Italy, Great Southern

Italy has some of the oldest wine production methods in the world and almost every part of the country is planted under vine. From the Alps in the north to the very southernmost parts of Sicily where Africa is almost in sight, wine is successfully cultivated. In addition to the latitude covered, Italy's many mountains and hills provide a plethora of altitudes for grape growing in various soils and micro-climates. The extensive coastlines along the peninsula that is Italy provide maritime climates for the coastal wine-growing areas. Over 350 grape varieties are 'authorised' in Italy, though up to 550 varieties are thought to be grown.

The classification system of Italian wines has four classes, with the intention of defining a wine's origin a quality. Two of these classes are table wines, whilst DOC and DOCG fall under the EU quality wine produced in a specific region category. Vino da Tavola (VDT) means that the wine comes from Italy. Most of these wines are generally basic table wines that are consumed domestically. Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) denotes a more specific region within Italy, and the resultant will be of higher quality than simple table wines, but won't conform to the rules required for higher certification. Both Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) are regionally more specific than IGT, and have stricter rules regarding the grape varieties grown, yields per hectare, minimum alcohol levels and so on. The major difference between DOC and DOCG is that the latter has to undergo a blind-tasting session to ensure the highest quality is achieved. Italy has 32 DOCG appelations, 311 DOC appelations and 120 IGT zones.

Key regions include Piedmont, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Veneto, Sicily and Sardinia. Common white varieties grown are Pinot Grigio, Arneis, Vermentino, Verdicchio, Fiano and Moscato. The red varieties grown the most are Sangiovese, Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, Montepulciano, Primitivo, Nero d'Avola and Corvina.
Set among the backdrop of Australia’s most majestic landmarks, the Great Southern Wine Region boasts an incredible size fit for both winemaker and enthusiast. With its five sub-regions of Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker, Porongurup and Albany, winemakers are treated to an abundance of unique soil types and weather conditions, while enthusiasts can enjoy an array of wine styles with something for every palate.

The region's most recent trends showcase just how popular it’s becoming. Wineries in the region are being blessed by the cooler climate which is conducive to the production of the extremely popular Australian Shiraz. Pinot Noir enthusiasts can also expect great things to happen with the southern climate and terroir being superb for wine production. On top of that, the region is also upping the ante in terms of competition, being among the best in Australia for Riesling, a fierce competitor to South Australia’s renowned Clare Valley.

You could almost say that wines and the Great Southern were made for each other!
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