A beginner’s guide to wine tasting experiences in Australia
There are lots of reasons to visit Australia, but if you’re into wine at all then you’ll know that Australia produces a huge volume of wine and most of it is of a very high quality.
Australia is a big continent, and there are several distinct, major wine growing regions that you can explore on your travels.
Most Australian wineries encourage visitors to come to the winery or cellar door and taste the wines that are available for sale.
You’ll probably need a designated driver, or you may want to join a bus tour, but meandering around one of Australia’s wine regions is a great way to immerse yourself in the country’s outdoor lifestyle while also enjoying some fantastic wines.
To help you begin planning your expedition, here’s some of the main wine regions that you might want to add to your itinerary.
Margaret River, Western Australia
A couple of hours drive south of Perth, this is a stunning part of the world known for its great surf beaches which are regularly patrolled by Great White sharks.
Originally the farmland of this region was developed as dairy farms, but in 1969 the first vines were planted and now there’s a huge number of wineries here – Vasse Felix, Voyager, Amberley, Leeuwin Estate, and Xanadu are some of my favourites among the 150 wineries vying for your attention.
Barossa Valley, South Australia
One of Australia’s oldest wine regions, vines have been growing here since 1842.
It’s estimated that there are around 750 families growing grapes in this region, with over 170 wine companies producing big, bold, red wines as well as some top-drawer Riesling.
Some of my favourites to sample are Penfolds, Peter Lehmann, Henschke, Seppeltsfield, and St Hallett.
With a history spanning 150 years, there are over twenty wineries in the Rutherglen region and most are small, family-owned operations.
Fortified wines have always been one of this region’s specialities, but big powerful red wines such as Durif are also a signature of Rutherglen.
Some of my favourites for tasting are Campbells, Morris Wines, Stanton & Killeen, All Saints Estate, and Pfeiffer Wines.
The annual Winery Walkabout festival is definitely worth checking out.
Hunter Valley, New South Wales
With the first vines planted in this region in the early 19th century, the Hunter Valley has long been established as one of Australia’s leading wine growing regions.
Some of my favourite places to taste include Pepper Tree Wines, McGuigan, and Tyrrell’s Wines - a winery that has been family-owned for the last 145 years.
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Just north of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is a cool-climate wine region that’s also renowned for its food and local produce.
Grape vines were first planted in this region in 1838. Today, it’s a region that’s known for its pinot noir, crisp whites, and sparkling wines.
I love the sparkling wine produced by Domaine Chandon. Some of my other favourites include Coldstream Hills, Yering Station, and De Bortoli.