A Directory of Wine Grape Varieties in Australia

Compiled by Vinodiversity


This directory aims to include all of alternative varieties used to make Australian wine. Various sources have been used to compile this Directory. It is subject to revision. You can help by sending feedback about errors or omissions.


Cabernet Franc

The lesser of the Cabernet sisters, this variety is used as a minor blending variety in many Bordeaux wines. In the Loire it is used to produce straight varietal wines, for example Chinon. In Australia it is grown fairly widely and used both in blends and in straight varietal wines. It could be regareded as an alternetive variety when it is used as a varietal. More...

Cabernet Sauvignon

The quintessential international variety, it seems to have been planted everywhere that wine is made. Used as a straight varietal and as the major grape in many blends. Plays a minor role to Sangiovese in some Chianti wines and to Tempranillo in the Rioja.


A high producing red grape variety that is the staple of the production of vin ordinaire in France. Widely grown for its yield but the wines are almost universally criticised by serious wine writers and critics. More about Carignan.


This seedless red grape variety was bred by the CSIRO as a drying variety. It has found a use as a red wine variety noted for the production o deeply coloured wine. Currans Family Wines in the Murray Darling are growing this variety.


This variety is now rare in its home of Bordeaux, but is widely grown in Chile. Ollsens of Watervale are pioneering this Carmenere in Australia. More about carmenere


Like Carmine, above, this variety also originated in California as a cross of Cabernet sauvignon, this time with both Carignan and Grenache. It is intended as a hot climate alternative to Cabernet and is often used to make wine for blending. It is grown in Australia by Howard Park in the Margaret River region and by Western Range wines, also in Western Australia. More about Carnelian.


A red wine variety, in fact a hybrid of Vitis vinifera and Vitis rupestris. In Australia it is grown extensively in NSW, particularly in the Hunter Valley and in the Mudgee region. It's wines are often robust with cherry fruit flavours. Some wineries produce sparkling reds from Chambourcin.
More about Chambourcin


Ubiquitous white wine variety used to make mostly ordinary wines. Its major benefit is that it has spawned the ABC set (people who drink anything but chardonnay), who are potential enthusiasts for vinodiverse wines. In France Chardonnay is the only permitted variety for White Burgundy and Chablis, and one of three permitted varieties along with Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir in Champagne. These noble antecedents have not prevented Chardonnay from being used to make dreadful plonk around the world.


White wine variety that has fallen from favour in most areas where it was previously grown. It is still grown in Switzerland under the name Fendant. Perhaps one of the sins of this variety is that it produces very good table grapes. