Western Australia is the nation’s largest state by square miles. However, by population and wine production, it is small. Western Australia covers about a third of Australia but has only about 27,000 square miles of vineyards, which produce about 7% of the nation’s wine. Nevertheless, wine writers Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson have noted that “in quality terms (Western Australia) is very near the top, with a distinctive lightness of touch combined with ripeness of fruit – an unusual combination in Australia.” The region’s winemaking history started in the 1830s and was centered in Swan Valley, which remains an important winemaking region despite its extremely hot, dry weather. By the early 20th century, the Swan Valley was noted for its age-worthy Chenin Blanc, and white wine grapes remain a staple of Swan Valley vineyards. Other important sub regions are the Margaret River area, noted for its lush, maritime landscapes, and the Great Southern sub-appellations. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc are the major grapes grown.