Australia’s vineyard areas are pretty much exclusively towards the south coast of the country. To be fair it’s where near as damn it most of the people are too. You ever been to the Northern Territory? Size of UK, France, and Spain put together and the population is something daft like 200,000, of which 150,000 live in Darwin, the main city. Beautiful place, mind!
Anyway class, I’m talking rubbish, it’s back to the day’s geography lesson in the vineyards. Most of the wine is made in South Eastern Australia (under the red line in the map up top there). I think it’s something like 95% of Australian wine output. Now this is on the labels you’ll see on a lot of wines from big brands. For them it’s all about sourcing cheap fruit from all the way around the massive area to make sure that each year they make enough wine to fill their contracts. So they slap a “catch-all” label of South Eastern Australia on it.
If producers want to get more specific about what grapes they use, they might just source fruit from inside one of the states. So in South Eastern Australia you’ve got New South Wales (think Sydney), Victoria (think Melbourne), Tasmania, a bit of Queensland, and then South Australia (which sounds like it should contain South Eastern Australia and not the other way around, but it’s just the name given to the state).
You can then look at regions. In South Australia (there’s your clue to where Coonawarra is) you’ve got some of the most famous areas in Australia. Right down south, hugging the border with Victoria, is what’s called the Limestone Coast. It’s in this region you get the areas of Padthaway, and our NWTW area of Coonawarra.
It’s actually not quite as warm as you’d think down here. If you think about it, what’s directly South? The Antarctic! So currents coming up the coasts are cooling and you’re not far off Bordeaux temperatures (maybe a bit less rain though). So it’s perfect for our New Wine This Week, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Other posts in NWTW Week 14: