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The Wine Map of Australia
by Max Allen
This map charts the diverse combinations of climate, country and culture that make each wine unique, with wine region boundaries clearly marked.

We've seriously been looking for a map like this since we started our Road to Vino adventure! Absolutely awesome. The Qwoff Boys

Large format - available folded, laminated or rolled from australianwinemaps.com

Visualise your business…

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TASMANIA - WINE & GASTRONOMY MAP with Breweries & Distilleries, is a gastronomer's delight: evocative descriptions of Tasmania's wine regions by Hobart wine & food writer Graeme Phillips; precise plotting of 250 vineyards on topographic background; climatic, touring & cellar door info; vintage charts & history. Double-sided. Over 1m x 700mm. A steal at $14.95. Info & orders from vWMaps at australianwinemaps.com


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WINE REGIONS

Regionality is the grammar of wine
"There is general agreement that one of the things Australia must do urgently is communicate its regional distinctiveness to the world. As my colleague Robert Joseph says, “regionality is the grammar of wine”. If you want to be taken seriously in the world of wine, you have to offer terroir... Regionality also conveys a competitive advantage because, unlike branding or viticulture techniques, it can’t be copied; if a wine has true terroir, it tastes of one place only"
– Felicity Carter, in an address to Wine Communicators of Australia (WCA) - July 2009

VineFinders’ databases provide…
- maps of 85 wine regions which can you can zoom & pan with over 5,400 vineyards, wineries and cellar door precisely plotted
- searchable by name, region, township, location, grape variety, facilities offered (cellar door, winery, accommodation, food) and...
- delivering each location accurate to 4m, with address and contact details and turn-by-turn directions to the road entrance from anywhere in the country.

We update, amend, extend and delete information on a daily basis, but did this summary of listings in regions (alphabetically by state) on 7 September 2009:

WESTERN AUSTRALIA WINE REGIONS
VineFinders has used 12 wine regions to display 689 Western Australian vineyards, cellar doors, wineries & breweries, with address & contact details, opening hours, grape varieties and facilities HERE…

Blackwood Valley – 30 locations
Central Western Australia – 12 locations
Esperance – 2 locations
Geographe – 65 locations
Great Southern* – over 120 locations
Manjimup – 22 locations
Margaret River – over 235 locations
Peel – over 25 locations
Pemberton – 40 locations
Perth – 16 locations
Perth Hills – 58 locations
Swan District – 84 locations

* the Great Southern Wine Region includes the following sub-regions: Frankland River, Denmark, Mount Barker, Porongorup & Albany

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN WINE REGIONS
VineFinders has used 17 wine regions to display 964 South Australian vineyards, cellar doors, wineries & breweries, with address & contact details, opening hours, grape varieties and facilities HERE…

Adelaide Hills – 210 locations
Adelaide Plains – 15 locations
Adelaide Zone – 29 locations
Barossa Valley – 140 locations
Clare Valley – 87 locations
Coonawarra – 58 locations
Eden Valley – 46 locations
Eyre & Yorke Peninsula – 4 locations
Flinders Ranges – 15 locations
Kangaroo Island – 29 locations
Langhorne Creek – over 50 locations
Limestone Coast* – 58 locations
McLaren Vale – 156 locations
Padthaway & Tatiara – 20 locations
Riverland – 52 locations
Southern Fleurieu & Currency Creek – 33 locations
Wrattonbully – 29 locations

* the 58 Limestone Coast locations are those in the Limestone Coast Zone that are outside the regions of Coonawarra, Padthaway & Wrattonbully

VICTORIAN WINE REGIONS
VineFinders has used 24 wine regions to display 1903 Victorian vineyards, cellar doors, wineries & breweries, with address & contact details, opening hours, grape varieties and facilities HERE…

