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  Australian Grape Varieties

You’ll probably be surprised to hear that there are approximately 90 different grape varieties planted commercially in Australia. 16 of these, eight white and eight red are planted most widely, and these tend to be the more familiar international varieties. More and more winemakers are experimenting with unfamiliar types though, so watch out for more unusual styles, grapes and blends.

Red Grape

Australia’s red grapes are amongst its greatest assets: after all, who could imagine a world without classic Australian Shiraz?

Australia is blessed with abundant sunshine which enables our grapes to ripen to perfection. Whatever the vagaries of a particular red grape variety, there will be a part of Australia that can give it everything it needs. Even toughies like rustic Malbec or black-as-pitch Petit Verdot turn out a treat.

In general, the warmer the wine region, the more likely it will produce rich, full flavoured styles which many people come to associate with Australian red wine. However, Australia also has cool climatic conditions well suited to red varieties which produce lighter and more delicate red wine styles.

The world’s classic premium red grape varieties are all found in abundance in Australia

Whatever you’re looking for in terms of red wine, the chances are Australia will be making that style somewhere. Here’s what to expect from the different varieties that Australia grows:

•Cabernet Franc
•Cabernet Sauvignon (:cab-urn-ay so-vin-yon)
•Grenache (:gren-ash)
•Merlot (:mur-low)
•Pink or Rose Wines (:ros-ay)
•Pinot Noir (:pea-no nwah)
•Shiraz (:she-rars)
  Shiraz Grapes
White Grape

Don’t assume that if you’ve tasted Australian Chardonnay, that you have experienced the extraordinary diversity and quality of all that Australian white wine has to offer.

Australia’s white wines have a story to tell that’s all their own, and it won’t surprise you to learn that the winemakers who create them have a unique approach that sets their wines apart from the rest of the world.

When you look at it in the glass, a white Australian wine can be anything from opulent golden yellow – orange almost – to palest lemon yellow. The colour depends on the region it comes from (how cool or warm it is) and on the grape from which it was made; for example, Rieslings are paler than Chardonnays, and so on.

Colour can be a clue to the taste (the deeper it is, the richer the flavour) but a better indication comes from taking a big sniff. Swirl the glass round and sniff again. One thing you’ll be sure of from Australia is that you will be smelling the product of well grown and fully ripened grapes.

Delicious, concentrated ripe fruit, harvested in perfect conditions is easier to obtain in Australia than almost anywhere else in the world. Beyond this it is difficult to generalise, so different are the aromas, flavours and taste sensations that come from each of the grapes, blends and regions.




•Chardonnay (:shar-don-nay)
•Chenin Blanc
•Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio
•Riesling (:reez-ling)
•Sauvignon Blanc (:so-vin-yon-blahn)
•Semillon (:semi-yon)
•Viognier (:vee-yon-yay)
  Chenin Blanc Grapes
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