When we think of the southern nation of Australia there are many things that come to mind. We think of Kylie, we think of Sydney, we think of Neighbours, we think of backpacking in our twenties. However, increasingly Australia is moving away from the stereotypes and really coming to be seen as a heavyweight in the world of wine. These days, it’s as common to buy a bottle of Australian wine as it is to buy a bottle of French wine or a bottle of Spanish wine; it’s a concept that has really hit the mainstream.
So, what do we need to know about the Australian wine making culture and, how has a nation that was once more known for its beer become such a powerhouse in the modern wine industry? Australia has in fact grown to become the fourth largest exporter of wine in the world, an impressive feat for a country that doesn’t have a longstanding wine growing tradition. Only consuming 40% of their product domestically, Australia exports 750 million litres of wine a year to the international export market. Indeed, wine has grown to have such significance in the Australian market, that it has become a lynchpin of the economy, fuelling not just business but employment and tourism as well.
The Australian wine growing culture started much later than it did on the continent, when, in the 18th Century the first vine cuttings were brought over from Cape Cod to the then British penal colony of New South Wales. Although the first efforts to make wine failed, by 1820 they were succeeding and the wine was being sold domestically, with the first Australian wine exported in 1822. Wine growing in Australia kept going from strength to strength until phylloxera epidemic, which ravaged the vineyards of the country, meaning that until the late 70’s, mostly sweet and fortified wines dominated the market. However the culture recovered and now a variety of wines are produced in the country.
Australia, as far as wine goes, is one of the most versatile countries in the world, and as such, it has more than 60 designated wine growing regions, and produces such a strong output, that only 16% of wines consumed domestically are imported. There are a strong variety of grapes grown in the vineyards of the island nation including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling (although none of these are native) and this variety stems from the complex geographical and climate makeup of the nation, which means that there is a climate suited to many different grapes.
Ideal Wine Company has the fantastic Penfolds Grange wine to offer you from Australia, and its quality, so typical of wines from down under, make it a must for your collection. The versatility of Australian wines means that they will be featured in collections for years to come, and we look forward to continuing to bring you the best the nation has to offer.