In 1788 the first vine cuttings from the Cape of Good Hope arrived at the penal colony with the First Fleet. It took over 40 years successfully to launch domestic production but things moved on apace. Nowadays Australia is the world's fourth biggest exporter of wine with 60% of production going overseas.
There are over 60 designated wine making regions across the country, and a total of over 160,000 hectares under vine. The vineyards are predominantly, and unsurprisingly, found in the cooler southern parts of the country. The climate though is still a significant challenge with serious drought an ongoing problem and the risk of bushfires sweeping the land an ever present threat.
All the major varieties are grown, and a large factor in the country's boom and continued success is the predominance of clear, varietal labelling appealing to english and non-english speakers alike, in a very congested and sometimes baffling market.