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.
One of the most popular red varieties planted, it ripens late and prefers hot dry climates. It probably originated in Spain, where it is still widely grown. Grenache is best known for its use in Southern Rhone wines, including those of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.