The [yellow tail] range of wines have taken world by storm. And so they should. They are excellent Australian wines which are consistently good. They have clearly won battle for everyday wines at their particular price range.
But they are a made from classical French grape varieties, Chardonnay, Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. As such they represent successes of Australian winemaking in 1980s and 1990s.
What will be wines of new century? As wine boom of 1990s in Australia unfolded, a quiet revolution was taking place. The area planted to grapes expanded rapidly to underpin massive increases in production and exports of Australian wine. But a large number of vignerons and winemakers were also planting alternative grape varieties.
The profile of Australian wine scene has changed as dramatically as scale of production. During 2003 a new winery was opened in Australia every day. About half of these new enterprises were growing or using varieties other than classics mentioned above.
As well as less common French varieties, growers and winemakers have been pioneering with Italian varieties such as Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Arneis. We have also Spanish stalwart Tempranillo being increasingly favoured. Even Russian red grape variety Saperavi is being used. There are probably one hundred wine grape varieties now being produced for commercial wine production in Australia. These new varieties are being planted in traditional areas as well as in new wine regions.