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Flashcards in Australia Deck (75):

In what year did v. vinifera first arrive in Australia?



Why is international competitiveness so important for the Australian wine industry?

The Australian domestic market is small-scale and fixed, so they need a wider, larger audience in order to remain competitive as a wine-producing nation.

See here for a table displaying Australia's wine exports sales 1997-2018 compiled by Wine Australia.


Name an advantage some Australian winemakers have over their Old World counterparts which helps keep their prices low.

Cheap land

When land is low or well priced, prices down the chain (ex-cellar, wholesale, retail) are lower when compared to wines from places with expensive land, such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, or even Napa.

Caveat: not all land in Australia, or the New World, is cheap; premium vineyard land can be expensive.


What are the bodies of water surrounding Australia?

  • Indian Ocean to the west;
  • Southern Ocean to the south;
  • South Pacific Ocean to the east;
  • Tasman Sea separating Australia and New Zealand

A region's warmth can tempered if it is proximal to one these bodies of water.


What is the overarching climate of Australia?


There are zones and sub-zones where the climate can be Maritime or Subtropical.


Australia is situated in fairly northern latitudes of the southern hemisphere, making overall conditions in the country's growing regions mostly dry, and quite warm to hot -- like much of California.

With summers being so dry, there can be an increased risk of what?

An increased risk of fires, which can affect the grapes with smoke taint should fires blaze before or around veraison.


How does one find cooler regions in Australia?

Either by going higher in altitude or going south towards Antarctica (away from Equator).

Adelaide Hills and Clare Valley are two examples of GIs cooled by altitude.


What is The Great Dividing Range?

The Great Dividing Range is Australia's largest mountain range that roughly parallels the eastern coastline, running approximately 2200 miles (3500 km) from Queensland on a mostly north-south axis down through Grampians in western Victoria.  

Also known as the Eastern Highlands, this extensive mountain range acts as a partition between the damp, coastal areas from the more arid interior.


Generally, when is the growing season in Australia?

February through April, although it can go as late as May.


Australia's growing season is affected by which two climate drivers?

  1. El Niño, which leads to decreased rainfall and hotter conditions;
  2. La Niña, which leads to increased rainfall and cooler conditions.

Western Australia is the only state not affected by these weather systems.



As of 2019, Australia is the __th largest wine producer in the world.



What is the hierarchy of Australian wine growing areas?

From largest to smallest:

Zones: large areas which can cover several states or emcompass several regions with similar climatic conditions (e.g. Limestone Coast zone).

Regions: smaller in size than zones, but their wines must demonstrate consistent and recognizable traits that differ from nearby regions (e.g. Margaret River, Clare Valley).

Subregions: smallest in size, these areas must have distinct traits that are not shared with abutting regions.  Subregions will lie wholly within a region (e.g. Polish Hill River subregion within Clare Valley).  


Phylloxera was confined to these two regions when it struck Australia in the late 1800s.

Victoria and New South Wales

This means that several regions outside of these two have 100+ year-old vines, primarily South Australia.


According to Wine Australia, Australia produces approximately how may liters of wine per year?  

How much of that is red wine?

Roughly 1.2 billion liters per year, 52% of which is red wine.


After the glut of Australian wine between 1991-2007, how are Australian winemakers reinventing their industry and grabbing the attention of wine drinkers around the world?

By focusing on "...freshness, natural acidity, and regional disctinction," per Wine Australia.

There is a recent rise in 'natural' producers, such as Jauma and Ochota Barrels, in South Australia who are veering away from high-alcohol, extracted wines.

See here for a market report on the glut and subsequent turnaround of Australian wine.


Is chaptalization legal in Australia?

No, chaptalization is NOT legal in Australia as grapes have no difficulty ripening.


What is the Label Integrity Program in Australia?

The Label Integrity Program (LIP) was legislation passed by Wine Australia to ensure the truth of information on a bottle of wine.

If a grape or grapes' variety, vintage, and/or origin is stated on the label, at least 85% must be of that region, variety, or vintage.

Furthermore, the LIP stated that if a wine is made from several grapes, those grapes must be stated on the bottle in descending order of the blend.


What are the top 3 planted grapes in Australia?

  • Syrah ~40,000ha
  • Cabernet Sauvignon ~25,000ha
  • Chardonnay ~21,000ha (most planted white grape)

According to Wine Australia, ~146,000ha in Australia are under vine as of 2019.


