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Australia’s wine industry has boomed in the past ten years. Employers have had to triple their staff numbers to cope with the demand for Aussie wine. Considering the lower average national population of Australia, compared to say the United States or even South Africa, 30,000 (2001) workers is pretty high.
One of the main reasons for the demand on this skillful industry is that it has won an international reputation for quality and value. Australian wines have won many highly sought after international awards and labels and many innovative Australian winemakers are sought internationally for their winemaking expertise.
Wine regions throughout Australia have continually had high ratings especially over the past four years. Most of these regions and especially the East and South coasts (New South Wales and Victoria) are averaging 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. Second to the brilliant winemakers, and a close second, is the great climates / weather that certain regions have for cultivating vines.
Wine is very much a part of the Australian way of life, closely associated with both business and leisure. Wine consumption is often linked to the country's outdoor-oriented lifestyle as well as to the cosmopolitan urban way of life of the bulk of the Australian population.
Australia exports more wine than that that is sold domestically. Out of a total of approximately 919 million litres bottled, 516.5 million litres is exported. The largest export market has been the United Kingdom and second has been the United States.
Researchers from the University College London have come up with a few very interesting facts. They found that drinking alcohol (including wine), even in small amounts, might be associated with higher cognitive ability, especially for women. You would be silly not to have a drop every night! I think Aussie are reasonably bright, it must be all the great wine they produce.
Chris Burd Website: http://www.wineography.com
The Jacobs Creek Brand of wines has taken the world by storm. And so they should. They are excellent Australian wines, which are consistently good. They have clearly won the battle for everyday wines at their particular price range.
But they are a made from classical French grape varieties, Chardonnay, Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. As such they represent the successes of Australian winemaking in the 1980s and 1990s.
What will be the wines of the new century? As the wine boom of the 1990s in Australia unfolded, a quiet revolution was taking place. The area planted to grapes expanded rapidly to underpin massive increases in production and exports of Australian wine. But a large number of vignerons and winemakers were also planting alternative grape varieties.
The profile of the Australian wine scene has changed as dramatically as the scale of production. During 2003 a new winery was opened in Australia every day. About half of these new enterprises were growing or using varieties other than the classics mentioned above.
As well as the less common French varieties, growers and winemakers have been pioneering with Italian varieties such as Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Arneis. We have also the Spanish stalwart Tempranillo being increasingly favored. Even the Russian red grape variety Saperavi is being used. There are probably one hundred wine grape varieties now being produced for commercial wine production. These new varieties are being planted in traditional areas as well as in new wine regions.
Australia, like other new world wine producers is less inhibited to the strong ties of tradition that permeate the European wine industry. Since the start of the 1990s a strong predisposition for experimentation has permeated the wine industry. Australian wine consumers are now adopting this ethic.
It is safe to say that Chardonnay and Shiraz will continue to dominate wine production in Australia for many years to come. But consumers will have a much wider choice, and they are willing to be just a little adventurous. You can follow the rapidly evolving Australian wine scene at http://www.vinodiversity.com
Darby Higgs is a wine writer and founder of Vinodiversity, a wine information site dealing with wines made from unusual grape varieties in Australia. http://www.vinodiversity.com.