Its vast size and huge range of climatic and geographical conditions, makes it one of the most versatile wine-growing countries in the world. Overall, the climate is affected by its southerly latitude, but regional features such as altitude and proximity to the oceans also play a significant role.
The major varieties are predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc; of course the flagship grape is the Shiraz, that makes up alone 30% of the total wine production. Syrah is often known as Shiraz in Australia to indicate a slightly different style of wine. Although Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape variety, Syrah typically indicates a cool-climate more subtle style of wine, while Shiraz indicates a bigger and bolder warm-climate style.
The three major wine regions in Australia by sheer volume are South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria. The last one is known for cool climate-loving Pinot Noir, New South Wales and South Australia are known for their warmer climate varieties such as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Barossa Valley, South Australia’s most prestigious growing area, is truly unique because of its isolation from the rest of the world. Phylloxera hasn’t infected vineyard soils in Barossa, which means it is the home to some of the oldest living vineyards in the world.