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What Are The Best Wine Regions In Australia?

It relaxes the mind, brings smiles to faces, is packed with antioxidants and can even reduce your risk of developing life-threatening diseases. Australian wine is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with but is still pretty underrated. We've got the best wine regions in each state for you to sip and swill away, sample local produce, get back to nature and even meet some Aussie wildlife. If you're a wino, you'll be in paradise in one of these breathtaking spots.

List Of Wine Regions In Australia

Hunter Valley - New South Wales

As you explore the wine region, you'll find 120 wineries where you can sample the famous Hunter Valley Sémillon. You'll also be surrounded by gourmet restaurants and eateries where you can fall upon a plethora of delicious local produce, from truffle salami to creamy camembert. There's always some live music or ultra-hip festivals happening, plus a hot air balloon or helicopter ride can give you unforgettable views of the gorgeous scenery.

  • Best for: A romantic hot air balloon ride or a getaway with friends featuring wine tasting and golf or a major music event.
  • Popular wineries: Lindeman's, Mount Pleasant, Tyrrell's, Brokenwood Wines, De Bertoli, Tempus Two, Audrey Wilkinson Winery.
  • Drive from Newcastle in 90 minutes or from Sydney in under 3.5 hours. Stay at one of the charming Airbnbs in the Pokolbin region, or splash out for the luxurious Spicers Hunter Valley Retreat.

Barossa Valley: Shiraz is king in this region. Barossa Valley lies northeast of the city of Adelaide. This is the most famous wine-growing region in Australia.

Commercial winemaking in North West Victoria makes up the majority of wine production in the entire region. However, the growing areas of interest are cooler and closer to Melbourne, such as Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. The cool climate areas in Victoria have received a lot of praise for their Pinot Noir.

The Barossa zone is located just outside the northeast of the Adelaide metropolitan area. The Barossa Valley wine region is one of Australia's oldest and most prestigious premium wine-producing regions, known for its Shiraz production. The area's climate is very hot and dry (for a wine-producing area).

The oldest winery in the region, Sevenhill Cellars, was established by Jesuit priests who first planted the vines to make sacramental wine.

  • Australia's oldest wineries
  • Wyndham Estate, NSW – 1828.
  • Olive Farm, WA – 1829.
  • Houghton, WA – 1836.
  • Yering Station, Vic – 1838.
  • Sandalford, WA – 1840.
  • Oliver's Taranga, SA – 1841.
  • Penfolds Magill Estate, SA – 1844.
  • Orlando, SA – 1847.

FAQs About The Best Wine Regions In Australia

Barossa Valley - South Australia

If Shiraz is your poison, the world-renowned Barossa Valley is the place to be. A breezy 50-minute drive from Adelaide, the Barossa encompasses a whopping great 150 wineries and 80 cellar doors, surrounded by villages, stone churches and lush hills. It is the home of Australia's most famous red wine, Penfolds Grange, as well as household names such as Jacob's Creek or Wolf Blass. The history of the Barossa is incredible and visible today - you'll find seven generations of growers and winemakers with German, Prussian and British heritage. You'll also find the finest produce in the country - pick up a gourmet picnic basket filled with wine glasses, a cheeseboard and a condiments dish and fill it up as you explore the mouth-watering Butcher, Baker and Winemaker Trail. The Barossa is an unforgettable experience that the staff at Adelaide Central YHA can help you plan perfectly. Do it by bicycle, motorbike, vintage car, hot air balloon or helicopter - make sure you do it.

  • Best for Beautiful architecture and picturesque winery grounds. European style villages, bakeries and heritage restaurants.
  • Popular wineries: Chateau Tanunda, Yalumba, Seppelt, Peter Lehman, Wolf Blass, Penfold's, Whistler Wines, Jacob's Creek. 
  • Getting there: Less than an hour's drive from Adelaide. Visit for a day, or stay at the stately Barossa Chateau or The Louise, a slick hotel with vineyard views, infinity pool, fine dining restaurant and wine bar.

