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Though Australia lacks the history and tradition of other top wine-producing countries like France and Italy, it has definitely made its mark on the international wine market in recent years. During the 1990s, winemaking and wine exports boomed in Australia. Though the market has come back to earth a bit in recent years, Australia is still the fourth-largest exporter of wine in the world.
When casual wine drinkers think of Australian wine, they probably think of the critter-laden labels of Yellow Tail and The Little Penguin, among others. And while large wine companies dominate the Australian list, there are also a great number of smaller producers creating highly-rated, award-winning wines.
The majority of Australian wine is produced in South Australia, with most of that (those “critter wines”) carrying a South Eastern Australia appellation. Subregions such as Barossa Valley, Coonawarra and McLaren Vale are home to smaller producers and higher quality wines. Victoria and New South Wales are also significant regions, and wines from Western Australia are reaching America in increasing numbers. Though Shiraz is the grape most associated with Australia, they’ve also had great success with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling and Grenache.