Wine is one of the most popular drinks in the world. From communion wine at church through sparkling wine at celebrations to a good red or white at the end of a long day, or paired with dinner at a fine restaurant, wine in hugely popular.
But with the leading wine producing nations all coming from the northern hemisphere, with countries like Italy, Spain, France, The United States of America and China coming in the top five spots, which of the Southern Hemisphere countries should you be looking out for in the world of wine. Here’s a quick list of the top wine producers from the bottom half of the world.
With hugely recognizable international brands like Penfolds Grange and Jacobs Creek in the mix, Australia is one of the largest producers of wine in the Southern Hemisphere. Producing upward of a million tonnes of wine each year, Australia is eighth on the overall list of global wine producers.
Australian wine was not always regarded as being for the refined palate, with global comedy superstars Monty Python even performing a vignette on Australian wine in their Flying Circus series. The skit famously declared that Australian wine was ‘commonly used for hand-to-hand combat’, further adding that it was ‘best for laying down and avoiding’. Fortunately, Australian wine has come a long way since Monty Python wrote the scene and it is now widely purchased and enjoyed.
With wine not produced in Antarctica, South Africa, at ninth place on the list of global producers, is the first country from Africa to make the list. That means that with The Americas represented along with Asia, Europe and Australasia, all the continents of the world are represented in the top nine places. That is some stat as it truly demonstrates the universal popularity of wine.
South Africa also produces over a million tonnes of wine a year, exporting heavily to Europe and America. Top South African brands include KWV, Nederburg, Fairview (who are also world-renowned for their excellent cheese) and Backberg. With a large number of French settlers in the Western Cape, this region is where the bulk of the wine is produced.
With close to 1.5 million tonnes produced a year, Argentina is the top producing wine nation in et Southern Hemisphere. Particularly famous for the Argentine Malbec, the country is also recognized for growing the Torrontés cultivar of grape. The region of Salta is one of the biggest wine-producing areas of the country.
Potentially more famous as a wine producer than Argentina, Chile turns out 1.2 million tonnes of wine each year, narrowly beating Australia into eighth place. With a climate that is midway between that of France and California, Chile has a long history of wine production, with some wine historians suggesting that there has been a heritage of wine production in the region that dates back to the 16th century.
This tradition was augmented in the late 20th century when the region was reportedly flooded with a large number of emigrating French winemakers.