Margaret River - Western Australia

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Three hours outside of Perth, the town of Margaret River is the stuff of fairy tales - a coastal paradise renowned for surf, native forests and caves of epic limestone and crystal formations. As if that wasn't enough, the wine region is one of the finest in the country. Margaret River wines make up less than 3 per cent of Australia's wines but make up a huge 20 per cent of our premium wines! You'll find hugely popular Stella Bella, Voyager Estate and Evans & Tate wineries here, offering a huge range but specialising in sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon. If beer is more your game, you're in luck - head to Eagle Bay Brewing Co. for an outstanding selection of craft beer and wood-fired pizzas. On a Saturday, the Farmer's Market is a must-do – the finest and freshest produce you could hope for. When you're all wined and dined out, kick back and watch the one-of-a-kind sunset over the Indian Ocean at Surfers Point in Prevelly. Margaret River YHA is conveniently located a few hundred metres from the town centre, and if you're looking for casual vineyard work, we have a dedicated Jobs Desk! But whether it's work or play you're after, there's something for everyone in this truly spectacular region.

  • Best for: A one-stop-shop for coastal walks, surfing and wineries. Quality boutique dining experiences like Miki's Open Kitchen.  
  • Popular wineries: Amelia Park, Cullen Biodynamic Wines, Vasse Felix, Juniper Estate, Voyager Estate, Victory Point, Leeuwin Estate.
  • Getting there: Fly to Busselton, or drive three hours from Perth. Stay in Cape Lodge, Indijup Spa Retreat, or nearby Busselton, Dunsborough, Yallingup, or Augusta. 

Yarra Valley - Victoria

Less than an hour's drive from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne, you'll find the Yarra Valley - a wine region as unique and unforgettable as the big city. The cool climes of Victoria mean that this is the place to go if you love a pinot noir, chardonnay or bubbly - and who doesn't?! The Yarra is also jam-packed with unique things to do. Visit the Blue Hills Berries and Cherries farm to pick your very own juicy Australian cherries from November to April. Check out the Buxton Trout and Salmon Farm, and be guaranteed to snare a juicy rainbow trout for your dinner. Get up close and personal with elusive Australian platypuses and other adorable animals at the Healesville Sanctuary. You can even pat and feed some fluffy alpacas at Omaru Alpaca Stud on the third Sunday of every month. Feeling pooped after a long day of exploring? Take a load off and pamper yourself at the incredible Piaf Day Spa, set amongst a rainforest paradise.

  • Best for: Escaping the city for gourmet lunch, hot air ballooning open external site in a new window over valleys and vineyards.
  • Popular wineries: De Bertoli, Domaine Chandon, Rochford, TarraWarra, Dominique Portet, Seville Estate. 
  • Getting there: Only an hour's drive from Melbourne. Make a day trip, or stay at one of the many Airbnbs in the region or nearby Dandenong Ranges.

Tamar Valley - Tasmania

One of the most underrated Australian wine regions in one of the most underrated Australian states, the Tamar Valley epitomises everything unique and beautiful about Tasmania. Here you'll find wines typical of cooler climates, where chardonnay and pinot noir reign supreme. If you're a beer drinker, you can enjoy a unique experience of beer and good food at the famous James Boag's Brewery. More than 30 vineyards are lining the shores of the Tamar Valley, nestled amongst beautiful orchards, forests and fertile pastures. You can explore them all when you follow the Wine Route. But how are you going to take all these amazing wines home with you, right? Never fear! At the last winery you visit, you can present your collection and have them mailed to your home – only for the cost of freight! Just don't forget to keep one to enjoy with dinner. Then, take a day trip to Launceston from Hobart Central YHA and be swept away by the landscapes, fresh produce and crisp air of the incredible Tamar Valley.

