A Quick Guide to Australian Wine Regions

By Caitlin Hornik

When people think of Australia, they usually think of the beautiful beaches or the exotic wildlife. Some might recall the iconic images of the Sydney Opera House or Harbor Bridge. Even the Great Barrier Reef or the Outback. Not everyone remembers the wine.

Australia is home to some of the greatest wine regions in the world. It's known for producing distinctive varieties and blends. Here’s an overview of some of the top wine regions across the continent.

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Yarra Valley / Victoria

The Yarra Valley is host to hundreds of incredible vineyards and wineries. It's located an hour outside of Central Melbourne. This region has a cooler climate. This enables the production of sparkling Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz. Due to its proximity to the Melbourne CBD, it’s easy to plan a day trip to the Yarra Valley. You’ll also enjoy the food offerings in this region. Yarra Valley has one of the most up-and-coming restaurant scenes outside of Melbourne.

Vineyards to try: TarraWarra Estate, Yileena Park

Barossa Valley / South Australia

The Barossa Valley is home to a variety of family-owned and operated vineyards. Most produce Shiraz, Grenache, Riesling, and more. Forget about finding these wines on shelves in the USA - you can only find them in Australian stores if you’re lucky. The Barossa Valley has about half as many vineyards and wineries as compared to the Yarra Valley. Still, it's beautifully scenic and full of passionate wine makers. The Barossa Valley is another region located close to a city center. Located an hour northeast of Adelaide, it's a prime day trip destination.

Vineyards to try: Chateau Yaldara, Kies Family Wines, Grant Burge Wines

McLaren Vale / South Australia

McLaren Vale is located 45 minutes south of Adelaide and is home to about 80 cellar doors and 160 vineyards. This region has an international reputation for producing Shiraz, Grenache, and Cabernet. These wines are affectionately known as the trilogy of Australian reds. The climate in McLaren Vale is like that of the Mediterranean. This allows for production of other varieties of wine including Tempranillo and Vermentino. McLaren Vale has a rich history of Italian settlers. They introduced the production of olive oil to this region in the 1950s. So, be sure to try some olive oil with your wine during your visit!

Vineyards to try: Hugh Hamilton Wines, Leconfield Wines, Coriole Winery

Margaret River / Western Australia

Margaret River is one of the largest geographic wine regions in Australia. It's known for producing Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz. Margaret River has a climate consistent with a Mediterranean style. It's located three hours south of Perth and is home to around 150 wineries. It's accessible for an overnight stay while visiting Western Australia.

Vineyards to try: Vasse Felix, Rustico at Hayshed Hill, Cullen Wines

Tamar Valley / Tasmania

The Tamar Valley is a champion of white wines. It's known for producing Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc. Pinot Noir is their signature red wine. Tamar Valley has plenty of fertile soil and the right amount of rain. The climate lends itself well to the production of exquisite wines. It is similar to Cote d’Or, Burgundy, France, which is another world-renown wine region. Tamar Valley boasts more than 32 vineyards all within driving distance of each other. Tamar Valley is located in northern Tasmania.

Vineyards to try: Iron Pot Bay Vineyard, Tamar Ridge, Velo Wines

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