We hope you’ve been enjoying our Romp Down Under. Today’s post focuses on Victoria and Western Australia.
VICTORIA. Victoria is the most southern part of Australia and faces the island of Tasmania. In spite of its relatively small size compared to other Australian states, it has quite a varied climate within its borders. The Great Dividing Range helps provide a cooler mountain-like climate in the middle of the state, and separates the northwest area’s hotter and drier areas from the cooler, more maritime coastal temperatures. The air from the Southern Ocean helps moderate the coolness of winter typically accompanied by much rainfall, and the hotter summer months. (Bear in mind, of course, that Australia’s seasons are opposite from the northern hemisphere’s.) Australia’s autumn is the northern hemisphere’s spring, so don’t be surprised to see beautiful orange and red leaves in April and May!
Victoria boasts 600+ wineries, with the most wine producers. Due to her lack of en masse wine production like other regions, however, her overall production ranks only third. Because the Phylloxera epidemic had such an impact on Victoria, her vineyards have only been healthy for about 70 years.
Victoria has many sub-regions in the state with a variety of production, including the ubiquitous Shiraz and Chardonnay, as well as Viognier, Pinot Noir, Tannat and Graciano. Australia’s wine laws demand that at least 85% of the grapes in the wine must be from the appellation on the label.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA. This massive state occupies one third of the Australian continent, with a long border to oceans and seas. Its huge territory does not make it the largest wine producer, however; Western Australia produces a mere 5% of all of Australia’s wines. What she is known for, however, is her boutique, high quality wines.
Most of Western Australia’s wines are produced in the cooler southwestern area of rivers, valleys and milder temperatures.
Of all the regions within Western Australia, I chose to highlight Margaret River. Margaret River is the largest wine producing area, with a cooler overall climate matched with rainfall of Mediterranean rates – that is, relatively low. These factors, as well as exceptionally fertile soil, render her climate excellent for wine growing, . Fine wines to expect from Western Australia are Shiraz (of course!), Merlot, Verdelho, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Sémillon. Considering that her serious wine production began as recently as 1967, Margaret River is truly remarkable! Her fertile soil and excellent growing conditions make her home to many other crops as well.
Have you tried any wines from Margaret River? How about Western Australia or Victoria? I would love to hear about your tasting experiences.
To see my earlier Australian articles, please visit “Exploring Australian Wine,” “Wine Down Under: The Major Wine Regions,” “Australian Wines – from Devastation to Deluge” and “Exploring the Australian Wine Regions of NSW and Queensland.”