Shiraz/ Syrah is a red grape variety. At approximately 142,600 hectares, Syrah was at the seven position in world’s most grown grape in 2004.
It is called by different names across the world like Sirac, Schiras, Syrac, Syra, Sereine, Serine, Hignin noir, Candive, Entournerein, Marsanne noir, Balsamina and Antourenein noir.
Australia and South Africa label their wines as Shiraz whereas in Europe it is labeled as Syrah. There are tasting differences in between wines labelled Shiraz and Syrah, some of which are as follows – Syrah being more smoke- flavoured, tannic and elegant while Shiraz labelled wines are less-tannic, more peppery and more fruit-driven.
It can be found in wine-regions of Australia such as Margaret River, Hunter Valley, McLaren Vale, Barossa and Coonawarra and in Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand, Washington, California, South Africa, Chile and France.
History of Shiraz in Australia
It was James Busby, also known as “Father of Australian Viticulture”, who had introduced Syrah to Australia. In 1831, he went to Europe and brought cuttings of the grape which he then planted in Hunter Valley region and Sydney Botanical Garderns. Later, in 1839, it was introduced in South Australia. In 1860s, Syrah became an important grape variety in Australia.
The world’s oldest continually running vineyard, planted in 1847, is supposed to be Shiraz vines in Tanunda, which comes under Barossa Valley wine region.
Growth of Shiraz in Australia
Australia witnessed an increase in plantings of Shiraz grapes in 1980s and 1990s which can be attributed to success of Australian brands like Jacob Creek and Lindemans in UK and Rosemount in UK and US. Government began to give tax subsidies to wineries planting new vineyards which boosted the planting in 1990s. With the yield of 422,430 tonnes of Shiraz grapes in 2005-2006, Shiraz became the most planted variety in Australia. And with this, Australia became the second largest Shiraz grape grower, just behind France.
Popular Shiraz Wines in Australia
Penfolds “Grange”, the Henschke “Hill of Grace” and the Penfolds “RWT” are few of the many popular Australian Shiraz Wines.