MAIG, MSc. Geosciences, AdvDip Viticulture, Oenology.
Structural geologist, Perth, Western Australia
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Australia is host to some of the oldest rocks on Earth, with zircons from Jack Hills in Western Australia dated over 4 billion years (Valley et al. 2014). The equivalent of these zircons in the world of wine are pre-phylloxera grape vines, before the phylloxera – a sap-sucking insect – devastated vineyards in Europe and other parts of the world in the late 19th century. Australia was only affected in a limited way and is now believed to host among the oldest vines in the world, shiraz vines planted back in 1843 in South Australia.
The wide range of climates and geological formations in Australia defines unique viticultural regions, ranging from cool climate Tasmania to the warmer Hunter Valley in New South Wales. If climate is believed to be the number one influencing factor in growing vines (van Leeuwen et al. 2004), geology is often quoted as a key component of the ‘terroir’, along with soil and topography. This article looks at wine regions in Australia, and across the world, to explore the relationship between geology and wine.
AIG Journal Paper N2018-001, April 2018