Barossa Valley, Margaret River, Yarra Valley… unsurprisingly, these acclaimed regions spring to top of mind when we think of Australia’s best wine regions. But attention must be paid to these five wine regions that have proven themselves with sustainability, dedication to quality excellence, and offering unparalleled wine experiences.
Granite Belt (QLD)
Sitting on high at 1000 metre elevation in the Darling Downs region of Queensland, the Granite Belt operates at a pace of its own. Welcome to the home of the ‘Strange Birds,’ alternative wines that represent less than 1% of Australia’s vines. You might not have heard of Petit Manseng or Sagrantino, but you’ll be glad to have tasted them. Dozens of these alternative varieties are available at the cellar doors of the Granite Belt, as are many other classic varieties that visitors find more familiar.
King Valley (VIC)
If a bottle of bubbles tickles your fancy, King Valley is where you belong. Located in Victoria’s High Country, King Valley’s on Prosecco Road takes visitors on a wine trail unlike any other. Five prosecco producers open their doors for tastings, as well as delicious dishes that complement completely. Besides these wineries, the many others in the region share a passion for Mediterranean-inspired wines as they produce tempranillo barbera, pinot grigio, and more.
At 1200 metres above sea level, Orange ranks #1 for highest wine region in Australia. What that elevation lends to the grapes is a bounty: cool weather that allows grapes to retain their flavour paired with the right amount of sunlight to ripen perfectly. Orange is best known for its grape varieties that thrive in cool climates, such as cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and shiraz.
Swan Valley (WA)
The history of this region is as rich as the wine it produces. Nearly 200 years ago, as the early settlements in Guildford started, the grape industry began; this is the real first wine region in WA. Ever since then, Swan Valley has been producing wine, cider, and distilled spirits. Today, 40 world-class wineries operate here, a mere half hour from Perth CBD and three hours from the Margaret River region.
Not far from King Valley lies Rutherglen. This small region packs a punch with many accolades to its name -- not the least of which is its 20 award-winning wineries. Rutherglen is famous for muscat, a fortified wine that’s known to brighten cocktails. The muscat from this region is exclusively made from Petis Grains Rouge, or ‘Rutherglan Brown Muscat’ to locals. Rutherglen’s offerings go beyond muscat to provide visitors with cellar doors, vineyard accommodation, and a host of sumptuous meals at many restaurants.