Lesser known aspects of Australian wines.


Australian wines have come a long way in both popularity and quality. They are market leaders in Far Eastern countries, the Untied Kingdom, very popular in the U S A, and Canada. The most popular are entry level, low-priced wines, but Australia produces also its fair share of fine and very sophisticated wines.

The country is large ( a little smaller than the U S A ) with a small population. Land is available and suitable terroir exists in many parts of the country i.e Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania.

Because of the huge terroir differences, one should refer to regional Australian wines in general.

New South Wales’ Hunter Valley wines are completely different to those of Margaret River in the west.

Many, if not most, Australian red wines are aged in American white oak barrels, although of late, Hungarian, Russian, and Romanian oak barrels are also being used. Australian red wines offer vanilla, spice and toasty flavours due to the more porous American oak and different levels of barrel toast i.e light, medium, dark. French oak barrels are used for high-end white wines (mainly chardonnays). Occasionally winemakers blend chardonnay wines aged in French and American oak barrels.

Australia does not grow oak trees, and must import finished product from either Portugal, Spain, or elsewhere. It is well known that four to six per cent of all cork enclosures adversely affect wines. For this reason, Australian wineries were at the forefront to promote screw cap enclosures.

Stelvin, specially developed as an hermetic wine enclosure was launched in 1977 by Powsey Valley winery for its riesling bottling, Now many Australian, New Zealand, California, even European wineries use Stelvin.

High-end red wineries Still use cork enclosures, even in Australia.

Bag in a box was developed by Thomas Angove in 1967 and has helped popularize wine enjoyment in Australia, the U S A, the United Kingdom, and Canada, although of late the use of this type of packaging lost its appeal. The disadvantage of bag in a box is that the wine must be consumed within a maximum of eight months after packaging, and occasionally consumers buy wines that are past their best flavour.

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