Some Surprising Facts About Australian Wines

It's true that real sommeliers don't often think Australian wines when considering the finest vineyards in the world. However, believe it or not, Australia is the fourth-largest exporter of wine in the world, with some 105 million gallons of wine exported per year. That's over 400,000,000 liters, for you non U.S. readers! And with as many liters they export, Australians also typically consume just as much wine themselves as they export! Obviously there must be something high-quality about the wines from Australia if there are over 200 million gallons of it consumed every year! Let's look at some very interesting facts about these wines that are appreciated the world over.

One of the reasons that Australian wines do so well is the climate of this continent. While it may have been somewhat difficult to work around by those who first began cultivating grapes for wines, they soon learned how to adapt to the climate and found themselves successfully growing a large variety of grapes for some very fine wines. This selection typically includes Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Riesling. These wines are always made from imported grapes as the continent has no native grapes of its own. The fact that Australian vineyard owners could adapt themselves to an unfamiliar climate with foreign grapes to become the fourth-largest exporter of wine in the world shows their dedication to the science and art of wine making.

Award Winners

The Australian label Penfolds Grange has won more than 50 gold medals in the past fifty or so years since its inception. The 1971 won first prize at the Wine Olympics in Paris; the 1990 was named 'Red Wine of the Year' by the Wine Spectator magazine in 1995. Some wine critics have called this "the world's most exotic and concentrated wine," beating out many famous wines of France and Italy.

Many other Australian wines have held their own in wine competitions around the world and have been recognized by wine critics and enthusiasts alike.

Their Ups and Downs

There were many years when wines vineyards of Australia were plagued by phylloxera, a small pest that infests vineyards. When they finally overcame this infestation, vineyards were typically producing sweet and fortified wines. Because of their popularity, the government of Australia actually paid growers to pull their vines in order to level the market. This has been repeated in recent years as there has been an oversupply and short sales.

However, with the rise in popularity of organic products, Australian wines have once again gained their popularity. Many vineyards now are finding that their demand is increasing for organic and biodynamic wines, and their upsurge is once again returning. Australia has even hosted the International Biodynamic Wine Forum that includes organic and biodynamic vineyard owners from around the world.

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About The Author, David Cowley
David Cowley has created numerous articles on Wines. He has also created a Web Site dedicated to wine information. Visit Wine Information