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How Rare Varietal Wines Are Changing The Australian Wine Industry

Aug 17, 2007
Forward thinking winemakers and grape growers are changing the face of the winemaking industry in Australia by bringing in new varieties of grapes and experimenting with them in new regions. The Australian wine industry has actually exploded onto the international scene in recent years with the success of making quality wines and offering them at very good prices, a feat that has led many to brand the wines down under as being lackluster.

Just as with the original pioneers of Australia, the innovative free spirit of the winemakers is causing a revolution in the country with a large assortment of grape varieties being experimented with.

Although there are well over a hundred varieties of wine grapes grown in Australia, the wine industry leans heavily on the classic varieties which are all of French origin. The whites are Chardonnay, Semillon, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc with the reds being Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz, and Grenache. Another thirty varieties consisting of thirteen whites and seventeen reds also contribute and are considered second tier varietals according to the leading wine journalist-author James Halliday. The other seventy or so varieties are only used by about ten wine producers, but these are also the producers who are pushing the Australian Wine Industry into a new era.

Some of these are exotic grape varieties such as the Graciano from Spain, the Petit Manseng of France, Italy's Lagrein, and the Russian Saperavi. In addition there are also grapes of Australian origin and mutations of others that are being experimented with.

The traditionalist vineyards and winemakers are aghast over the developments of some of these more aggressive winemakers and their use of such a wide assortment of varietals to develop new wines but the fact of the matter is that these new pioneers are introducing new wines that could very well birth the next premium Australian Wine.

These forward thinking winemakers are taking cast off and lesser thought of grapes and blending them into much desired wines. The Viognier variety underwent a similar process in Europe in the 1960s when it was nearly gone with just a few acres in the Rhone Valley and now it is all over France and California as well as being used by over a hundred winemakers in Australia alone.

If you want to take a vacation to Australia and are a wine connoisseur you should consider a vacation in November when the Australian Alternative Wine Varieties Show is held on the banks of the Murray River in Midura. During this event you will find grape growers and winemakers from all over Australia and New Zealand showing and introducing new products with the goal of introducing a growing variety of new wines to the wine loving community.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is a consultant for online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida. Find out about personalized wine bottles at http://www.winebottlespersonalized.com
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