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What does Europe know about making good wine?

Australians are now teaching Europeans how to make wine.

For centuries, the world has considered Europe to be the centre of the wine-making world. Where the best and, for some, the only good wine is produced. France is the most famous of all the wine-producing countries, and some would even suggest that there is no reason to look elsewhere, no matter what type of wine appeals to you.

But times have changed. Australia has been producing truly world-class wine for decades now. There may not be centuries of tradition and dusty labels telling of generations and generations who have worked the land to produce the finest Bordeaux or Burgundy. But Australians don’t care. And, so it seems, neither do the wine lovers of the world.

Australian wine is now the most popular in the UK and the second most popular in the USA. The total export value is now about $3 billion and new markets, including China, are being cracked all the time.

The history of wine-making in Australia is all about taking the best grapes and centuries of wine-making know-how and combining it with great conditions (Australia has every time of climate for wine production) and adding a modern twist. The techniques have changed. The wines are bigger, bolder and less worried about what’s expected of them. The Australian wine industry is not only producing styles of wine – like big flavoured Chardonnay and Shiraz – that make perfect everyday drinking, but it’s also marketing it better than anywhere else. Just look at the labels: they are cool, diverse, and alluring. Not old-fashioned, stuck in the past. And that may upset the traditionalists, but they’re a dying breed. Young people, new markets…they want accessible wine that is keenly priced and genuinely tastes good. No pretensions. Just good wine at a competitive price. And now, to top it off, there are Australian wine experts working in France and helping the wineries modernize and adapt their methods to the brave new world of wine.

The following map shows Australia’s main wine regions: