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Australia’s state of Victoria became a wine region much as parts of California did here in the United States: Settlers found gold, and farming – and winemaking in particular – sprung up to support the new communities of miners.

Victoria, perched on the southeastern edge of the continent, has the coolest weather in Australia. Many Victoria wines reflect that fact. The Yarra Valley region, north of Melbourne, is known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines of great elegance and delicacy. In the Alpine Valleys region, Italian varieties such as Sangiovese and Barbera have found success alongside Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet. Victoria’s cool summers contribute complexity and richness to these long-ripening wines.

Further inland, the weather turns warmer. To the northwest, flat and fertile fields in the Murray Darling region supply large-scale wine producers. Slightly further south, in Heathcote, a more varied terrain produces dark and intensely flavored Shiraz wines. To the east, Rutherglen is known for unique fortified dessert wines like Muscat, which boast sweet fruit flavors concentrated through the region’s long, dry autumns.

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