Is Australia in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere?
When does its vineyard cycle (budburst) start and when does it end (harvest)?
Vineyard cycle starts in September/October and harvest is in March/April.
What is the overarching climate of Australia?
Warm to hot
There are zones and sub-zones where the climate can be Maritime, Mediterranean, and Subtropical.
Australia is situated in fairly northern latitudes of the southern hemisphere, making overall conditions in the country's growing regions mostly dry, and quite warm to hot -- like much of California.
With summers being so dry, there can be an increased risk of what?
An increased risk of fires, which can affect the grapes with smoke taint should fires blaze before or around veraison.
Is irrigation allowed in Australia?
Irrigation is essential due to low rainfall.
What are the bodies of water surrounding Australia?
Indian Ocean to the west;
Southern Ocean to the south;
Tasman Sea separating Australia and New Zealand
A region's warmth can be tempered if it is proximal to one of these bodies of water.
What is the hierarchy of Australian wine growing areas (GIs)?
From largest to smallest:
Zones: large areas which can cover a state or several states with similar climatic conditions (e.g. Limestone Coast zone).
Regions: smaller in size than zones, but wines must demonstrate consistent and recognizable traits that differ from nearby regions (e.g. Margaret River, Clare Valley).
Subregions: smallest in size, these areas must have distinct traits and be within one region (e.g. Polish Hill River subregion within Clare Valley).
What is the most planted red grape of Australia?
And the most planted white grape?
Shiraz (most planted of either color)
According to Wine Australia, ~146,000ha in Australia are under vine as of 2019.
Select which style of Shiraz matches with a hotter region and which style matches with a cooler region:
- full bodied and intensely fruity
- lean, peppery
Give an example of a hot region and a cool region.
Hot region: full bodied and intensely fruity
- Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley
Cool region: lean, peppery
- Geelong, Heathcote
What are some broadstroke differences between Australian Cabernet Sauvignon and Australian Shiraz?
Aussie Cabernet is often darker in color with firmer tannin, higher acidity, and blacker fruit characteristics (black currant, black plum, black cherry).
Aussie Shiraz tends to have softer tannin, redder fruits, and peppery notes.
Name 2 classic regions in Australia known for Cabernet Sauvignon.
Margaret River and Coonawarra
The best examples of Australian Pinot Noir come from:
- warm to hot sites
- cool to moderate sites
- northern region
Give an example of an Australian region known for its Pinot Noirs.
Cool to moderate sites
- Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Tasmania
Pinot Noirs from these regions will be medium across the tasting grid: M body, M tannin, M/+ acid
What do some Australians call the Mourvèdre grape?
What sun-loving, late-ripening red grape is well suited for Australia's warmth?
Hint: think Southern Rhône or Priorat.
Describe the differences between everyday Australian Chardonnay and high-quality Australian Chardonnay (where they come from and what style to expect from each).
- blended from various regions
- can be unoaked or oaked (using chips/staves)
- from cool to moderate regions
- well balanced and integrated thanks to thoughtful use of lees aging, malolactic fermentation, and/or barrel maturation
Give two examples of Australian regions known for their high-quality Chardonnays.
Which Australian wine region is known to produce benchmark Sauvignon Blanc?
- passion fruit, high acid
What is the classic Australian region for Semillon?
What is the profile of a classic, young Hunter Valley Semillon?
- Harvested early
- Light body
Low sugar levels
- High acid
- Low alcohol
- Minimum oxygen contact
- Neutral flavors
What is the profile of a classic, young Australian Riesling?
- Very citrusy (especially lime)
- High acid
- Dry to barely off-dry
Classic (and exceptional!) Rieslings are known to be grown in these two South Australian GIs.
Clare Valley and Eden Valley
The South Eastern Australia super-zone covers what areas?
New South Wales
South Eastern Australia covers so much area it's called a 'super zone.'
Wines labeled South East Australia are known to be:
- high volume brands made from blended fruit producing inexpensive wines
- small-production brands made from single-site fruit producing exceptional wines
High volume brands made from blended fruit producing inexpensive wine
Which heavily irrigated, Australian GIs are major sources of grapes for big brands?
Riverina in New South Wales
Riverland in South Australia
Murray-Darling in Victoria
Besides bulk wine, Riverina is well known for making a specialty dessert wine made from this grape.
Semillon affected by Botrytis
What 6 regions in South Australia do you need to know?
South Australia produces approximately how much of Australia's total annual production?:
- very little
- the majority
- all of it
If a wine comes from the Barossa Zone, what appellation does it take?
What are the 2 regions in Barossa Zone?
- Barossa Valley
- Eden Valley
What is the difference between a wine labeled 'Barossa' and 'Barossa Valley'?
If a wine is labeled with its GI as 'Barossa', it means the grapes came from both Barossa Valley and Eden Valley.
If a wine is labeled with its GI as 'Barossa Valley', it means the grapes came just from Barossa Valley.
The heart of fine wine production in South Australia is ___ Valley.
What is the climate of Barossa Valley?
Warm and dry