The flavours in Australian wines were a revelation to many: buttery, full, new oaked chardonnay with no hint of austerity; rich, blackcurranty reds, brimming with fruit and with no sign of mouth-puckering tannins.

For many years this was our perception of Australian wine: that it was cheap, reliable and deliciously easy to drink, though hardly the classy stuff of the old world.

Of course there was a lot more to it than that. The adventurous spirit of Australian winemakers has led to new winemaking techniques and philosophies which have spread Australian influence across the globe. Though accounting for only around 2% of world wine production, Australia managed the unthinkable in 2001, for the first time toppling France from the top of the tree in terms of UK wine import value.

Australia, regardless of huge planting programmes, is struggling to keep up with all the demand for its wines. Costs in export markets have crept up substantially given that the late 1990's, and Australian wines start inside the lower-middle degree of pricing rather than being the affordable and cheerful stuff of a decade ago. Australian producers have tended to pay little consideration towards the notion of terroir inside the past, just acquiring the best superior fruit from wherever they could uncover it. Now, leading Australian producers are placing lots a lot more effort into finding grape varieties especially suited to distinct soils, climates and micro-climates. They're mapping out specific 'terroirs' like Coonawarra's well-known Terra Rossa (red earth) as very distinct sub-regions.

The following manual looks at the the key wine-making states, and a few of the key spot within them. As opposed to the majority of France, the picture of who're a regions principal producers is hard to define: a producer may well own vineyards, or get in fruit from several different sources and make wines under many regional names. Penfolds, by way of example, will function Adelaide Hills, Barossa, Clare, Coonawarra and also other regions on its several bottlings.