The Australian continent is as big as the United States.
Its central and northern areas are close to the equator, making them too hot and dry for Vitis vinifera.
Most of the vineyards are in the southeastern part of the country, where the influence of the Pacific Ocean creates a temperate climate, allowing slow, even ripening of the grapes. This region is also dry, and many areas must be irrigated.
The southeast is home to Australia's three most important wine-growing states:
Often wines from all three states are blended and sold under the catch-all "South Eastern Australia" appellation.
The "Australia" appellation is used for wines blended from around the country, but many of the more distinct wines...