Famous for Paul Hogan, Fosters Lager, and Mel Gibson, Australia’s wine industry has become a dominant force on the international wine market over the past 20 years. Vines were originally grown here in the mid 1800s, but the wine produced was mostly fortified wine to be sent back to England. Old vine Grenache and Mouvedre dating back to the late 1800s is still farmed in Australia today; however it is probably the Syrah grape for which Australia is most famous. Known as Shiraz in Australia, these are generally big wines with generous fruit and oak. This easy drinking style helped to push Australian wines to the top of the export market. Australian wines became known for their simple fruit forward style and dominated the supermarket shelves and wine list alike. Recently Australia has begun to turn more to the thought of wine for quality rather than quantity, and is exploring many of the cooler climates offered by its coast.


Victoria is the coolest and smallest of the Australian states and possibly the most exciting at the present time. The regions on the coast, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, and Yarra Valley produce cooler climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that are almost impossible to produce well in the rest of Australia. Further inland are the regions of Heathcote and Strathbogie Ranges. Here the climate is tempered by the mountain ranges bringing cooling winds to help combat the hotter climate. The wines produced in Victoria differ from the super extracted, heavily oaked, jam bombs that are oft thought of as Australian wine. Here the cooler climate fosters a slightly more delicate wine with acidic balance and lighter tones.