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Australia's traditional image as a beer-drinking nation has become a myth. Australia is a highly developed, evolved and mature wine drinking nation which has lifted its wine consumption from 8.9 litres of wine per head in 1970 to 19.3 litres of wine per head in 2000. This makes it the 12th largest wine consuming nation in the world, just behind Portugal, China, South Africa. It also puts the Australian wine industry, at 369ML of wine in 2000, well ahead of its projected domestic wine consumption in 2025.
A taste for wine started through the restaurant and cafe culture introduced by post-World War II European migrants increasing the initial acceptance of wine. The lifestyle revolution during the nineties by eating out, entertaining informally and drinking wine has weaved wine more into the Australian culture.
Nowadays, wine is a universal commodity. Wine is produced and drunk all over the world.
Viticultural and winemaking improvements, adaptation of wine products to suit consumer tastes and the ability to supply a variety of wine styles and packaging choices have facilitated wine's expanded appeal. Since the 1950s products have evolved from fortifieds wines to varietal table wines to red wine and white wines and finally to a diversity of quality choices: wines by the glass, regional wines and innovatively packaged wine products. At the same time the market has evolved from fringe drinkers of wine to knowledgeable elite consumers to a point where wine is a mainstream category, a product which is an accessible and relevant part of the lifestyle of Australian consumers.
Where does wine differ from any other kind of alcohol? To begin with, let's take beer as an example. A great drink should the weather be warm and hot and you really need to quench that thirst with your meal. Whilst wine is in some people's opinion a food that you can smell, look at the red wine or white wine's reassuring colours. It is also better suited to a more comfortably cool weather. Whilst beer is a fine drink, it does take a quite a lot of it to give you its relaxing effects. Being carbonated does not help either as it does bulk you up fairly fast, making it less easy to eat as much as you can.
Wine drinking is a social activity that feels right with glass in your hand as you chat away. It perhaps shows that you are sophisticated for making a choice to indulge in a drink that looks right. As for the meaning of all of this for our Australian Wine drinking culture, it shows that we have evolved a fair bit. Wine sales reflect that, wine consumption in restaurants of all dominations reflect that. Wine lists in restaurants of all capital cities are increasingly extensive where it is no longer just a glass of house white wine or red wine. It is exciting to know that you can choose from a Shiraz wine, by far the most common red wine available by the glass to an increasing range like a Merlot, Cabernet Shiraz and Pinot Noir on the red wine list by the glass. As for white wines, it is in the opinion of the writer still a Chardonnay for most restaurants. Why not offer a Semillion Blanc or a cool climate Riesling, I do not know.
White wines have a character of their own, in terms of choosing your degustation at the restaurant, it is better to match the wine with the food. As such if you happen to have Sea food for entree, how can you possibly still be on that bottle of red wine? The reverse is equally true: what if you have steak for main and yet had settled on a bottle of white wine as a glass of white wine or two goes perfectly as an aperitif with your Starter of Crustaceans.
One thing is for sure, the choice of wines is changing with the increasing numbers of people who drink it.
With over a hundred different wines to choose from on this website, you'll always find the perfect gift for that important person.