It's no surprise then, that Australia is home to some of the world’s oldest Shiraz vines, with some vineyards dating all the way back to 1843 (Langmeil), 1847 (Turkey Flat) and 1860 (Tahbilk).
Historically, Shiraz grapes were blended, often with Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon or Mataro (Mourvedre). However, over time, Shiraz became a significant part of the output from the regions such as Hunter Valley, parts of Victoria, and South Australia.
Led by pioneer winemakers such as George Wyndham, Henry Lindeman, William Angove, Joseph Seppelt and Thomas Hardy, wines crafted with a high proportion of Shiraz found their way onto tables in Australia, Britain and Europe. The widespread acceptance and critical acclaim that followed put Australian Shiraz firmly on the map.
Dr Penfold and the healing powers of wine
Back in the early days of Shiraz production, a lot of Australia’s wine promoters were doctors. Perhaps most famous was Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold who arrived in Adelaide in 1844 and established the Magill Estate, otherwise known as the Grange (ring any bells?).
Dr Penfold was so convinced that his wine had healing powers that his first wines were available on prescription. In some ways he was right, as red wine has high levels of antioxidants. However, we now know that the alcohol component of red wine counteracts any potential benefits.
Related: Is wine good for you?
These days Shiraz is perhaps Australia's most iconic grape.
A new tradition - non alcoholic shiraz
When it comes to alc-free alternatives, red wine is the hardest to replicate. But thanks to innovation in wine making and dealcoholisation, there is a new wave of alc-free Shiraz that totally lives up to it's big bold name.
Shiraz is Australia’s most planted grape variety, so it makes sense that it’s also Australia’s most popular red wine. It’s bold, aromatic and full of character – things that are hard to replicate in alc-free wine.
Before I stopped drinking alcohol, I was a ‘big red’ girl and a long-term wine collector, and my cellar was full of Shiraz. When I sold my collection, I thought my shiraz sipping days were over. But, I discovered non alcoholic shiraz – and it blew me away.
It turns out, that thanks to innovative technology, wine makers can now remove the alcohol from wine without compromising the aroma, flavour and body of the wine. It means that whether you’re a non-drinker, taking a break or just want to drink more mindfully you don’t need to miss out on Australia’s number one red.
Here is my guide to the best non alcoholic Shiraz on the market currently.
The blurb: Wolf Blass was established in 1966, in the Barossa Valley region of South Australia. Since then Wolf Blass has developed a reputation for crafting award winning wines using age-old wine making methods.
The taste: This full bodied wine features aromas of lifted red fruits and subtle dark plum along with hints of white pepper and exotic spices.
Worth noting: Low in sugar at 2g per 100ml.
What customers are saying: "This is so close to the real thing. It even has tannins which stay on your palate long after the last sip. Very enjoyable. So glad to have found this."
The blurb: Jacob’s Creek has been crafting wine since 1847, making them one of Australia’s most well-known brands and trusted brands. The Unvined alcohol-free range has been crafted via classic wine making techniques and gentle alcohol-removal.
The taste: This elegant Shiraz is boasts complex aromas of plum, blackberry, and chocolate spice. The palate is rounded with flavours of dark berries and blackberry jam complimented by soft tannins. This wine also contains 50 per cent fewer calories than traditional wine.
Worth noting: This wine also contains 50 per cent fewer calories than traditional wine.
What customers are saying: “Perfection”
The blurb: The Plus & Minus range has been expertly developed to include ingredients such as grape seed extract so that every bottle is bursting with antioxidants.
The taste: a palate of black fruits, dark chocolate and hints of oak with a thin weave of tannins and a medium-bodied finish.
Worth noting: Less than 7 calories per 100ml.
What customers are saying: “Close to the real thing.”
The blurb: Edenvale was the first Australian brand to make alcohol-free wine and is a global leader in the market. Expertly crafted from premium South Australia grapes, the premium range features wine that will deliver an exceptional drinking experience.
The taste: This deep, dark, Sparkling Shiraz is crisp, clean and luscious and features rich fruit flavours such as blackberry and currents, hints of oak and spicy chocolate notes.
Worth noting: Rich in antioxidants and only 9 calories per 100ml.
What customers are saying: “Full bodied, rich and sumptuous.”
The blurb: The Carl Jung Winery located at Boosenburg Castle Germany (a UNESCO world heritage site) was the first to patent their dealcoholisation process. They’re now renowned for their alc-free wine.
The taste: Full-bodied with medium tannins, an intense ruby red colour, a strong nose and a well-balanced flavour of black fruits and dark chocolate.
Worth noting: Vegan, low in calories and only 17 calories per 100ml
What customers are saying: “A full-bodied drop.”