Australia's Wine Regions

Australia may not be the most notable wine region in the world, but it shouldn’t be discounted. As the 7th largest wine producer around the globe, Australia produces at least 1,200 million liters of wine each year. And because it produces much more than its inhabitants consume, it’s actually the 4th largest wine exporter, as well.

Skyline of Sydney

Wine regions exist in all parts of the world, from Italy to France to Spain to even right here in the U.S. But today we’re going to travel (virtually) halfway across the globe to Australia, the Land Down Under, and the producer of some unforgettable vino.

The Vineyards of Australia

Though the continent of Australia is limited in terms of land, the different wine regions in Australia still boast over 429,000 acres. This means a lot of wine — over 1.46 billion bottles, at that. You could fill up a Honda Civic’s gas tank 26,000 times with that much wine (though we don’t recommend you do so).

The first vines came to Australia at the end of the eighteenth century. No, they didn’t just arrive magically — they actually came on the vessels of the First Fleet of Governor Phillip, who was going to New South Wales.

More recently, Australia went on a wine marketing journey. Specifically, they started building a brand around Shiraz (Australia’s word for Syrah). Between 1990 and now, this has caused Australian wine production to triple.

But Australia faces some pushback from wine critics. They sometimes call Australian wine “Critter Wine” — referring to that cute little animal that makes it onto a lot of wine labels.

And there aren’t only many Australian wines you already know and love (like Yellow Tail and Little Penguin). They’re always growing and learning to produce better wines.

Plus, there’s an impressive variety of Australian wines. Throughout Australian wine regions, the primary grape varieties include Shiraz (Syrah), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Sémillon, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Grenache, Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio, and Mourvèdre.

Here are some of the wine regions in Australia.

Golden Vineyard in South Australia

Golden Vineyard in South Australia

South Australia

The largest wine region in Australia by a landslide is South Australia. In fact, one major city in this region is where the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) is located. A lot of the world’s research on dry farming techniques come from AWRI.

The hub of South Australian wine is Adelaide, which is in Barossa Valley. It’s the most prestigious growing area, and it is actually home to some of the oldest living vineyards in the world. This is because phylloxera (an insect that destroys vineyards) hasn’t quite made it to the vineyard soils in Barossa.

South Australia is mostly known for Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. But it’s also the producer of some excellent red blends called GSM: Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre.

As for whites, Clare Valley and Eden Valley in South Australia are known for Rieslings.

New South Wales

Most of the wine from New South Wales comes from the inland Big Rivers zone. In this region, a lot of the commercial Chardonnay and Shiraz is produced.

Unfortunately, recent — and severe — droughts have hit this area hard. But winemakers are savvy. And many have started experimenting with drought-friendly varieties, such as Tempranillo and Verdelho.


An up-and-coming wine region in Australia is Victoria. It’s a well-kept secret of the international wine scene, and it’s worth exploring. The region is mostly made up of commercial winemaking in Northwest Victoria. But there is growing interest in places closer to Melbourne, like Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley.

Victoria has plenty of cool climate areas, which is ideal for its well-known Pinot Noir.

Western Australia

Also an up-and-coming region, Western Australia’s most well-known wine-producing area is called Margaret River. The biggest influence on the wine that comes out of this region is the maritime influence from the ocean. This leads to a long maturation and development of delicate, balanced, and aromatic wines.

Celebrate Australia’s Wine Regions at Home

Now that you know the wine regions of Australia, it’s time to fill your glass and start enjoying what they have to offer. One of the best ways to do this is an at-home wine tasting. (Don’t forget to prepare with some home bar accessories for your inner bartender!)

wine testing

The art and process of a wine tasting aren’t complicated, and it’s a great way to try a variety of wines in a short period of time. That way, you can compare one to another and determine what you really like best.

The best way to start is to gather your favorite Australian wines (or throw in some other countries to really put each wine to the test!). Then grab some glasses and some fellow wine enthusiasts. If you’re feeling really fancy, check out this golf ball-shaped decanter for wine.

Remember, the taste is unique to each wine drinker, so expect everyone to taste wines differently.

Then, go slowly through each wine. Take your time — the art of wine tasting is in the process:

  1. Swirl your wine around your wine glass. This allows the air to combine with the liquid, opening up the wine and its aromas.
  2. Sniff your wine. Your smell and taste are incredibly intertwined. Check for notes of vanilla or cherries or wood or anything else that you might smell.
  3. Sip your wine (finally!). Take a small sip (we repeat - small) to really savor the wine.
  4. Swallow or spit your wine into a glass. Go ahead and swallow your wine (and check for any tastes you experience after). Or, spit into a glass if you have many more wines to taste and don’t want to get too inebriated.

Explore the Wonder of Australian Wines

Australia may be best known for surfing or beaches or the Great Barrier Reef or the Sydney Opera House. While these attractions of the continent are all wonderful, don’t forget about one of its best offerings to the world — its wine.

Australian wine has so much to offer. Winemakers across its many regions are working hard to produce the wines you already know and love. They’re also producing the wines you haven’t yet had the pleasure of trying. Embrace your inner Aussie, and pour a glass of Australian wine today.

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Which Australian wine are you going to try this evening?