Alpine Valleys – 53 locations
Ballarat – 34 locations
Beechworth – 27 locations
Bendigo – 168 locations
Central Western Victoria – 7 locations
Geelong District – 107 locations
Gippsland – 103 locations
Goulburn Valley & Nagambie Lakes – 66 locations
Grampians & Great Western – 43 locations
Heathcote – 125 locations
Henty & Far South Coast – 23 locations
King Valley – 83 locations
Macedon Rangess – 150 locations
Melbourne & SE Suburbs – 31 locations
Mildura (Murray River) – 59 locations
Mornington Peninsula – 196 locations
NE Vic (Glenrowan & Rutherglen) – 61 locations
Otway Ranges – 14 locations
Pyrenees Ranges – 65 locations
Strathbogie Ranges – 63 locations
Sunbury – 31 locations
Swan Hill (Victorian side) – 28 locations
Victorian High Plains (Upper Goulburn Region) – 68 locations
Yarra Valley – 298 locations

TASMANIAN WINE REGIONS
VineFinders has used 7 bio-regions to display 352 Tasmanian vineyards, cellar doors, wineries & breweries, with address & contact details, opening hours, grape varieties and facilities HERE…

Coal River Valley – 86 locations
Derwent Valley – 39 locations
East Coast – 33 locations
Huon & Channel – 58 locations
North-East Tas (inc. Pipers River) – 28 locations
North-West Tasmania – 26 locations
Tamar Valley – 82 locations

NEW SOUTH WALES & ACT WINE REGIONS

VineFinders has used 19 wine regions to display 995 NSW vineyards, cellar doors, wineries & breweries, with address & contact details, opening hours, grape varieties and facilities HERE…

Bathurst – 14 locations
Canberra Region – 69 locations
Cowra – 29 locations
Gundagai – 27 locations
Hilltops – 45 locations
Hunter Valley – 301 locations
Mudgee – 104 locations
Murray Darling – 12 locations
New England – 48 locations
North Coast & Northern Rivers – 23 locations
Orange – 62 locations
Perricoota – 32 locations
Riverina – 53 locations
Shoalhaven & South Coast – 30 locations
Southern Highlands – 40 locations
Swan Hill (NSW side) – 5 locations
Sydney & Central Coast – 56 locations
Tumbarumba – 21 locations
Western Plains (inc Dubbo, Coonabarabran, Narrabri) – 24 locations

QUEENSLAND WINE REGIONS
VineFinders has used 5 wine regions to display 191 Queensland vineyards, cellar doors, wineries & breweries, with address & contact details, opening hours, grape varieties and facilities HERE…

Central & North Qld – 34 locations
Coastal Hinterland, Scenic Rim & Brisbane – 60 locations
Darling Downs – 12 locations
Granite Belt – 70 locations
South Burnett – 15 locations

NORTHERN TERRITORY REGION
VineFinders displays 2 Northern Territory locations: a vineyard, cellar door and winery north of Alice Springs & a Mango winery in suburban Darwin HERE…

and awaits the opening of a boutique brewery that has planning approval in Darwin.


GI ZONES, REGIONS & SUB-REGIONS

Australia has an officially-sanctioned confusion of geographically-indicated (“GI”) Zones, Regions and Sub-regions. It’s detailed by the administrators, the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation (AWBC) – and attempts to give integrity to regional names in wine labelling, and to enhance consumer understanding. To summarise very briefly:

OFFICIAL GI ZONES

  • A zone is an area of land, without any particular qualifying attributes.

31 Zones cover the whole country, generally with contiguous boundaries (that is, they but up against one another). Exception has been made for some “commercial” and multi-regional wines – for example, the zone “South Eastern Australia” incorporates the whole of the states of NSW, Vic. and Tas. and only part of Qld and SA. Few pay serious attention to these zones except where – as for Tasmania and Gippsland – a complete Zone is more popularly referred to as a Region.

OFFICIAL GI REGIONS

  • A region must be a single tract of land, comprising at least five independently owned wine grape vineyards of at least five hectares each and usually produce five hundred tonnes of wine grapes in a year. A region is required to be measurably discrete from adjoining regions and have measurable homogeneity in grape growing attributes over its area.

