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A Quick Guide To Australia’s Wine Country

embraceaustraliaadmin | Saturday, March 12th, 2011 at 5:38 pm

1337577_wine_swirlIf you pop down to your local supermarket the chances are you’ll be able to lay your hands on a bottle of Australian wine, this is because Australia is the world fourth largest wine exporter. Australia produces around 500 million litres of wine a year with over 60 wine producing regions throughout the country covering over 160,000 hectares of land however most of Australia’s wine is produced in the south where it is cooler.

Now, when discussing wine a word you will read and hear is terroir, this is a french word that has no direct english translation. Loosely translated however it means the variables associated with producing wine such as the lay of the land, humidity, soil type, average rain fall and so on. All of these factors have an impact on the taste of a wine, with certain varieties being suited to certain terroir.

Now, if you’re a wine buff planning a trip down under you’ll know all this already so i’ll get straight on with the four best wine regions in the country.

Hunter Valley

We begin our tour of Australia’s expansive wine country with Hunter Valley Wine Country just two hours from Sydney. It is one of Australia’s oldest and most famous wine producing regions. There you will find vineyards and grape varieties that have a heritage stretching back generations. The most prominent wine producing families are Drayton, Tulloch and Tyrrell.  

Pokolbin/Rothbury is one of the key wine producing areas in the region and is home to some of the oldest vineyards as well as restaurants and accommodation. Lovedale/North Rothbury is home to a number of newer and boutique wineries and art galleries. Broke Fordwich is also home to boutique wineries, fine restaurants and gourmet local produce. Dalwood is home to the oldest grapevines in the Hunter Valley region and Singleton has a number of boutique wineries.

Many of the wineries in the region offer private tastings, tutorials and educational courses.

Among its wide variety of wines The Hunter Valley region produces a nationally and internationally awarded Semillon, Verdelho which is a fruity medium bodied wine unique to Hunter Valley, a Shiraz distinctive to the region and a number of speciality wines including dessert and organic wines.

As well as a great place to enjoy some of the finest wines the country can muster, Hunter Valley is also a destination for food lovers. You can indulge your gastronomic senses in grand manors and boutique eateries.

There are events in the region from February through to November including Hunter Valley Wine and Food Month in June, a flower festival, a music festival and a chocolate festival.

Yarra Valley

the stunning Yarra Valley

the stunning Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley in Victoria is also one of the best known wine producing regions in Australia with a history stretching back 160 years. Among its 146 wineries are Chateau Yering, Domain Chandon and numerous restaurants all set in some of the most picturesque countryside in the world. All this can be found just 45 kilometres from Melbourne CBD.

Yarra Valley boasts an almost unbeaten range of topography, a variety of soil types and elevations above sea level meaning that producers there can grow a range of world class wine varieties. The award winning Yarra Valley Shiraz, an exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and Moet Chandon are just a few of the wide variety that Yarra Valley has to offer.

Yarra Valley also has a number of annual events, one of which is Shortest Lunch, a chance to tour a number of the smaller and boutique wineries, enjoying good food and great wine in a relaxed atmosphere. The event is a celebration of the winter solstice and this year takes place on the 18th and 19th of June.

Shedfest Wine Festival on the 8th and 9th of October sees the wineries of the Warburton Highway open their sheds and celebrate all that is great about Yarra Valley with excellent food, great wines, a wealth of local produce and live music. Participating wineries include Brumfield Winery, Five Oaks Wines, Shelmerdine Vineyards, Seville Estate and more.

The Barossa

The Barossa in Southern Australia is yet another of Australia’s famous wine producing regions with a history spanning six generations and 150 years. There are over 70 tasting rooms, 150 wineries and 755 grape growers. As well as the wine there are historic towns with farmers markets where you can sample some of the local produce.

The Barossa is made up of two regions; Barossa Valley and Eden Valley and the area is dominated by two main soil types which help to create distinctive and often exceptional wines just an hour from Adelaide.

The main varieties produced are Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Semillon and Chardonnay and among them the Barossa Shiraz and Eden Valley Riesling are considered two of the very best while Jacobs Creek is the local celebrity wine. Alongside these tried and tested varieties are a few new additions such as Tempranillo, Marsanne and Zinfandel which are gaining a strong following.

There are a number of events throughout the year, the largest being the Barossa Vintage Festival, a nine day celebration running from the 23rd of April to the 1st of May which features over 100 different events including live music, comedy, the Grand Vintage Festival Ball, auctions, tours and of course plenty of tastings. 

Swan Valley

1180379_wineSwan Valley in Western Australia is found just 25 minutes from Perth and is the state’s oldest wine producing region. Swan Valley is known for its boutique wineries and micro breweries and is home to more than 40 small family owned vineyards which produce excellent whites, reds and some of the world’s best fortifieds, many of which cannot be bought anywhere other than at the wineries that make them.

Wineries in Swan Valley include Ambrook Wines, Baxter-Stokes Wines, Henley Park Wines, Lilac Hill Estate, Waters Edge Winery and many more for you to discover and enjoy.

Perhaps the best way to see Swan Valley is the Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail, a 32 kilometre loop which takes in everything the region has to offer. On the trail you will visit a wide range of restaurants and cafes, wineries, breweries, distilleries.

 Along the way stop off at the Great Northern Distillery and try its award winning Canefire Rum and make sure you try the Feral White and Rust beers at Feral Brewery, both of which won best in their respective class at the Australian International Beer Festival.

In Swan Valley you can get a taste for the good life with fresh local produce, much of it organic and just about the freshest grapefruit juices on earth.   


All of the featured regions cater for weddings so why not combine the two greatest loves in your life in one special event beneath a spectacularly blue sky. As well as doing tasting, many breweries and wineries offer the opportunity to make and label your very own bottle, a perfect way to remember the experience.

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