What are some broadstroke differences between Australian Cabernet Sauvignon and Australian Shiraz?

Aussie Cabernet is often darker in color than Aussie Shiraz with firmer tannin, higher acidity, and blacker fruit characteristics (black currant, black plum, black cherry).

Aussie Shiraz tends to have softer tannin than Aussie Cabernet, show more red fruit, and have peppery notes.


Name 2 classic regions in Australia known for Cabernet Sauvignon.

Margaret River and Coonawara


Exceptional Riesling is known to be grown in these two South Australian GIs.

Clare Valley and Eden Valley


The ___GI is the classic region for Aussie Semillon and is New South Wales' most important GI.

Hunter Valley GI


The predominant climate in Hunter Valley is _____.

Subtropical (hot and humid)

Rot can be an issue in Hunter Valley as >750mm of rain falls throughout the year, but proper canopy management can minimize rot.


What makes Hunter Valley Semillon so distinctive?

Hunter Valley Semillon is picked earlier than anywhere else in Australia, producing a wine low in alcohol (usually around 11%) and high in acidity.

While snappy, fresh, and sometimes austere in their youth, Hunter Valley Semillons have proven to age 10+ years at which point they display notes of burnt toast, hay, and beeswax.

Hunter Valley Semillon is generally unoaked now, but before 1985 most did see some new oak due to the oak craze that dominated winemaking styles.


Semillon from regions outside of Hunter Valley tend to be ___ and ___.

More herbaceous and soft.

Some Semillons from Western Australia can be so herbaceous they taste like Sauvigon Blanc.


What is the derived soil of Hunter Valley where Semillon grows best?

Volcanic basalt


Name two famous Hunter Valley Semillons.

Brokenwood "ILR" Reserve Semillon

Tyrrell's "Vat 1" Semillon


Most of New South Wales' GIs are located on the warmer, more arid, western side of the Great Dividing Range, but there are 3 that routinely have cooler conditions thanks to altitude.

What are these 3 GIs?

  1. Mudgee
  2. Orange
  3. Cowra


The Southeastern Australia superzone covers what areas?

The entirety of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania as well as the wine-producing parts of South Australia and Queensland.


What is the coolest state on Australia's mainland?



What helps Victoria remain so cool?

Cool winds coming up from Antarctica.


What is the climate of Port Philip Zone in Victoria?



Which 2 GIs of Victoria are well known for their Pinot Noirs?

  • Yarra Valley
  • Mornington Peninsula


Where in Victoria is Marsanne the specialty?

Goulburn Valley GI


What styles of wine is Northeast Victoria known for?

Sweet, fortified wines, in particular Rutherglen Muscat.

See Fortified Muscats deck for more information.


What 3 rivers in New South Wales provide much-needed irrigation water to the area?

  • Darling River
  • Murray River
  • Murrumbidgee River

Irrigation provides necessary water, especially during El Niño years when drought can be an issue.


Which Australian GIs are major sources of grapes for big brands?

  • Riverina in New South Wales
  • Riverland in South Australia
  • Murray-Darling in Victoria


What sort of wines does Riverland region produce?

Riverland makes primarily bulk wine.


Besides bulk wine, Riverina is well known for making a specialty dessert wine made from this grape.

Semillon affected by Botrytis.

The most famous is De Bartoli's "Noble One" Botrytis Semillon.


The Murray-Darling Region is at the confluence of which 2 rivers?

  • The Murray River
  • The Darling River

This region in Victoria's Northwest Zone is known for growing grapes destined for bulk wine.


South Australia produces approximately how much of Australia's total annual production?



Does South Australia remain phylloxera-free?

Yes, South Australia remains free of phylloxera.  

The state has several, strict regulations regarding plant material and quarantines.


Limestone Coast Zone has one region that makes outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon.  What is that region?



Why is the soil in Coonawara so dinstinctive?

The soils in Coonawara are terra rossa, or friable clay, over limestone

Coonawara is known for its firmly structured, eucalyptus-scented Cabernet Sauvignons.


Name a famous Coonawara Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wynns 'John Riddoch' Coonawara Cabernet Sauvignon


What other region in Limestone Coast Zone shares soil similar to Coonawara?


