There’s no denying that Australia is a country that does everything by the extreme. From humid tropics to barren deserts, the large island nation is also home to an abundance of rolling hills and temperate climates; perfect for producing wine.
Believe it or not, Australia is one of the largest wine exporters in the world, with many of its wines ranking amongst the world’s best. Whether you prefer to sit and sip your vino amongst the vines, or dive deep into the world of winemaking, there’s a cellar door to suit! No matter what variety of wine you prefer, there’s something for everyone at these top Australian wine regions.
Winemaking in Australia
Winemaking was first introduced to Australia with the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. Since then, the winemaking industry has exponentially grown, with more than 100 different varieties of grapes across more than 65 wine regions. Home to more than 2500 wineries, you could easily find yourself drinking your way through Australia’s wine regions.
Wine regions near Perth, WA
Best Known For: Premium wines and spectacular scenery
Located in the southwest corner of Western Australia, and about a 3-hour drive from Perth, is Margaret River, Western Australia’s most well known wine region. Despite having a short winemaking history (winemaking in WA only dates back to the late 1960’s), the region has built a reputation as one of the premier provinces for fine wine. In fact, Margaret River is home to more than 200 boutique wine producers, and accounts for roughly 25% of Australia’s premium wines.
Margaret River’s moderate Mediterranean climate (similar to that of Burgundy, France) means that many varieties flourish, however, premium Chardonnay and multi-layered Cabernet Sauvignon are the region’s flagships.
In case the variety of premium wines (with world-class culinary experiences to match) aren’t enough to convince you to visit Margaret River, perhaps the scenery that the area is well known for will. Home to pristine beaches, epic caves, ancient forests and unique plants and wildlife, Margaret River is one of very few global destinations where visitors can enjoy natural beauty alongside world-class food and wine experiences.
Journey along the vineyard-lined roads of Margaret River when you travel with Trafalgar on the A Journey to the West tour.
Wine regions near Adelaide, SA
Best Known For: Bold reds and a rich winemaking history
Steeped in history, if you know about Australian wine, chances are you’re familiar with the Barossa Valley. Located about an hour’s drive north of Adelaide, the Barossa Valley (which is home to more than 150 wineries) was shaped by German settlers in 1842.
The warm climate region of South Australia is most well known for its full-bodied Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon.
With markets and festivals, historic villages and a thriving food scene, the Barossa Valley is a top destination for travellers to Australia.
Visit the rolling hills of the Barossa when you travel with Trafalgar on the Tastes of Southern Australia tour.
Best Known For: World-class riesling and family-run wineries
Located a two-hour drive north of Adelaide, the cool-climate region of Clare Valley is a bit of a hidden gem. Producing top-quality wines including Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley is home to a handful of premium established wineries, as well as many emerging vineyards – it’s a region to watch!
Despite being home to some of the country’s best wineries, Clare Valley has managed to retain its relaxed, rural spirit and offers visitors a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Best Known For: Hearty reds and ocean vistas
Tucked between white-sand beaches and mountain ranges, McLaren Vale (a short 45-minute drive from Adelaide) is the birthplace of wine in South Australia. Established in 1838, today this Australian wine region is home to one of the most progressive and environmentally friendly wine communities in the country.
Home to more than 100 wineries, varieties produced in this warm-climate region are diverse in style and are amongst the best in Australia. Most grapes grown in the area are red, with Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache being amongst the best.
Wine regions near Melbourne, VIC
Best Known For: Cool climate wines on the city’s doorstep
Situated an hour east of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is Victoria’s oldest growing wine region, with the first grapes planted in 1838. Despite dating back more than 170 years, the cool-climate wine region is best known for its revolutionary winemakers.
In an area where historic and contemporary wine meet, the Yarra Valley wineries are known for producing world-class Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, as well as unique varieties, including Nebbiolo and Arneris.
A short drive from Melbourne’s CBD, this Australian wine region is a popular area for locals and visitors alike.
Best Known For: Premium wines and seaside getaways
Just a one hours’ drive south of Melbourne, you’ll find yourself on the doorstep of some of Victoria’s top wineries and restaurants.
Surrounded by three bodies of water, the Mornington Peninsula is a popular destination for weekend getaways, as visitors can enjoy lush coastal views, green pastures and award-winning cellar doors and restaurants.
The cool, coastal location of this Australian wine region makes for a perfect long grape-growing season; perfect for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio/Gris, Shiraz, Tempranillo and Nebbiolo.
Wine regions near Sydney, NSW
Best Known For: Award-winning wineries and food in a historic setting
One of Australia’s best known wine regions, the Hunter Valley is sprawling with award-winning cellar doors, top restaurants and stunning scenery – all just a two-hour drive from Sydney.
Established in the mid-19th century, this Australian wine region is also home to the country’s oldest commercial vineyards.
Famous for its Shiraz and age-worthy Semillon wines, there’s also a growing list of alternative varieties popping up, suited to the warm climate.
RELATED CONTENT: First Time In Sydney? Here’s All You Need To Know…
Wine regions in Tasmania
Best Known For: Premium sparkling varieties and untouched wilderness
Although the island state is home to a variety of subregions, the cool climate is the consistent defining feature of the varieties available here.
South of mainland Australia, Tasmania is home to big, dramatic mountain ranges, national parks and sweeping bays of crystal-clear water. All of which make for a pretty awe-inducing backdrop to some of the country’s best wine, food and cultural experiences.
Throughout the state, there are around 230 vineyards and 95 cellar doors, all producing elegant varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling (all for still and sparkling).
Embark on a culinary adventure of Tasmania and experience the island’s finest local produce, jaw-dropping scenery and spectacular coastline when you travel with Trafalgar on the Tastes of Tasmania tour.
Have you ever explored Australia’s wine regions? Or are you planning to do so in the near future? Let us know in the comments below. You can also find more inspiration on our website for how you can travel to Australia with Trafalgar.