Australia... the land of Shiraz, oaky Chardonnay, world beating Cricket, venomous snakes, and bouncing marsupials to name but a few of this large continents many attractions. In wine terms, Australia has it all, and almost all of their varied and award-winning wine industry is situated within 25 miles of the coast. Heat is a major problem, and recently drought has been a rising factor, as the continent struggles to preserve its falling water table. Regionally, Australia offers everything, from cool coastal regions such as Yarra, the Mornington Peninsula and Geelong in Victoria, to the cool and temperate vineyards of Coonawarra, where Cabernet reigns supreme, to the hot and sandy conditions of the Barossa, where Grenache and Rhone varieties excel.
Western Australia is arguably the most complete region, where both reds, whites and sparkling all shine, the vineyards around Perth and especially the Margaret river have almost perfect growing conditions, tempered by proximity to the ocean. Paradoxically, the sweltering Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, produces richer, almost 'sweaty' Rhone style Syrah and Burgundian Chardonnay from vineyards that benefit from humidity and less coastal cooling. New cooler regions are being discovered annually. The Hilltops region near Young and Tumburumba near Canberra being two that are gaining prominence.