Padthaway has terra rossa outcroppings; it can be a more afforable alternative to Coonawara.


What is Fleurieu Zone's warmest, most important, and famous region?

McLaren Vale


What is the climate of McLaren Vale?



What do some Australians call the Mourvèdre grape?



What style of wine dominates McLaren Vale?

Still, dry red wines based on Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvèdre (aka Mataro), Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.


Name some important McLaren Vale Shiraz bottlings.

  • d'Arenberg "The Dead Arm" Shiraz
  • Clarendon Hills “Astralis” Shiraz
  • Coriole "Lloyd Reserve" Shiraz
  • Wirra Wirra "RSW" Shiraz


What grapes are most often found growing in Adelaide Hills GI?

  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Noir

All grapes in Adelaide Hills GI are planted at least 400m in altitude.


Clare Valley has what kind of climate?


Clare Valley's warm climate is tempered by cool afternoon breezes and cold nights.


Why do the Rieslings from Clare Valley tend to be lighter and more austere than Rieslings from Eden Valley?

Clare Valley is generally cooler than Eden Valley: it is higher in altitude (vines are planted at 300-400m), has cool afternoon breezes, and cold nighttime temperatures.


Which producer makes an iconic Riesling from the Polish Hill River subregion in Clare Valley?



What are the 2 regions in Barossa Zone?

  1. Barossa Valley
  2. Eden Valley


What is the difference between a wine labeled 'Barossa' and 'Barossa Valley'?

If a wine is labeled with its GI as 'Barossa', it means the grapes came from both Barossa Valley and Eden Valley.

If a wine is labeled with its GI as 'Barossa Valley', it means the grapes came just from Barossa Valley.


What is the general style of red wines from Barossa Valley?

Thanks to its warm Mediterranean climate, Barossa Valley makes full-bodied, opaque, rich, extracted, ripe, and deeply fruity red wines.

Barossa Valley is the heart of fine wine production in South Australia.


Which iconic winery is based in Barossa Valley?  What is their top wine?

Penfolds is based in Barossa Valley.

Their top wine is Grange, which carries the South Australia GI as it is a blend across several regions.


Eden Valley is known for which grape?


Eden Valley is slightly warmer than Clare Valley, so its Rieslings tend to show more body but are still high in acidity.


Besides Penfolds, name a few other well known Barossa Valley producers.

  • Chris Ringland
  • Torbreck
  • Grant Burge
  • Henschke
  • Kaesler
  • Langmeil
  • Peter Lehmann
  • Seppetsfield
  • Elderton
  • Glaetzer
  • John Duval
  • Kalleske
  • Yalumba


Which Australian state does not supply grapes or juice for Southeastern Australia GI?

Western Australia


What is the most famous region in Southwest Australia Zone?

Margaret River


What are the predominant soils in Margaret River GI?

Soils are predominantly gravelly loam, granite, and gneiss.


What is the climate of Margaret River GI?


Margaret River experiences high rainfall in winter and dry, warm summers; it also has low risk of frost and hail.


What are the most planted white grapes in Margaret River GI?

  • Chardonnay
  • Semillon

They can be bottled as monovarietals or blended together.


What style of wine is Margaret River GI best known for?

Red Bordeaux blends and Cabernet Sauvignon bottled varietally.


Name some of the top producers from Margaret River GI.

  • Vasse Felix
  • Cullen
  • Cape Mentelle
  • Moss Wood
  • Leeuwin


The Great Southern Region has a nested subregion that is gaining attention for its Riesling.  What is that region?

Frankland River


What is Australia's coolest wine producing area?


Winds from the Southern Ocean cool down Tasmania.


What is the name of the body of water that separates Tasmania from the mainland?

Bass Strait


What is the sole GI of Tasmania?

Tasmania GI

Several unofficial areas exist on the island, including Pipers River and Coal River.


What are the most planted grapes on Tasmania?


  • Chardonnay
  • Riesling


  • Pinot Noir
  • Cabernet Sauvignon


Between Tasmania's cool climate and its plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, what style of wine is it well poised to make?

Sparkling wine

Tasmanian producers use méthode traditionelle. The sparkling wines from Tasmania represent some of the best examples in the country.


Who produces the Yellow Tail brand?

Casella Family

Casella Family was founded by Maria and Filippo Casella, who emigrated from Sicily in 1957.  They are now on their 6th generation.