all palates. Alongside the numerous vineyard and wineries, the inner-city Perth wine scene is absolutely bustling with wine events throughout the year from festivals to masterclasses and more. WA should be on everyone’s wine travel bucket list!”
The Swan Valley is Western Australia’s oldest wine region, and well worth a visit for their state-of-the-art boutique wineries. Follow the Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail for an outstanding sample of all that the area has to offer. Many of the wineries are family owned, so as well as tasting beautiful Verdelho, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet wines, you can also meet the grandchildren of the Croatian and Italian immigrants who founded the region.
If we’ve whetted your appetite for a taste of Australia’s wine regions, why not browse our range of Australian Cruises that will take you to some of the world’s very best wine regions – or call our friendly experts on 1300 857 345 for more information.