Before taking a Hunter Valley wine tasting tour, you need to know a thing or two about Australian winemaking.
The Australian wine industry is one of the biggest globally, with 1.3 billion litres produced per year across 65 different wine regions, totalling approximately 160 000 hectares. Over 100 grape varieties can be found here. It is all as diverse as Australia itself - with landscapes ranging from dusty red flat lands to sparkling white sand beaches, vast mountain ranges to lush green, and misty pastures. This variable terrain produces multiple grape varieties; below, we look at the flavour profiles of different wines across Australias five wine regions.
A Quick Guide To Grape Varieties
Chardonnay, Shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, sémillion, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc and riesling are the predominant grapes grown on Australian vines. Wines labelled with the name of their grape variety must make up at least 85 % of its recipe.
Five Wine Regions
Australia is home to some of the worlds oldest vines and can be split into five distinct wine-producing states: Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
This remote part of the country features unspoilt scenery, golden sand beaches and breathtaking forests. The wine regions in Western Australia are situated in the cooler parts of Australia. Although it only makes up 5% of the country's wine output, it is responsible for most of its best quality wines.
The wines from this state combine fruit ripeness with freshness - zesty sauvignon blanc and sémilion blends, crisp chardonnay, and elegant cabernet perfect for aging.
Responsible for most of the wine produced and featuring some of the countries oldest vines. A dry and hot climate allows grapes to ripen fully, resulting in bold, dense, concentrated wines.
Responsible for almost 50% of Australia's wine production, a multitude of soil types and ocean breezes result in a wide range of wine styles and qualities - almost too many to mention.
New South Wales
Today the state is famous for its Hunter Valley region, where the most iconic wine is the Semillion blend - dating as far back as 1830.
It is one of the warmer wine regions - but decent cloud cover and cool pacific ocean breezes keep it a good climate for quality grapes to grow.
Here, the country's most delicate age-worthy white wines are made, grapes are picked early and are light in alcohol percentage. The Hunter Semillon is easy-drinking, dry and lemony in profile with a tight structure that becomes toasty and soft in texture with age.
In the 1880s, Australia’s second-smallest state was the country’s largest wine-producing state - its prosperity coming from gold mining in the region. However, production virtually ceased in the state until the 1970s due to Phylloxera outbreaks.
A diverse climate across Victoria's wine regions result in a wide range of wine production. The warm climate of the northern and western rim has a reputation for unique, fortified wines like Muscat, which delivers sweet and fruity flavours that become more concentrated through long and dry Autumns.
This island off the South of the Mainland holds a cool climate where predominantly sparkling wine, chardonnay and riesling are produced. These wines often boasting a lift and delicacy not found in the mainland. Tasmanian wines are limited in supply, and many don't make it across the strait and are considered rare and valuable.
Australia is one of the worlds most fascinating and diverse winemaking countries. Wine enthusiasts dedicated to travelling down under will discover some of the worlds most iconic vineyards and a full diary of wine tasting festivals to attend.
You can get to know one of Australia's most famous winemaking regions with a closer look at the countries signature wines on a Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Tour. If you'd like to know more about our tours, call us on 0419 719 994 or discover how you can create your ideal experience with Hunter Valley Winery Tours.