(Editor’s Note: This is the first of a three-part series that will be running through June 25 here on VinesseTODAY.com. Australia is such a large country, we couldn’t contain all the information in just one or two posts.)
The first settlers in Australia planted vines in 1788. Vines have flourished in five of Australia’s eight states and territories for more than 200 years.
In fact, Australia boasts some of the oldest vines in the world. It is not uncommon to find Shiraz vines, called Syrah in other parts of the world, that are more than a century old. Many are on their original rootstock because Australian vines were not crippled by the phylloxera bug, like those in California and Europe. Also, Australia did not experience Prohibition.
Australia is known for wine technology, and its vintners are proud of that fact. The challenges of the Australia soil and climate have led to innovations that have changed the world of wine.
Technological solutions were developed to solve viticultural problems. Mechanical pruning machines were invented because there weren’t enough people to prune the vines. Australians didn’t invent mechanical harvesters, but they were among the first to accept them.
Australian roto-vat fermenters are now popular in the higher-yielding regions of America.
While technology does play its part, many Australian wineries still hand pick and hand prune their vines. And old-fashioned basket presses that produce concentrated, intense wines are quite common.
(Tomorrow: Trends in Australian wine.)