Some parts of the world have been making wine for more than 3,000 years, and Australia is a relative newcomer to the industry. Although Aborigines lived in Australia before the arrival of Europeans in 1788, wine grapes didn't -- they came with the settlers. South Australia came into the picture during the 1830s, a time when the Australian wine industry was experiencing a boom in production. Before that point, most attempts at making fine wine had failed.
A number of South Australia's first vineyards popped up in and around the capital of Adelaide, and in the 1840s a surge in immigration lead to further expansion of the industry. It was during this decade that many of South Australia's most famous vineyards were established [source: Walsh].
Over the years, many factors helped South Australia become the country's leading producer of wine. First came the gold rush in 1852. While many farmers abandoned their vines in search of gold, some wine makers in South Australia stuck with their crops.
Then came phylloxera. The insect devastated vineyards all over the world, including those in many parts of Australia. South Australia, however, avoided the epidemic, partly because of its isolated location and partly because of strict quarantine policies [source: Wine Australia]. In 1901, when trade restrictions between colonies were lifted, South Australia thrived, distributing its wine throughout the country. Production increased to satisfy demand, and by 1914 South Australia was making nearly two thirds of all the wine in Australia [source: Walsh].
Today, South Australia remains the leader in Australian wine production and shows signs of continuing its growth.
Continue reading to learn of the agriculture of the region.