How to navigate this section
In this section you will find the bulk of the content on this site. Choose an option from the drop-down menu, and you will be taken to a state page (or New Zealand:)). From these pages you will find a menu listing regions in each state. From each of these regional pages, you will find another menu listing the wineries that have been visited and /or reviewed by GENxywines. On each of the winery pages you will find the tasting notes for the wines.
In Australia there are zones that refer to a broad geographical area (for example the Western Victoria Zone) and regions which are the specific wine growing areas within a zone (i.e, the Grampians wine region which lies in the Western Victorian Zone). In some cases there are official sub-regions within a region.
For a long time the boundaries of the regions were informal but with the rise of the Australian premium table wine market they have needed to become more tightly defined. For example there has been huge contention and an eight year legal battle over where the boundaries of the Coonawarra’s famed terra rossa soils end. There is a huge commercial difference between a Coonawarra Region Cabernet and a Limestone Coast Zone Cabernet even if they might be grown a few hundred metres away from each other.
Since the early 1990s the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation has been charged by the Australian parliament with defining and regulating Australia’s 60 or so wine regions into legally binding Geographical Indices (GIs) as part of the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. A wine label that uses a GI defined region (ie Barossa Valley) must have at least 85% of its grapes sourced from that region. More importantly it stops unscrupulous producers from outside the region claiming to have made a Barossa Valley wine when there may only be a 10% Barossa Valley input.
New Zealand has also had a GI Act since 1994 but there has been little interest from producers until quite recently to establish formal GI boundaries for its ten wine regions. Many have been concerned that the establishment of formal boundaries will fragment local wine communities and bury them in legal disputes with neighbours and undermine the spirit of co-operation in that exists amongst many producers in regions. The rapid growth over the last decade of the New Zealand wine industry has led the parliament to recently pass the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006 which may kickstart the next stage of the formalisation process.
Since 2003 New Zealand has also passed a law requiring that a label indicating a wine region must have at least 85% of its fruit sourced from the stated region. The difference between Australia and New Zealand is that the formal boundaries of the regions are still unclear in New Zealand.
The exception is the Marlborough region that has recently registered formal GI boundaries in light of the global prominence of the region.
Australian and New Zealand Wine Regions
This site is dedicated to the wineries and wine regions across Australia and New Zealand. From the baking plains to the north of Perth, to the glacial valleys of Central Otago (the world’s most southerly wine region) to the sub-tropical Blackhall Ranges of the Sunshine Coast hinterland the Australasian wine industry now covers an enormous range of terroir and wine styles.
Australia is now in its fourth century of viticulture which makes it one of the oldest of the New World wine countries. The first vines were planted in 1788 at the site of the current Sydney Opera House when the First Fleet began European occupation. The first vines in New Zealand were planted in 1819 by a missionary, Samuel Marsden on Kerikeri on the sub-tropical Northland above Auckland. Brief outlines of the histories of the New Zealand and various Australian state wine industries are outlined on the introductory pages to each section (go to the drop bar menu).
The international wine world knows about the famous Shiraz from South Australia’s Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, Hunter Valley Semillon (NSW), the great Cabernet from the Margaret River (Western Australia) and Coonawarra (South Australia), the dry limey Rieslings from the Eden Valley and Clare Valley (South Australia), and the Pinot Noir from Wellington and Central Otago (NZ), Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley (Victoria). The average wine consumer in Europe, North America or Asia will also probably find in their budget retail chains a selection of Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) and Shiraz and Chardonnay from Australia’s hot inland irrigation zones – Riverland (SA), Murray-Darling (Vic) and Riverina (NSW).
This part of our site will take you to our outlines of the wineries and our associated wine reviews from all of these regions. But we will also take you much further into most of the seventy or so designated wine regions in Australia and New Zealand, most of which are little known outside of local wine circles. In many cases these regions are producing outstanding wines but don’t have the international profile of Australasia’s most famous dozen wine regions.
Just a brief background on what a region means in the Australasian industry. In Europe there is often what is called an appellation system that goes beyond a geographical boundary. There are strict controls on what varieties can be grown in a region, when to harvest and also a system for ranking the quality of wine depending on which area the grapes are grown. In Australasia the term wine region only regulates geographical borders with the growers free to plant what they want and harvest when they want. The medals awarded through wine show system in Australia and New Zealand and placed on the wine labels are the main mechanism that gives the consumer information about quality of wines from a particular winery. Consumers need to be wary of medals awarded from rigged in-house shows and look for established Royal Shows, regional shows and the big national and international shows.