Australia is the fourth biggest wine exporter in the world, exporting around 750 million litres every year into the international market. Nevertheless, 40% of the wine produced here is consumed domestically and the Australian wine industry contributes significantly to the nation’s economy through tourism, export, employment and production.
The Australian domestic market is worth over $2 billion per year, and Australians consume more than 530 million litres annually, with a preference for white wines over reds. All of the states produce wine, and there are over 60 wine regions in the country, covering around 160,000 hectares of the land surface. Most of the wine regions are in the south due to the cooler climate, and some of the best known vineyards are in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria. Each state produces a range of wine styles and varieties to reflect the local soil types, topography and climate.
The main varieties produced are cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, shiraz, pinot noir, merlot, Riesling, Semillon and sauvignon blanc, however the country’s best wines are made in the regions with cooler climates.
Most of the country’s wines are produced in South Australia however the Tasmanian region has become known as one of the world’s best producers of high quality wine. The Tamar Valley in particular is known for its pinot noirs and chardonnays which thrive in the cool Tasmanian climate. Some other noteworthy wines are made in the Granite Belt region to the extreme south of the state which has a very high altitude and therefore a cool growing environment. Production here centres on the towns of Ballandean and Stanthorpe.