64 Regions include most but not all popularly recognised wine regions, including some obscure regions. No regions overlap, and many vineyards are not represented by any region. Queensland and Tasmanian vineyards have no official region (their Zones are sometimes called regions, and sometimes are broken unofficially into smaller “Regions”) – the same applies to Gippsland. Emerging “wine regions” such as Ballarat and Bathurst have yet to gain the critical mass to go to the incredible expense of becoming an official GI Region. So while “Wine Regions” are the popular geographic breakdown, the whole classification is complicated.

OFFICIAL GI SUB-REGIONS

  • A sub-region also must be a single tract of land, comprising at least five independently owned wine grape vineyards of at least five hectares each and usually produce five hundred tonnes of wine grapes in a year. However, a sub-region is required to be substantially discrete within the region and have substantial homogeneity in grape growing attributes over the area.

12 Sub-regions (a discrete part of a single region) have been gazetted, while the hundred or more others have not attempted expensive and time-consuming gazettal, usually to provide a marketing advantage for its perceived superior reputation.

MAPPING OFFICIAL GI REGIONS

The official GI Regions are in the coloured areas shown below. As explained above, prime vineyard areas including Tasmania, Gippsland, Ballarat & Bathurst are not part of any of the 64 regions, and hence are not coloured.

HOW HAS VINEFINDERS DISPLAYED ALL THIS?

To say it was easy is a lie. Where do you start in attempting to provide a fair geographical classification of Australian vineyards? We set these objectives:

a. to be inclusive, so that every vineyard we know of in Oz, would be displayed on a regional view through our search engine
b. that there would be just one set of geographical divisions with no over-lapping between them
c. to maximise the display of recognised/known and popularly accepted regions, and
d. to provide maximum resolution (ie largest scale possible) while avoiding too many small maps.

You will see we carefully skirted the key question of terroir, as we can’t afford the legal fees defending ourselves from irate vignerons! Of course we have opinions… Similarly, we avoided accepted notions of tourism regions, touring routes etc. – we tried to be practical and, in an attempt to be understood we substituted some official names (such as Upper Goulburn region) for a more descriptive, less-confusing alternative (Victorian High Plains).

We ended up with 85 regions! You may view each one, with vineyard locations precisely on the searchable regionalised map engine usually accessed from our Home page.

OK, that’s far too many, and there are many compromises. As a rough guide we adopted most of the official GI Regions, added a couple of Zones which weren’t represented in regions, and divided Queensland into 5 regions, and Tasmania into 7 (Yes, it could be argued that the 333 Tas locations could have been one region, but we had some special knowledge of the state, and it would have been our biggest region!)

The Northern Territory has just 2 records mapped, while the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and the Barossa (separate from the Eden Valley) have around 200 locations, while the Hunter has over 300 – and hence it takes a little longer to download and appear on your screen!

Wine Regions Table - this spreadsheet illustrates how we have dealt with the varying demands of regionality, terroir, compactness and mapability.

WHAT IS "cool climate"; WHAT IS NOT COOL?

In July, wine industry analyst Tony Keys began a debate around the claims by regions to cool climate and quality. Under a heading "Friendly opinion" (The Key Report - 5 August 2010) excerpts were printed. Her is the whole article…

"Cool climate" has become one of the holiest of the holier-than-thou mantras, and at least as many claimants that should be defrocked as there are Catholic priests!

The AWBC says "the cooler climate areas are all regions except the three warm inland areas (Riverland, Riverina and Murray Darling-Swan Hill)".
And this from an organisation that is not just responsible for representing the diversity of the Australian wine industry, but is charged with the  marketing of the diversity of the industry to the world... it defies rational description.
One could be forgiven for believing the AWBC was totally in the thrall of those who believe that "wine is sunshine in a bottle" - a slogan that is front and centre of the display established by the AWBC in the Adelaide's National Wine Museum. The simplicity of that concept strips wine of any depth of flavour, complexity, elegance, or mystique. It typecasts Australian wine as "cheap and cheerful" and, however well-meaning, is  more damaging than the Lara Bingle "where the bloody hell are you?" campaign has proved in overseas markets!

