Australia has more than 60 designated wine regions across the country and has developed a worldwide reputation for its award-winning wines.
Discover some of the world’s oldest shiraz vineyards in South Australia’s Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, or award-winning sauvignon blanc in Western Australia’s Margaret River. Join one of the winery events held in the Hunter Valley near Sydney, or taste the flagship chardonnay, pinot noir and sparkling wines of the Yarra Valley near Melbourne.
Almost every wine growing region has an annual festival where local wine, food and culture can be sampled. The largest is the biennial Tasting Australia, which showcases some of the very best Australia has to offer.
In South Australia they’ve been producing world-class wine for generations, and the state now has 16 distinct wine regions. Adelaide is home to the National Wine Centre of Australia and the city has more than 200 cellar doors right on its doorstep.
The famous Barossa is made up of two regions, each with its own speciality. Eden Valley has a reputation for excellent Riesling, while the Barossa Valley is home to some of the world’s best Shiraz. In addition to the Barossa, more excellent vineyards and wineries can be found in the heritage towns and century-old cellars of McLaren Vale, the Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, and Coonawarra.
McLaren Vale, nestled between the Mount Lofty Ranges and the beaches of Gulf St Vincent, is renowned for its exceptional wines, most notably Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay varieties. More than 50 wineries and 270 independent grape growers can be found here. Walk or cycle along the old railway line between Willunga and Seaford, and you'll pass through vineyards and wild olive groves and get a feel for this gorgeous countryside. McLaren Vale originally grew up around the wine industry, but the surrounding hills, uninhibited rural vistas, pristine beaches and coastal scenery have attracted artists and artisans to the district for more than a century.
At Margaret River, just a few hours drive south of Perth, there are more than 60 wineries to choose from, many with restaurants serving fresh local produce cooked up by some of Australia’s best chefs. Although Margaret River produces less than one per cent of Australia’s wine, here the quality is high, as it produces more than 15 per cent of the country's premium wines. The region is especially recognized for its award-winning cabernets. Enjoy opera among the vineyards or international concerts in a sensational bushland setting or sample them all at the Margaret River Wine Region Festival.
In the Swan Valley, just a boat ride from Perth, you’ll find Western Australia’s oldest wine region. With its reliably warm and dry climate, the valley became the birthplace of viticulture during Western Australia’s early settlement, and still produces some of the country’s best verdelho, shiraz and cabernet varieties. Small boutique wineries are the foundation of this wine region’s charm. Many of the varieties produced in this region are only available for purchase at the cellar doors of the wineries, and the people who make the wine are likely to be the ones who greet and serve you.
A few hours north-west of Sydney is the famous Hunter Valley, NSW’s premier wine region. Acclaimed worldwide for its semillon, chardonnay and shiraz varieties, you’ll find around 120 wineries located in the small townships throughout the region, including Australia’s oldest winery at Wyndham Estate. Many offer wine-tasting classes and cellar doors where you can meet the winemakers and learn their secrets.
A great way to experience the delights of the Hunter Valley is at events such as the Lovedale Long Lunch, or the opera, jazz, and blues music events that are staged amongst the vineyards in Spring.
Less than an hour east of the city of Melbourne lies the Yarra Valley, the birthplace of Victoria’s wine industry. Here nestled amongst the rolling hills are around 55 wineries, ranging from small family-owned vineyards to large scale exporters.
The signature cool climate wines of the Yarra Valley include pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling wines, but the region also produces excellent sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, shiraz and riesling. Many of the wineries offer cooking classes and wine-tasting.
Once you’ve developed a taste for Victorian wines, follow the Great Grape Road route through the Pyrenees, Grampians and Ballarat wine regions of western Victoria, which produce some of Australia’s finest cool-climate wines – most notably shiraz.
The gentle Mediterranean climate puts a very individual stamp on Mornington Peninsula wines. The micro-climates of the region result in quite different wine styles from the same grapes grown at neighbouring vineyards. Sample your way around more than 50 boutique cellar doors, where local vintners who grow their own fruit will tell you all about the famous regional pinot noir and cool-climate chardonnay which perfectly complement the fine local produce. They may even share some of their secrets of the newer regional varietals, including pinot grigio, pinot gris and shiraz, brought together at many outstanding food and wine events held throughout the year.
A leisurely drive to some of the 140 vineyards and 33 wineries dotted throughout the countryside just outside of Canberra will unveil the wineries, cafes and farms that are producing fine wines, along with innovative regional cuisine. Canberra region wines have qualities derived from the unique Australian environment. Winemaking started 160 years ago in the Canberra region, and today these wineries are home to a large range of awards for wine quality and winemaker's talents. The ability to ripen the same fruit across the whole region provides great diversity, and styles found nowhere else.
The charmingly secluded Clare Valley, around two hours’ drive north of Adelaide, is one of Australia's most famous wine producing regions. It’s a fascinating place for connoisseurs of both wine and history to spend some time.
Most people come to the Clare Valley for its exceptional food and wine. The Clare Valley’s Mediterranean-style climate is ideal for the production of high quality Riesling, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon and Merlot grapes.