Australia’s wine industry has been remarkably successful over the past 30 years and as such it is now the world’s fourth largest wine exporter, selling a variety of its wines in over 100 countries.
Australia was the first of the ‘new world’ wine producing countries to understand how to appeal to a growing number of modern wine drinkers, with its inexpensive, easy-drinking, wine styles. Its innovative strategy of producing and labelling wines according to grape variety proved highly popular and saw Australia steal valuable market share from traditional producing countries France, Italy and Spain.
In recent years grape gluts, climatic extremes and economic issues have challenged the Australian wine industry, forcing it to consolidate to maintain sales in increasingly price-competitive wine export markets. Australia’s challenge therefore was to raise its reputation for premium wine and thereby command prices that enable reinvestment in its wine industry long-term. The good news is that many independent wineries in Australia are now doing just that.
Australia offers a wide range of wine styles at all prices, from many different grape varieties and regions. Whilst it has enjoyed tremendous success with inexpensive branded Chardonnays and fruity Shiraz-Cabernet blends, there is much to discover from Australia’s wide array of higher quality wines too.
Some of the country’s wines have become benchmark ‘classic’ styles such as Barossa Shiraz, Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon and Clare Valley Riesling. Australia also makes sparkling wines, the best using the traditional Champagne method, while sparkling red Shiraz is an Aussie icon and party classic. There are Aussie sweet wines too, such as soft-textured late-harvest Rieslings, fortified tawnies and Rutherglen Muscat, Australia’s unctuous, toffee-flavoured classic.