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An Introduction
A Brief History of Australian Wines
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Wine Events In Other Places

An Introduction

When many wine neophytes think of Australia they don't think of wine. But as any Australian or true wine expert will tell you, Australia is now one of the great wine growing countries of the globe. In the past 40 years, Australians have gone from consuming on average only one glass per person per year to two cases of wine per person per year. The number of vineyards has skyrocketed from six companies to 109 local wineries.

Currently, the wine industry employs 16 000 people with a further 5000 in wholesaling and 8000 in retailing. The industry generated retail sales of more than 354 million litres in the twelve months prior to August 1999. And in 1999, Australia exported 250 million litres of wine worth over $1.2 billion. In fact, from 1997 to 1999 wine exports grew 22% in value and 12% in volume.

This sheer increase in volume, value and the exceedingly high quality of Australian wine has led many experts to conclude that in the 21st century Australia will be one of the two great wine producers of the world.

Of course, this raise a big question. Why don't you have a glass of Australian wine in your hand right now? You can. Just check out our list of distributors and retailors of Australian & New Zealand wines.

But before you run out and grab a bottle, how about a little bit of something to wet your appetite.

A Brief History of Australian Wine

Most people think Australia is a newcomer to wine making. Nothing could be further from the truth. The first settlers planted vines in 1788. For over 200 years there have been vineyards and vintages from Australia. And because of Australia's wonderful climate and good sense not to impose a silly experiment called "Prohibition" on an unwilling populace, Australia boasts some of the oldest vines in the world. Some wineries have Shiraz vines over 100 years old.

Australia even began exporting its wines to the world early on. In 1822 the first shipments of Australian wine were shipped by Gregory Blaxland from near Sydney to London. The incredible quality of the wine was already evident then. In 1823, that wine won a silver medal from what would become the Royal Society of Arts.

But the industry began to truly take off during the reign of Queen Victoria. It began in the south near Melbourne in the 1840s. Production expanded in 1851 with the discovery of gold.

Western Australia, Tasmania & Queensland have their own traditions of excellence that date to this period as well. Fast forwarding a bit, there are now wineries in every state but the Northern Territories.

Wine Links

Wine Events In Other Places

Click here: WineToday - Events - G'Day in a Glass - San Francisco, CA

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