South Burnett - Queensland

Queensland's up-and-coming wine industry is one of Australia's best-kept secrets - and if it's Queensland wine you're after, South Burnett is the place to be. South Burnett is the largest and fastest-growing wine region in Queensland and is barely more than 20 years old! Traditionally, a peanut-growing area, droughts and uncertainty led to some farmers growing grapes over time. However, the rich volcanic soil, hot, dry summers and cold winters proved to be prime growing conditions - and the wine industry was born. A lovely day trip from Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast, you'll find large-bodied chardonnays and award-winning Shiraz in South Burnett. Feeling peckish? Gorge on local cheese, olives, preserves and capers and enjoy the bliss of the unique flavours. There's nothing like uncovering a hidden gem - and this charming regional town and its budding wine industry is just that.

Orange

The cool climate vineyards and enviable food scene bring visitors to this region in New South Wales' Central West. Explore over 60 high altitude vineyards and 30 cellar doors, including Australia's only carbon-neutral winery, Ross Hill Wines. Even better, plan your trip to coincide with the Orange Wine FestivalOpens external site in a new window in October.

  • Best for: A bit of everything. The diversity of food, wine varieties, cider houses and breweries means that there's something here for everyone.
  • Popular wineries: Borrodell Estate, De Salis Wines, Nashdale Lane, Canobolas-Smith, Philip Shaw Wines, Ross Hill Wines, Swinging Bridge Wines.
  • Getting there: Fly direct to Orange on QantasLink or drive from Sydney in just under 4 hours and stay at the impressive De Russie Boutique Hotel.

Mudgee

It is a charming foodie region that packs a punch for its remote location and small size. Sample robust reds and world-class chardonnays in one of the 35 cellar doors. Dine-in paddock-to-plate restaurants adjacent to picturesque vineyards or take a heritage walking tour or cooking class.

  • Best for: Something different still close to Sydney. Cycling through vineyards.
  • Popular wineries: Lowe Wines, Logan Wines, First Ridge, The Cellar by Gilbert, Burrundala Wines, Manners Wines.
  • Getting there: Fly direct to Dubbo (1.5 hours from Mudgee) or Orange (2.5 hours from Mudgee) or drive from Sydney in approximately 3.5 hours. We recommend a stay at Peppertree Terraces or Perry Street Hotel.

Griffith Riverina Region

Done it all and looking for something new? The Riverina is where the Mediterranean climate and Italian history meets Australian wines. Visit destination restaurants, including Limone DiningOpens external site in a new window or explore the waterfalls, lookouts and caves of Cocaparra National Park before enjoying one of the region's famous Semillon dessert wines.

  • Best for: A Mediterranean foodie escape in the New South Wales countryside.
  • Popular wineries: LillyPilly Estate wines, De Bertoli Wines, Calabria Family wines, Yarran Wines. 
  • Fly direct to Griffith or drive from Canberra (4.5 hours) or Sydney (6.5 hours). For something different, Catania Fruit Salad Farm provides daily tours and tastings.

Best Australian Red Wines

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Australian red wine is revered worldwide for its quality (and, usually, fair price point). Whether it's a summertime Pinot by the sea or breaking out the roasting pan (or slow cooker) with a big, peppery Shiraz when the mercury drops, there's little denying that red wine in Australia is more than just a fad. However, one of the advantages of living down under is that you don't have to look very far to find the best Australian red wine, as there is an abundance of top-rated growers, producers, and Australian wine brands dedicated to making the best red wine varieties that are truly in rouge.

Pinot Noir

Many good red wine brands are making ripping Pinots in Australia, and they can be made in so many marvellous ways. They can be complex and spicy, elegant and floral or even just juicy and smashable; their versatility makes them one of the best Australian red wines you can buy.

Today, we lean towards an Australian red wine that is a bit more muscular than your typical Pinot. More tannins, more mouthfeel, and a long finish; something more complex and powerful. I was recently in Tasmania, and here I found my perfect breed of Pinot — Gutsy Pinots with more depth, something I could tuck into with my steak. Pinot is a great alternative when you don't want to eat your wine. The tannins, alcohol content and body of some of our classic bigger wines can be too much of a mouthful if you don't want that crusty, drunk-uncle-stained-teeth look. The Pinot Noir grape needs a cool climate, like Burgundy, so you're making a safe bet with producers from Victoria (specifically Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula) and Tasmania. 

