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Australian Wine Regions

Australia has about 60 wine regions located across the country with 103 “defined geographic indications” for wine growing districts covering zones, regions and sub-regions. But there are four major wine regions in Australia as below:

South Australia

South Australia is the wine industry’s powerhouse State, producing most of the nation’s wine and boasting some of the oldest individual vines in the world. The venerable old vines found in South Australia’s Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills, through their isolation, survived the great phylloxera plagues that wiped out the vines of North America and Europe, and somewhat later, devastated Australia’s eastern vineyards.

In addition to being host to some of the world’s oldest vines, the State also has a diversity of regions ranging from the relatively warm temperate climate of the Barossa Valley through to the maritime precincts of the McLaren Vale, Southern Fleurieu, Currency Creek and Langhorne Creek regions on the Fleurieu Peninsula and across the cooler Adelaide Hills region to the hotter Riverland region on the Murray River.

The south-eastern part of the State includes the Limestone Coast zone and the “terra rossa” soils overlying limestone which give rise to distinct elegant reds of the Coonawarra region. The “Limestone Coast” zone – which also includes the Padthaway, Wrattonbully and Mount Benson regions – is building its own reputation for wines that are not only influenced by the region’s eponymous limestone but the tempering breezes of the nearby Southern Ocean.

New South Wales

New South Wales was the first State in Australia to be colonised by Europeans and subsequently was the first to grow the grapevine (there are no native vitis species in Australia). The State, lying on the continent’s east coast, boasts an incredibly diverse range of climates from coastal, such as the Shoalhaven Coast region lying south of Sydney, to Alpine, across the top of the Great Dividing Range, where hardy growers persist at over 500m above sea level. West of the Great Dividing Range and along the inland flowing Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers are the warm-climate regions of Riverina and Perricoota and the northern portion of the Swan Hill and Murray Darling. One of Australia’s best known wine zones – the Hunter Valley – is in New South Wales.


Tucked into the south-eastern corner of the Australian mainland, the warm-climate regions of Murray Darling and Swan Hill are situated along the Murray River in the north west of the State. Further east along the Murray River, the region of Rutherglen has carved a reputation for unique fortified wine styles such as Muscat which boast the sweetest fruit flavours concentrated through long dry autumns.

Victoria’s other wine regions are general cooler than those of the States to the north and west. The Yarra Valley region just half an hour’s drive from Melbourne is producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines of immense elegance and delicacy. In the Alpine Valleys region, autumn comes fast and vignerons and winemakers strive to ripen fruit before the frosts take their toll but their losses are balanced by the rich, complex wines that are produced through cool summers.

Western Australia

Australia’s largest State spans the western third of the continent, although the winemaking regions are almost entirely concentrated in the south-western portion of the State. These regions include the Swan District near the State capital Perth and, further south, the regions of Peel, Geographe, Blackwood Valley, Pemberton, Manjimup, Great Southern and Margaret River.

Two decades ago, Margaret River was better known for the classic surf break lying not far from the junction of river and sea but entrepreneurs have driven the development of vineyards and wineries that have overcome the State’s geographic isolation and carved their mark not just within Australia but around the world. This region has become known for zesty Sauvignon Blancs, superlative Cabernet Sauvignons and bold Zinfandel.

© 2009 Raysun International Group Pty. Ltd.