Yalumba, in Angaston, South Australia, calls itself the country’s oldest winery, It was founded in 1849 by Samuel Smith, an English beer brewer who moved his family to Australia and bought 30 acres of farm land. Smith soon transferred his beer making skills to winemaking and today the fifth generation of the family still owns and operates Yalumba, which got its name from an aboriginal word meaning “all the land around.” The winery makes a large portfolio of wines, including Viognier, Chardonnay, Vermentino, sparkling and dessert wines. But it is especially known for its reds, including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Grenache. Signature wines include the Cabernet/Shiraz Reserve and the Shiraz Old Vine The Octavius. Robert M. Parker Jr. has called The Octavius “a superb effort that is one of the great old-vine Shiraz cuvees available in the marketplace.”
South Australia is the nation’s most important wine region. South Australia is to Australia what California is to the U.S. About half of Australia’s wine comes from South Australia and many of the country’s most acclaimed producers are there. Wineries based in South Australia include Penfolds Grange, Torbreck, Amon Ra, Henschke and Jacob’s Creek. The prestigious Barossa Valley is located in South Australia, and is often compared to Napa Valley because it is gorgeous topography covered in grape vines. First farmed by 19th century German-speakers who immigrated from what is now Poland, the Barossa Valley is the crown jewel of the region. South Australia has widely varying climates, from very hot, dry areas to cooler, high altitude areas. There are more than 150,000 acres of vineyards in South Australia, with more being planted each month. Shiraz is king, though the region also produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mourvedre, Chardonnay and Semillon.