Wine Media Conference was the first time this gathering of wine communicators (formerly known as the Wine Bloggers Conference) gathered in Australia. The participant list included a number of North American/U.S. wine bloggers who were eager to learn more about the region that was hosting them - the Hunter Valley.
On day one of the conference, an educational session was led by a local historian and winery folks. They provided participants with a historical perspective as well as a comprehensive understanding of the region today.
Australia's history in wine dates back to 1788 when British colonization brought wine grapes to the colony. The first fleet carried wine purchased from the Canary Islands, Rio, and the Cape of Good Hope. At the time, wine was used as medicine. Grape vines were brought to Australia on ships from the Cape of Good Hope.
In 1792, the first Australian wine was made and it was noted to be "strong and red."
We liked the change and took back many bottles from the oldest continuing producing wine region in the land down under. While it may be that Australia can still produce strong red wines as heralded over 200 years ago - today they may be a little less powerful, more balanced, and fully delicious.