Australia spent millions of dollars on building a brand around Shiraz –Australia’s word for Syrah. The marketing paved the way for Australia wine production to triple since 1990. However, despite the success, Australian wines have suffered some serious drawbacks in the media. Wine critics often disregard most Aussie wine as “Critter Wines” –referring to the cute animal designs that adorn wine labels.
It’s time to dig deeper than the bottom shelf at the grocery store and discover what’s happening in Australia’s wine regions. There’s more to Australian wine than Yellow Tail and Little Penguin.

Australia Wine Regions Map

What is Australia Known For?

As you might guess, Australia’s main vineyard produce is Shiraz, followed by Chardonnay. The two varieties make up 44% of the total wine production.

What the production totals don’t say is that Australia is trying to diversify. Growers are replacing many of the Chardonnay and Shiraz plantings in favor of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Where is Australian Wine Country?

The largest wine production region by far is South Australia. One major city in South Australia is home to the Australian Wine Research Institute . AWRI is responsible for much of the world’s research on dry farming techniques and commercial wine operations. Besides South Australia, keep your eyes peeled for the two up-and-coming wine regions: Western Australia and Victoria.

Top Australia Wine Regions

The three major wine regions in Australia by sheer volume are South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria.

South Australia and New South Wales are known for their warmer climate varieties such as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, whereas Victoria is known for cool climate-loving Pinot Noir.

South Australia

Adelaide is the hub of the largest wine-growing region in Australia. A few miles from Adelaide (the largest city in SA) is Barossa Valley, South Australia’s most prestigious growing area. It’s interesting to note that most of the wine from the area is grown in Lower Murray and Fleurieu (see the geeky list of Geographic Indications below)

Welcome to Barossa Valley… good luck finding a road sign.

Barossa Valley–oldest living vineyards in the world?! 45 minutes from Adelaide are the rolling hills of Barossa Valley. The region is unique because of its isolation from the rest of the world. Phylloxera hasn’t yet infected vineyard soils in Barossa, which means it’s home to some of the oldest living vineyards in the world.

Drinking some serious Barossa juice with Fraser Mckinley, the winemaker of Massena and Standish Wine Company.

What to seek out from South Australia Old Vine Shiraz is top-notch, it’s both smoky and rich with spice. Famous producers in the area include Penfolds, Elderton, and Rockford. Keep your eyes peeled for red blends called GSM: Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre –The major blending grapes used in French Southern Rhone wines.

The view from Paulett’s Winery looking into Clare Valley.

Two famous regions for white wine flank Barossa Valley. Clare Valley produces some of the richest Riesling in Australia, and Eden Valley is known for its very minerally and dry Rieslings.

South Australia in Focus

Check out the expert’s guide to South Australia – especially if you plan on going on a winecation.

New South Wales

The major production in New South Wales comes from the inland Big Rivers Zone. This area has historically produced much of the commercial Chardonnay and Shiraz from Australia. However, because of severe drought in recent years, more wine grape growers are experimenting with drought-friendly varieties like Tempranillo and Verdelho.


Commercial winemaking in North West Victoria makes up the majority of wine production in the entire region. However, the growing areas of interest are cooler and closer to Melbourne, such as Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. The cool climate areas in Victoria have received a lot of praise for their Pinot Noir.

Up-and-Coming Victoria Wines

Check out the expert’s guide to Victoria – especially if you’re keen on cool-climate wines.

A hot day in November in the middle of nowhere South Australia

The Great Big List of Australian Wine Regions

South Australia

Zone Geographic Indication (GI)
Barossa Barossa Eden Valley
Mount Lofty Ranges Adelaide Hills Adelaide Plains
Clare Valley
Fleurieu McLaren Vale Southern Fleurieu
Kangaroo Island
Currency Creek
Langhorne Creek
Limestone Coast Coonawarra Mount Benson
Mount Gambier
Lower Murray Riverland
Far North Southern Flinders Ranges

New South Wales

Zone Geographic Indication (GI)
Big Rivers Murray Darling Riverina
Swan Hill
Hunter Valley Hunter
Central Ranges Mudgee Orange
Northern Rivers Hastings River
South Coast Shoalhaven Coast Southern Highlands
Southern NSW Canberra District Hilltops


Zone Geographic Indication (GI)
Port Phillip Mornington Peninsula Geelong
Yarra Valley
Macedon Ranges
NW Victoria Murray Darling Swam Hill
Central Victoria Goulburn Valley Strathbogie Ranges
Upper Goulburn
Western Victoria Henty Grampians
NE Victoria Glenrowan King Valley
Alpine Valleys

Western Australia

Zone Geographic Indication (GI)
SW Australia Margaret River Geographe
Great Southern
Blackwood Valley
Greater Perth Peel Perth Hills
Swan District


Granite Belt and South Burnett


Tasmania has a Southeastern growing area and a Northern growing area both under the Tasmania GI