When it comes to Australia’s best wine producing regions, Western Australia’s Margaret River or South Australia’s Barossa Valley may come to mind. However Australia has more than 60 designated wine regions across the country and many regions on the East coast have also developed a worldwide reputation for award-winning wine.
So while the largest wine production region is South Australia, and Western Australia receives similar fame, don’t discount wine regions along the East Coast. Remember these names!
Australian Wine Producing Regions Along the East Coast
The Yarra Valley is known for it’s flagship chardonnay, pinot noir and sparkling wines, as well as its cellar doors and delicious local produce. Less than an hour drive from Melbourne, it’s a popular destination among locals for a weekend break, offering vineyards, fine dining, and luxury day spas.
Dating back to 1838, this is Victoria’s oldest wine region, though it is also known for its local breweries and artisan cider producers. Before you start on the trail, get up early for a one hour hot air balloon ride. Departing at sunrise, this offers a stunning view of the valley, and afterwards, guests are served a champagne breakfast at Balgownie Estate.
There is no public transport to the Yarra Valley, so the best way to get there is on an organised tour or by hire car.
Tasmania is one of the country’s fastest growing wine regions. Its unique cool climate is similar to those of famous grown European grapes, and the State produces exceptional Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sparkling wines.
Most of the vineyards in Tasmania are located around Launceston and on the east coast, and one of Australia’s greatest road trips, the Great Eastern Drive, will take you along the path of the East Coast Wine Trail.
This leads straight to the coast’s outstanding cellar doors, and it’s here that you’ll find tastings and wine sales, as well as a number of east coast restaurants who showcase the finest vintages.
Two hours drive north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine growing region. With more than 120 wineries, gourmet restaurants, and spa retreats on offer, a popular way to explore is to hire a car from the city, or, if you don’t want to fight over who’s playing designated driver, you can join a tour to visit several wineries in a day.
This region is known for putting on a diverse calendar of festivals and events, including concerts in the vineyards, jazz in the vines, and progressive-style dining events which wind through several of the wineries and restaurants.
Semillon is widely considered the iconic wine of the region but the Hunter also produces Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Verdelho, as well as popular hybrids like Chambourcin.
NSW South Coast
There are 14 wine regions in NSW, with diverse climates and growing environments and a range of grape varieties. The South Coast includes two regions; Shoalhaven and the Southern Highlands.
The Southern Highlands’ wine scene is home to more than 60 vineyards specialising in pinot noir and pinot gris. This spans over the towns of Exeter, Moss Vale, Sutton Forrest, Bowral, Berrima and Mittagong.
The area also cultivates impressive cool-climate chardonnay, merlot, riesling, sauvignon blanc and shiraz, as well as award-winning sparkling wines.
The Shoalhaven Coast region stretches from Kiama in the North to Durras in the South, and west to Kangaroo Valley. It produces a wide range of varieties including Chardonnay, Verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chambourcin, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
This region is also highly acclaimed for its produce markets, fresh seafood, and as the gateway to Australia’s Oyster Coast (taste freshly shucked local oysters).
Queensland isn’t a heavy weight when it comes to Australian wine tourism, however its wineries at South Burnett and Granite Belt have won a string of awards at State and National shows, and are served in many leading restaurants throughout the State.
The South Burnett wine region is Queensland’s largest, located 200km north-west of Brisbane, and home to the States largest vineyard, Clovely Estate.
There are 25 vineyards in the region, and while barely more than a decade old, excellent results from young vines have seen the production of award winning white wines. Varieties grown include Chardonnay, semillon, shiraz, merlot, cabernet, verdelho and some Italian varieties.
Granite Belt wine country saw its first grapes planted in 1965, and since then Shiraz has outshone all other varieties (with the possible exception of Semillon).
This region offers a smorgasbord of cellar doors, distilleries and orchards in what is considered to be Queensland’s premier food and wine region. It is only three hours drive from either Brisbane or the Gold Coast.
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