Australia - Grape Varieties and Winemaking

6 important questions on Australia - Grape Varieties and Winemaking

What are the top nine varieties planted in Australia. Which percentage is black and which percentage is white?

Top nine:
  1. Shiraz, 30% - 40.000ha
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon - 25.000ha
  3. Chardonnay - 22.000ha
  4. Merlot
  5. Sauvignon blanc
  6. Pinot Noir
  7. Semillon
  8. Pinot Gris
  9. Riesling


60% is black, 40% is white
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In the late 20ths Australia produced full bodied, ripe and fruity wines. In the last 10-20 years styles evolved and diversified. How? Describe Grape growing and wine making.

In viticulture:
  • Site selection
  • Vineyard management
  • Precise harvesting dates


In winemaking, experimentation with:
  • ambient yeasts;
  • skin contact in whites
  • lees contact in whites
  • solids in fermentation in whites
  • whole bunch and stem inclusion in reds
  • adoption of screw caps
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Name the 8 common black grape varieties in Australia?

Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Mouvedre  aka Mataro, Cabernet Franc, Ruby Cabernet
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What is the other name for the grape variety Mataro

Mourvedre. Mataro is used in Australia.
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Semillon produces Australia's most distinctive white wines. What is notable and where is it produced?

  • 3rd white after Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc.
  • Can be used in blendings with the two varieties above.
  • In Hunter Valley: low alcohol, high acidity, unoaked style. Develops great aroma complexity with bottle ageing.
  • Barossa Valley: fuller-bodied, higher alcohol, oak maturation. Not so age worthy.
  • Riverina of New South Wales: Semillon frequently affected by noble rot, making complex sweet wines.
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What is the role of Colombard in Australia?

  • Grown in the hot inland regions of Riverland, Murray Darling and Riverina.
  • Plantings have decreased
  • Used as a neutral cheap blending partner with wide known grape varieties such as Chardonnay, in expensive wines.
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