The Best Australian Pinot Noir Red Wines:

  • Mac Forbes Pinot Noir Yarra Valley 2017 ($30) – A brilliant Yarra Valley producer who has blended the delicious fruit from 6 vineyards to achieve a vibrant drop with great acid, and easily one of the best Australian red wines for the price.
  • Dexter Pinot Noir Yarra Valley 2016 ($55) – Perfumed, dark berries, silky tannins with a sprinkle of sassy spice.
  • Ocean 8 Pinot Noir Mornington Peninsula 2016 ($55) – Absolutely scrummy. Bright and fresh red fruits, a tickle of spice and cured meats, but beware on one drop of this and you'll want the whole bottle to yourself, so grab a cab.
  • By Farr Pinot Noir Geelong 2015 ($75) – Man, oh man this is a muscled-up and savvy Pinot. Earthy and savoury with uplifting red and black fruit. Delicious now, or pop a bottle away for something special. James Halliday is a big fan.
  • Sinapius Clariet 2016 Tasmania ($68) – this is the pièce de résistance of YUM. Luscious red fruits, pretty floral notes, and a subtle undertone of game and minerals. It hung out in French oak for 15 months and was bottled unfiltered and unfined. Delicious!

Shiraz

Spicy, sexy, sultry Shiraz, aka Syrah (its French name). When wine connoisseurs worldwide think about Australian red wine, more often than not, they will think of Shiraz. Shiraz is Australia's stable red grape variety – making it an incredibly popular Australian red wine. It dominates the Australian wine scene and is equally as popular abroad – featuring at the core of Australia's tremendous export success. Expect intense and earthy flavours with spice and dark fruits. It's a winner in my books and a general crowd-pleaser. I'm yet to meet a red lover who's not a fan of Shiraz. It's a quality wine, every time.

The best Australian Shiraz can range from medium and spicy to big and ballsy. What will make a big difference in your slight drop is where it's grown and the climate. Here are some regions that won't let you down.

  • Barossa and McLaren Vale – the big guns of South Australia, from the heart of Aussie wine country. Their vines are old, and they have won many international awards. Expect colossal, intense wines with jumbo-jumbo tannins.
  • Canberra and Hunter Valley – these are my favourites. You will find lots of sassy pepper and spice with great acid and a complex flavour profile. A little more dialed-back than the big guns of SA; elegant with youthful vibrancy.
  • Heathcote – velvety with chocolate notes and smooth tannins. This smooth red wine has spent plenty of time on oak to balance out the bucket loads of fruit in the taste.

The Best Australian Shiraz Red Wines:

  • Clonakilla O'Riada Shiraz Canberra 2016 ($36) – Rich, intense dark berries, it's potent, spicy and smooth; an unreal bottle of plonk.
  • Ruggabellus Archelaus (Shiraz dominant) ($58) – earthy, approachable and spicy, with lovely black fruit. BUY THIS WINE. It's all kinds of goodness, like a beautiful mystery in a glass vase.
  • Salvatore Shiraz Beechworth 2013 ($72.99) – Visit this place if you ever get a chance. Its owner and winemaker, Keppell Smith, is a top-notch human, and you get a sense of him and the sunburnt, bushranger landscape in this wine.
  • Rockford Basket Press or Henschke Hill of Grace – Let's not beat around the bush. If you're going in hard, then let me direct you to some of our top Australian heritage Shiraz – South Australia's stallions; the Rockford Basket Press and Henschke Hill of Grace. Any year will do. They will knock your socks off and flatten your wallet all at the same time.
  • Penfolds Grange – Arguably our most famous and best red wine brand, Grange has been in continuous production since 1951 and has proved to be a great wine to crack for special occasions and a wise investment. No list of the best Australian red wines could exclude Penfolds Grange.

Conclusion

Australia's oldest wine region is conveniently located right on Sydney's doorstep. Still, you'll find it hard to believe you're only two hours outside the big city as you fall in love with the magical tranquillity of the places. The perfect option for a cheeky romantic getaway, the Hunter region is renowned for its quiet country charm with modern perks.

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