Italy's influence on Australian wines

Published on 02/06/2021 by Priscilla Hennekam

This week was an intense week of Italian wine tastings, which ended up inspiring me to write this new article for my blog.


Whenever I publish a photo of a Nero d’Avola, Sagrantino, Fiano or similar, produced here in Australia, I always get the same questions - for example, “Do Australian wines made from Italian grape varieties have the same characteristics as wines made in Italy? It is important to start with that famous word in the wine world called “terroir”, which means that different soils, climates and wine production techniques will result in wines with different personalities and characteristics. Wines from Italy generally have a more earthy appearance, compared to wines made from Italian grapes here in Australia.


A large part of the success of these wines in Australia comes from the Australian winemakers, who through their own interpretation, while maintaining the characteristics of the grape, create their own unique style. Instead of comparing these wines to Italian wines when you’re drinking them, just enjoy the different sensations that a new style can offer.


Australia has a great diversity of soils and climates, so instead of only suiting the French varieties that were originally planted here, it is to be expected that different grapes would also be able to adapt well. And when it comes to “Global Warming”, Australia has been taking measures to minimize the effects of climate change in the vineyards, and one of them is to invest in other grape varieties. Today we can find many vineyards planted with the Sangiovese grape, for example, which is also the most planted grape in Italy. Although the number of plantations of Italian varieties is still relatively small in Australia, the trend is that this number will grow in the coming years.


The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) reveals that climate change projections for Australia are an increase in temperature and a reduction in annual precipitation over the next 10 years. Many producers are betting on grapes that can withstand extreme heat, like grapes from southern Italy. In addition, Italian grape varieties generally have more natural acidity, so interest has grown enormously in these grape varieties here in Australia. Wine regions such as McLaren Vale, SA; King Valley, VIC; Riverland, SA and Granite Belt, QLD provide good examples of Italian grape varieties in Australia

What differentiates Australia from its competitors, is that wine producers are open to venturing out and trying new things, making Australia one of the most exciting wine countries in the world.