Whilst everyone has a personal preference, for either red wine or white wine, Australian drinkers as a whole have a preference for white wine.
The history of red wine vs. white wine in Australia:
Whilst it’s clear that Australians overwhelming favour white wine over red wine, the percentage of Australians who have a preference for white wine is gradually declining. In 1986 a staggering 80% of the wine consumed in Australia was white, whilst today only 60% of wine consumed in Australia is white. Proof that red wine is slowly and steadily gaining popularity in Australia.
Why is red wine becoming a more popular choice amongst Australian wine connoisseurs?
Although white wine is still a clear favourite, at least amongst Australian wine drinkers, one of the reasons why red wine is becoming a more popular an option is that red wine is so accessible. In fact, if you were to glance at the wine section at an Australian supermarket or grocery store, you’d instantly notice that there are more varieties of red wines for sale, than white wines.
If Australians have a strong preference for white wine, why do so many stores carry more varieties of red wine than white wine? The simple answer is that whilst Australian stores stock both locally produced, Australian made wines and imported wines, the majority of wines for sale in Australia are Australian wines. So perhaps the reason why there are more varieties of red wine on offer in Australia, is that Australia produces some of the highest quality red wines in the world. So it makes perfect sense, that stores such as supermarkets choose to showcase Australia’s world class, red wines.
Popular red wine varieties, that are produced in Australia include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.
Cabernet Sauvignon, which is grown in the Hunter Valley as well as in other Australian wine regions is a rich, full bodied wine, which pairs well with red meat dishes such as steak. Typically Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a strong fruity flavour.
Shiraz, which is the most popular red wine in Australia, is also produced in the Hunter Valley and has a slightly higher alcohol content than your average wine. Shiraz is a full bodied wine that offers both sweet elements reminiscent of the taste of black berries and plums as well as earthier elements such as smoke, leather, chocolate and coffee.
Merlot, is yet another red wine which is produced in the Hunter Valley. It’s a popular choice amongst white wine lovers, who are looking to experiment with red wine as it’s fruity and full bodied and appeals to most tastes.
Whilst, Pinot Noir is produced by a few vineyards located in the Hunter Valley, it’s not as popular in Australia as other red wine varieties such as Shiraz and Merlot. Pinot Noir is known for it’s balance of acidic and sweet flavours.
What are some of the most popular varieties of white wine in Australia?
Popular white wine varieties which are locally produced in Australia include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay.
Sauvignon Blanc, is one of the most popular wines in Australia and boasts fresh, citrus and tropical flavours. Australian Sauvignon Blanc is noted for having a hint of herbal taste.
Pinot Gris, also features fruity notes such as pears, apple and honeysuckle and is more popular in Australia, than it is in other parts of the world.
Gewürztraminer has a slightly spicy flavour, which is balanced out with fruity notes such lychee and pear. Gewürztraminer is a great match for spicy dishes as well as barbecued meat.
Australian’s have a soft spot for Chardonnay, a wide bodied wine which boasts a velvety, fruity flavour. Chardonnay is typically left to ferment in oak barrels. If you take a wine tour of the Hunter Valley, you’ll get the opportunity to view such barrels.
The ongoing battle between white wine and red wine:
In the next few decades expect Australian red wines to be stealing some of Australia’s white wines’ market share. In 50 years one shouldn’t be too surprised if red wines become as popular in Australia white wines. As not only does Australia produce some of the best white wines in the world but Australia also produces top notch red wines.
So if you’re planning a trip to the Hunter Valley, definitely make sure to sample both red and white wines!