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Australia’s position in the landscape of vineyards

The largest and most populous continent, Asia, does not have a strong wine consuming culture. Even as it is often seen as a large potential market and a growing demand for wine, especially for high-end wines in these boom days in China, it is still a small fraction of the wine-consuming world. Success in exporting to the continent has been elusive so far and attempts to further the market are hampered by the latent production capacity of China itself. There is already a fairly large amount of cheap table wine being made, making China one of the top 10 countries in wine production globally.

And if the consumption levels in China, Japan, Korea and other Asian countries would dramatically increase, nobody would be better situated than Australia to fill the appetite of those new wine drinkers. Situated southeast of the Asian landmass in the South Pacific Australia and New Zealand are relative newcomers to the wine world, but have realized the potential of their terroir for good quality wine production, that has seen its limits so far only in demand but not in production possibilities.

Australia is among the heavyweights already, ranking sixth globally.

Wine is an important agricultural commodity with a considerable amount intended primarily for export markets. Though competition from South American countries has stiffened, Australia is still the second largest source of imported wines to the US after Italy.
Wine is made in all of Australia's states, but it is the southeastern part of the continent where most vineyards are to be found in the states of Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. The latter includes such acclaimed areas as McLaren Vale, Barossa, Eden, and Claire Valleys as well as Coonawarra. Victoria's wine regions include Rutherglen, Yarra Valley, and the lesser-known areas of Bendigo, Heathcote, Goulburn Valley, and the Mornington Peninsula; while New South Wales is best know for its Hunter Valley, besides Mudgee, Riverina, and Murray Darling.

To complete the list of wine regions, Margaret River all the way to the west in Western Australia and the island of Tasmania to the south should be included, though there are fairly small in comparison to the above.

Shiraz (or Syrah, as its called in the rest of the world) is the undisputed king of grapes with over 100,000 acres under vine, but Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon come in not far behind. Mostly known for high-alcohol, fruit-driven, and full bodied wines Australia's reputation has suffered in recent years from an over abundance of simple, inexpensive high-volume brands that lack character. But there are still complex, handcrafted wines that show the real potential of the continent down-under. Look for some of the higher end wines from McLaren Vale or Barossa Valley, with its Mediterranean climate this is where Australia's reputation for good wine all got its start.

Tagged: Wine Experiments, Australia