CSIRO reported earlier this month that SA and Vic grapes are ripening 23 days earlier on average than seven decades ago, leading to much higher alcohol levels. The ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) phenomenon has been put down to big alcoholic over-oaked examples but, given the diversity of Chardonnays in Australia, perhaps ABC better means "A Big Country". Few can doubt that the wine industry is moving south faster than the "great man" James Halliday can say Coldstream Hills. Witness the growth of WA's Great Southern vs the Swan Valley, the Canberra District vs the Hunter, and the growth of unrecognised wine regions such as Ballarat and Bathurst, which do not even have geographically-indicated (GI) region status. But then neither do Gippsland or Tasmania, which are merely Zones and not Regions is the mish-mash confusion of overlapping Zones and Regions - which have numerous climatic anomalies within and beside each other. But back to defining "cool climate".

The International Cool Climate Wine Show (ICCWS) - sponsored by the Mornington Peninsula shire - has a more sophisticated definition based on any one of three parameters:
a. a latitude south of 37.5 deg South
b. an altitude higher than 800m
c. a Mean January Temperature (MJT) lower than 19 degC.
Viticulturists will debate the merits of the MJT and whether it would be better to include measurements such as daylight hours, degree days C, night temperatures, even winter temperatures, and pollution levels - certainly there is a plethora of factors which determine regional micro-climates.

The International Cool Climate Wine Symposium (will it also be ICCWS?) - to be held in Tasmania in 2012 - is now the subject of "sour grapes" coming from your anonymous correspondent. What right do they have to host it (other than having just "won" it by their presentation in Seattle)?
Tasmanian Julian Alcorso retorted that "altitude is NO substitute for latitude". This is confirmed by Dr Richard Smart's recent research at Tamar Ridge highlighting the importance of UV light for wine quality.

Squabbles between regions, whether over representation of NSW wine amongst regional representatives, or of where symposiums should rightly be held, are counter-productive. Defining "cool climate' would best be done by the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) and based on science, geography, terroir and on knowledge of the locations of Australian vineyards. Vinefinders has travelled with GPS equipment and recorded latitudes for over 5,000 Australian vineyards ranging from -43.419 to -15.42 decimal degrees, and altitudes of Australian vineyards up to 1155 metres. Each one has geo-coded and matched to the nearest BOM weather station ensuring that, after the science has been done, any vineyard's claims to "cool climate' status are not awry!

The sustainability of vineyards in particular regions, exacerbated by water shortages, climate change and chronic over-supply, will remain great debates. Should cool-climate vineyards be included in the 20% of vineyard area needed to be pulled? Sustainability is a question of size, production costs and other factors such as ownership structures - but above all it is about quality and avenues to market. 

In the meantime, perhaps this can be looked at in another way. While awaiting the scientific answers we can adopt the empirical approach. Does the price gained for fruit match with climatic definitions of the AWBC, ICCWS, or the cri-de-coueur of your anonymous correspondent?
Does going south equate to quality?

The AWBC has just published an easily-read analysis of the prices obtained by growers for the major grape varieties from all regions in Australia. While, as above, the sustainability of vineyards is dependent on so many factors, it showed (as an example) that the undoubtedly cool-climate Tasmanian growers received prices averaging greater than $2000/tonne for:
- 100% of their Chardonnay (the nearest competitor was Mornington Peninsula with 76% of their fruit reaching this mark)
- 100% of their Pinot Noir (the nearest competitor was Mornington Peninsula with 56%) 
- 94% of their Pinot Gris (again, the nearest competitor was Mornington Peninsula with 68%), and
- 77% of their Riesling (the nearest competitor was the Eden Valley with 5%).
Of course, Tasmania does not do best for all varieties, and the AWBC only reported for Tasmania on the above four. Indeed, prices for Pinot Noir received in Tasmania by at least one of the 300+ vineyards for both the 2009 and 2010 vintages have reached $7,000/tonne. Now, that's COOL.

REGIONALITY & the DEVELOPMENT OF WINE REGIONS

May 2010 – MT GAMBIER APPLIES FOR GI REGION STATUS

The Mt Gambier area is SA’s far south-east is the latest wine region to apply to become a distinct Geographically-Indicated (GI) Wine Region, within the greater Limestone Coast Zone. The AWBC has yet to make a ruling.

October 2009 - WHICH GI ZONE REPRESENTS THE FULL GAMUT OF AUSTRALIAN WINE STYLES?

In October’s 44-page Australia supplement to Harpers Wine & Spirits (UK) magazine, which focused on Victoria, Max Allen rightly claimed: “without leaving the state, I can cater to every possible drinking occasion: from crisp, late-disgorged sparkling to ageworthy, fragrant Riesling; breezy Pinot Grigio; and complex wheatmealy Chardonnay. Then to supple and foresty Pinot Noir; spicy, peppery Syrah; solid, chunky Shiraz; tangy, savoury Sangiovese and Nebbiolo; pitch-black Durif; stunning late-harvested Riesling; unctuous rare Muscat and Tokay… the world in a glass”.

Max has eloquently put forward the argument for his home state, but two months ago we explored on this website which GI Wine Zone best represented Australian wine styles. We’d been set thinking when Eliza Brown (of All Saints & St Leonards) wrote to us (21 August 09):
“Just wanted to say how great your website is and how easy and simple it is to navigate… I was wondering why Rutherglen doesn’t have it’s own search on the appellation bar? Glenrowan is an hour from us but for some reason we have historically been bundled in with them when there climate and geography is somewhat different…”

Perhaps VineFinders should split the two regions, but they do produce similar wine styles. Yet, in contra-indication to that, the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation’s geographically-indicated (GI) Zone of NE Victoria would encompasses the following diverse GI Regions and terroirs:

Rutherglen – most famous for its fortifieds
Glenrowan – rich reds and fortifieds
King Valley – reds on the plains; sparkling on the alpine plateau
Alpine Valleys – traditional reds and emerging Italian varietals
Beechworth – the cool climate varietals Chardonnay & Pinot Noir.

Of the 31 GI Zones across Australia perhaps no other zone can claim such a range of terroirs to produce quality wines in the variety of styles represented?

November 2009 - REGIONS & VIGNERONS FACE THE REALITY OF CLIMATE CHANGE

The two-year-long Hunter Valley Wine Industry Climate Change Case Study reported in October that the Hunter Valley should explore planting alternative grape varieties to combat rising temperatures, spring frosts and a higher risk of disease, due to climate change. As well, grape growers may have to explore new locations for vineyards and change their layouts to counter the risk of more extreme weather events, said the report.

In Decanter magazine’s 21 October report, the first two responses on their website provoked VineFinders to contribute this piece published at www.decanter.com/news/290780.html:
“The contrasting responses of a Hunter Valley grapegrower and a US Consultant are fascinating as much as they are extreme. One hopes that vignerons worldwide (not just the 300 in the Hunter Valley) accept the reality of climate change and, where possible, use it to improve the wines, styles and varieties offered to consumers. For a foreign consultant to use the issue to denigrate the wines of all 5,000 vignerons in the Hunter and 83 other Australian wine regions is amusing as it is ignorant. The diversity of terroir used for grapegrowing and, interestingly, the move to cooler climates has been evident over recent decades - as evidenced by the over 5,000 vineyard locations mapped on www.VineFinders.com.au

Meanwhile, on 28 November it was reported that France’s Champagne district average temps over the growing season were:
1951-1990: 14.3 deg C
1991-2000: 15.0 deg C
2001- 2010: 16.0 deg C (predicted)

But then climate change believers are all just "Bollinger bolsheviks" and "champagne socialists". And the true believers in our Liberal Party and their love of the mother country will be rewarded when Britain overtakes the frogs in sparkling production and Britannia Bubbles rule the world.

5-6 September - BATTLING THE BLANDS

“Battling the blands” was the apt header for a Max Allen piece in the Weekend Australian (5-6 Sept), analyzing the current collapse of the image of Oz wine in overseas markets. Australian Vintage Limited (parent company of McGuigan Wines) had asserted that “Wine Australia’s focus should be on style rather than regionality… the regionality strategy is flawed". Max rebuffed their suggestion that we should focus on styles and that the AWBC's regionality focus was wrong.
Coincidentally on this same weekend VineFinders had a bottle of McGuigans Shiraz Viognier (from Langhorne Creek) which had on the front label “Discover emerging varietals and Australian wine regions” – we can only imagine that regional McGuigans staff support regionality but the bean counters overly influence the marketers in head office!

