History of NSW Wine regions

History of NSW Wine regions

Australia’s first vines
Since the first grapevine was planted on the edge of Sydney Harbour in 1788, the New South Wales wine industry has flourished. Today, New South Wales produces world-famous Hunter Semillons, rich ripe reds from Mudgee, delicate cool-climate wines from Australia’s highest vineyards and sweet botrytis-affected wines that are amongst the best in the world.

The diversity of climate and terrain in New South Wales has encouraged new and exciting wine regions to emerge alongside established ones such as the Hunter Valley, Orange and Mudgee.

The spectacular growth of new wine regions is only matched by the enthusiasm of winemakers across the State who are experimenting with lesser known varieties such as Chambourcin, Gewurtztraminer and Chenin Blanc.

The good news for visitors is that the wine regions of New South Wales are surrounded by great natural beauty, a thriving food culture and welcoming country accommodation. There are wine trails taking in boutique wineries as well small wineries offering exquisite wines. Gourmet cooking schools are set amongst pretty vineyards and fine restaurants serve creative, stylish fare with produce sourced locally that is often organic.

Bawley Point in the south 240kms. Featuring a cool maritime climate making the region ideal for the Chambourcin and Verdhelo varieties. Chambourcin, a French hybrid red grape, is particularly well adapted.

The Riverina (Griffith) region has a rich Italian heritage – Italian migrants were prominent in the development of Griffith in the early 1900s with agriculture being a lasting legacy. The region now provides 60% of the State’s grapes and is especially known for its Botrytis (or dessert) affected wines. Some of Australia’s most famous names are featured in the region – De Bortoli, McWilliams and the winner of the 2005 NSW Top 40 wines, Westend Estate with their beautiful shiraz.

Wine trails close to Sydney
The most popular wine region for visitors is also the oldest continuously planted wine region in Australia. Hunter Valley wines are best described as food wines – flavoursome, medium bodied, lower alcohol wines, whose strong regional characteristics are a product of warm and dry growing conditions and rich red soils.

The Upper Hunter features open plains and an abundance of vineyards while the Lower Hunter has over 100 cellar doors, all within a 15 minute drive. It’s here that acclaimed wine brands such as Lindemans, Tyrrells and Wyndham Estate. Visitors to the Hunter Valley can indulge other passions such as golf at championship courses, soothing spa treatments and fine dining.

Mudgee reds are powerful and European in style – the area is famous for its rich, ripe Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Surrounded by hills and vineyards and a beautiful location for wine tasting, Mudgee is also home to a thriving food scene with organic food markets and gourmet trails.

One of the prettiest towns in NSW, famous for its lovely parks and gardens, Orange has an international reputation for its cold climate varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Merlot grapes excel in the region, producing blackish red wines with a bouquet and palate that is easily recognised and distinctive of the area.

Wine growing began in the Hawkesbury Nepean region in the early 1800s and today there are 35 small vineyards planted. The best varieties are Chardonnay, Semillon, and the French variety, Chambourcin. This delightful semi-rural area is the perfect place for a scenic day trip from Sydney and just over an hours drive.

The Southern Highlands, a delightful short break from Sydney, is a newcomer in wine terms with the first vines being planted in the 1970s. The area thrives on delicate, fresh white wines such as Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, both regarded as ‘wines of the moment’ with Pinot Gris arguably the world’s most popular white variety.

The Shoalhaven Coast is located via the Princes Highway, Berry in the north is 130km south of Sydney, with Termeil and Bawley Point in the south 240kms. Featuring a cool maritime climate making the region ideal for the Chambourcin and Verdhelo varieties. Chambourcin, a French hybrid red grape, is particularly well adapted.

Major white wines produced in the “Shoalhaven Coast” wine region include:- Chardonnay, Verdelho, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, while the reds encompass Chambourcin, Shiraz, Cabernet, Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot. Many are winning medals at major wine shows.

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