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Australia

Australia is a fiercely competitive and successful player in the cut-throat world of wine commerce. In many ways they have set the benchmark and are themselves the yardstick by which commercial success is measured by other New World wine producing countries seeking a piece of the international action. Many wine drinkers equate Australia with their favourite "good value quaffers" while for others Australia represents the mainstay of a personal wine cellar chock-full of the iconic brand names most of us grew up with. But while it's true that great strides have been made in Australian winemaking over the last 30 years (so much so they began exporting their winemakers as well as their wines), it's equally true that the path they have hurtled down over that time is beginning to look more and more unsustainable. About two thirds of all Australian wine made and three quarters of all Australian wine exported is accounted for by just five huge, industry-dominating companies. So it is perhaps not such a surprise that we are now seeing something of a reaction to this, a shift in focus by an energetic segment of the industry who are striving to carve out a more terroir-focussed, small-volume approach that they hope will not only bring them success in their own right, but may also do something to re-establish Australia's credentials as a winemaking paradise, capable of turning out characterful, individual wines that offer a relevant response to consumers increasingly seeking wines with more personality.

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