Vine varieties: Shiraz

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

(432,340 tonnes in 2013) For long Australia’s premier red wine grape in terms of area planted, Shiraz is also now securely planted on the throne. In 2013 it represented 46% of the red wine crush and nearly 24% of the all-grape total. It is grown in virtually every wine region, responding generously to the varying imperatives of terroir and climate. The variety is identical to the syrah of France and has a long Australian history. During the period in which Cabernet Sauvignon came into vogue, the familiarity of Shiraz led to its being treated with a thoroughly undeserved degree of contempt. However, the old dryland (non-irrigated) plantings of the Barossa Valley (producing voluptuously rich, potent wines) and the traditional Hunter Valley wines (which become silky with age) initiated a surge of popularity in both domestic and export markets.