Australia has five major wine-growing states: Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. South Australia commands the most attention, and includes some of Australia’s most notable wine zones and regions. New South Wales, the #2 producer, is also an important territory. While not huge in volume, Western Australia is known for ultra-premium wines and a distinctive style.
New South Wales
Exhibiting a warm climate with varying humidity, New South Wales’ fame currently resides in its whites. Hunter Valley, the most reputed district in this state, is known for Sémillon and Chardonnay.
Known primarily for its robust reds, South Australia can be cool or hot, depending on whether the region is inland or costal. The Barossa Valley, Australia’s most famous region, has a climate that is hot and dry. Chardonnay is grown on higher-altitude hillsides, and the Shiraz is internationally renowned. Coonawarra is a somewhat cooler southern area that is the source of some of Australia’s best reds, particularly Cabernet. Clare Valley is an Australian paradox. Despite its warm, dry climate, it excels with Riesling, and produces it in a dry, fuller-bodied style.
Small producers are earning a growing reputation for fine wine. Margaret River has a climate between maritime and Mediterranean, and is known for its Cabernet and Chardonnay.