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 Filed as : Regional SpotlightAustralia

Wine Travel: 18th Century Edition

Aug 24, 2011
Wine Travel: 18th Century Edition
James Cook “discovers” New South Wales, and Australian winemaking is born.


On this day in 1780, James Cook and his HMS Resolution landed on the east coast of Australia. He and his crew were the first Europeans to see and explore the country’s eastern coastline, and Cook quickly claimed the land for his native Great Britain and named it New South Wales.

The European “discovery” of New South Wales was quickly followed by attempts to cultivate the area for wine production. Captain Arthur Phillip, first governor of the new British colony, first planted wine grapes in New South Wales in 1788. Phillip doesn’t get all the credit for the birth of Australian winemaking, though. An English explorer named Gregory Blaxland oversaw production of the first noted Australian vintages, harvested from a plot near Phillip’s second planting location, and is thus considered the founder of Australian Wine.

This is a fascinating and unique region whose wines merit exploring. New South Wales is home to Australia’s oldest continuous wine region (Hunter Valley), and the newest (New England), which was only declared an official wine region in January 2008. In addition, Australia’s two most popular wine varieties, chardonnay and shiraz, both had their start in NSW. If you’ve never tried a New South Wales wine, we recommend checking out the 2010 NSW Wine Awards Trophy Winners and contenders for the 2010 NSW Wine of Year. One of the bottles is sure to please your palate. 

Do you enjoy Australian wine? Tell us about your favorite Aussie bottle below.


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