VineFinders is unequivocally about regionality – who else has travelled the wine regions and mapped 5,000+ vineyards into 85 distinct wine regions, but we also support “personality” not just through regional expression, but also the need for personalities around which wines and wine regions are built. Hence we applaud the August formation of Australia’s First Families of Wine – 12 family-owned “icon brands” spread across four states.

Wolf Blass, on his 75th birthday on 2 September, entered the fray by suggesting Australia is “creating a fruit salad of grape varieties and confusing the public” and suggested we should concentrate on producing Riesling and “the red varieties for which it is best known – Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon”. Having built markets for wine in Australia with white spritzers in the ‘60s, he believes our export industry should target Asia with similar styles. That just leaves 150+ other Grape Varietiesthat Vinefinders has found planted commercially in Australian vineyards.

21 & 22 July 2009 - WCA LECTURE BY FELICITY CARTER OFFERS SOLUTIONS FOR THE IMAGE OF OZ WINE

Amazing! Australian wine has an identity crisis overseas with, for example, retailers claiming Oz wine is overpriced and offering their customers bottles of Australian "three buck chuck" - yes, for $3! An industry in crisis, and when someone uniquely placed to offer solutions puts her head above the parapet, vested interests take pot-shots! Australian Felicity Carter edits Meininger's Wine Business International magazine, and gave eloquent addresses in Sydney & Melbourne to the Wine Communicators of Australia (WCA). Rich in content, comprehensive in analysis, Felicity pulled no punches. Attendees were all in admiration, including VineFinders! To read about how we are seen in overseas markets, how we can better promote ourselves, four ways to promote regional distinctiveness, the Australian brand, and the need for personalities and ambassadors, read the lecture at www.winecommunicators.com.au

VineFinders was so incensed by the carping xenophobia of an editor of a leading wine newsletter that, after cooling down over the weekend, Dick Friend fired off this response.

VineFinders quest to promote terroir and regional diversity through its mapping of 85 wine regions, showing the locations of vineyards in each, must also be reviewed - while the seven sub-regions of Tasmania shown have different ripening characteristics and varietal suitability, does anyone really care?

9 July 2009 – TRADEMARKING REGION & SUB-REGION NAMES

Back in 2005, Andrew Harris Wines (Hunter Valley) attempted to trademark a wine brand called “Regions”. Fortunately Fosters opposed the application, arguing the word is “primarily descriptive and therefore not adapted to distinguish and single traders wine”. On 9 July 2009, Fosters defeated this cheeky move for “regionality is the grammar of wine”.

As if it isn’t confusing enough already? Officially Australia has 31 Wine Zones, 64 Wine Regions and 12 Sub-regions – all geographically-indicated (described as GIs) and gazetted under an agreement with the European Union to protect wine names. But according to an ABC News item (3 July 2009), in a separate legal process altogether, the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association is moving to protect sub-region names by trademarking “Belford” and “Mount View”, in reaction to Foster’s having trademarked “Rothbury” as a brand, despite selling its vineyard there in 2006! The only gazetted GI Sub-region in the Hunter at present is Broke-Fordwich.

Dec 07/Jan 08 - DOES REGION MATTER TO WINE BUYERS?

Only two Australian wine regions (the Barossa & Hunter regions) can be recalled by name by more than 60% of wine consumers. Small icon vineyards have better profiles in the better known regions. Even McLaren Vale, despite concerted efforts, has just 14% awareness amongst wine consumers. Are you interested and committed to the issue of wine region marketing, as we are? Reproduced from Wine Business Monthly (Dec 07/Jan 08) - www.awbm.com.au - Professor Larry Lockshin (Ehrenburg Bass Institute for Marketing Science, University of South Australia) makes common and eminent sense, backed by market research, when he provides insights such as What can smaller regions do about it?

We welcome feedback… We just can’t guarantee to satisfy all parties.


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