Looking for an easy and delicious way to explore Australia? May I suggest getting a wine glass, reading my notes, and discovering the wonders of Australia by sipping a few of its wines. Wines by Design Australia is the smallest continent, but the sixth-largest country, slightly smaller than the continental USA. It features snowcapped mountains, arid deserts, sandy beaches, and rainforests \u2013 with only a fraction of land suitable for wineries. Most of the wine-growing areas are located on the southern edge of the continent. There are a few coastal areas in this region that are suited for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Other regions, further inland, are perfect for Shiraz. The rainy region located near the Adelaide Hills is noted for Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The further inland area of Barossa Valley produces Shiraz from it nutrient and water-deficient rocky soils. Important to Economy Some people are unaware that Australia has developed a wine industry that successfully competes internationally. As of 2019, the country had 146,128 ha under vine, of which Shiraz controlled 39,893 ha (30 percent) and Chardonnay, the largest white variety, with 21,442 ha (16 percent) of the market. There are approximately 2468 wineries and 6251 grape growers employing 172,736 full and part-time employees across 65 wine growing regions, contributing over $40 billion annually to the Australian economy. The Australian wine industry is the world\u2019s fifth-largest exporter of wine \u2013 sending approximately 780 million liters a year to other countries with most being consumed in New Zealand, France, Italy and Spain; approximately 40 percent of production is consumed domestically. Australians drink over 530 liters annually with per capita consumption of 30 liters (50 percent white table wine, 35 percent red table wine). Wineries Start, Stop and Start Again In the 18th century, vine cuttings arrived in Australia thanks to the effort of Governor Arthur Phillip (1788) who brought them to the penal colony from the Cape of Good Hope. The first attempts of winemaking failed but finally, the settlers figured out their mistakes (an important consideration was location), and wine became available for sale in the 1820s. The first winery was established in 1828 (Wyndham Estate) and is the birthplace for Australian Shiraz. Gregory Blaxand was the first to export Australian wine and the first winemaker to win the silver medal of the Royal Society of Arts (1823) in London. The importance of wine to the Australian economy continued to expand and in 1830, vineyards were established in Hunter Valley. In 1833 James Busby, regarded as the father of the Australian wine industry, brought back a selection of grape varieties including classic French grapes and grapes for fortified wine production after visiting Spain and France. John Barton Hack developed a vineyard in Echunga Springs, near Mount Barker, and in 1843 sent a case of his wine to Queen Victoria, the first gift of Australian wine to an English monarch. As more European settlers arrived the wines improved. Emigrants from Prussia (the mid-1850s) established the South Australian Barossa Valley winemaking region while winemakers from Switzerland established the Geelong wine region in Victoria (1842). READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT WINES.TRAVEL.