Ultimate Guide to New South Wales Wine Regions

Famous Wines of New South Wales Wine Regions

The New South Wales wine industry refers to its standout wines as regional heroes. Within New South Wales, there are 14 recognized regions. Some of the better known wine regions are:

  • Hunter Valley -- the oldest region of NSW is known for its iconic Semillon, a wine that draws comparisons to Riesling but isn't really like anything but itself. Hunter Valley Semillon has been called "Australia's unique gift to the world."
  • Riverina -- this region puts its own sweet twist on the Semillon with a Botrytis (noble rot) variety. The Botrytis Semillons, excellent dessert wines, are among Australia's leading exports. Try one from De Bartoli or West End.
  • Canberra -- a cool-climate region, Canberra is comparable to the Rhone valley. Its regional hero is Shiraz -- try the 2007 Collectors or the 1996 Clonakilla Shiraz Viogner -- but don't overlook the local Rieslings, which are also gaining in profile. Adjacent Gundagai is a much newer wine region, but it's also starting to make a name for itself in Shiraz.
  • Cowra -- this region is known for its Chardonnays (such as Swinging Bridge) and its efforts in environmental sustainability; it has four organic vineyards and the goal of producing wine "with the least environmental impact of any region in Australia."
  • Hastings River -- this coastal region has been producing wine for a century and a half but has only recently gained attention for it. Its regional hero is Verdelho. Similarly, Perricoota planted its first grapes in the 1800s, but it wasn't until the 1990s that its Shiraz took the scene. Shoalhaven is one of the most exciting new wine regions; since its 1994 recognition as a region, it's won more than a thousand medals. Its regional hero is the red French varietal Chambourcin; try Coolangatta Estate.
  • Mudgee -- a high producer with Mediterranean climates and rich volcanic soils, Mudgee is known for its Cabaret Sauvignons. Recently its production has begun to include other Mediterranean varietals, such as Sangiovese and Barbera. The cool Hilltops Region is also known for balanced Cabernet Sauvignons that age well.
  • Southern Highlands -- as suggested by its name, the Southern Highlands is a high-altitude, cool-climate region. It's known for a red -- Pinot Nior. Try boutique producers such as Tertini.

[source: NSW Wine]

Three high-altitude regions are known for their whites. Orange produces an acid, floral Cabernet Sauvignon. New England is the newest of the NSW wine regions. Its cool climate makes it a natural for its regional hero, Riesling. And Tumbarumba, the highest region, has recently transitioned from sparkling wines to Chardonnay. Its 2006 Hungerford Hill Chardonnay was the NSW Wine of the Year.

Always different, always exciting, the wines of New South Wales offer something for almost everyone.

To learn more, visit the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • "Cane Toads." NSW Department of E­nvironmental and Climate Change. (Accessed 2/16/09) ­ http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/pestsweeds/CaneToads.htm
  • "Colonial-Aboriginal Wars." MSC Encarta Encyclopedia. (Accessed 2/25/09)http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761588319_2/Colonial-Aboriginal_Wars.html
  • "Convict Women in Port Jackson." Australian Government Culture and Recreation Portal. (Accessed 2/16/09) http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/portjacksonwomen/
  • Corrigan, Andrew. "Austrailian Wine Regions: NSW." Mietta's. 2000. (Accessed 2/16/09) http://www.miettas.com.au/food_wine_recipes/wine/wine_regions/nswwine.html
  • "European Discover and the Colonisation of Australia." Australian Government Culture and Recreation Portal. (Accessed 2/16/09) http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/australianhistory/
  • "New South Wales Wineries." The Wine Web. (Accessed 2/16/09) http://www.wineweb.com/map_ns_wales.html
  • "New South Wales Wine Regions." Visit NSW. 2007. (Accessed 2/16/09) http://www.visitnsw.com/Wine_Regions_of_New_South_Wales_p1248.aspx
  • O'Donnell, Mietta. "Italian Wine Flavours." Mietta's. 2000. (Accessed 2/16/09) http://www.miettas.com.au/food_wine_recipes/wine/wine_articles/italianwine.html
  • "Reconciliation." Australian Government Culture and Recreation Portal. (Accessed 2/16/09) http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/indigenous/reconciliation/
  • "Welcome...to the World of New South Wales Wine." Website of the NSW Wine Industry. (Accessed 2/16/09) http://www.nswwine.com.au/
  • "Wine." NSW Department of State and Regional Development. (Accessed 2/16/09) http://www.business.nsw.gov.au/industry/foodandbeverage/wine.htm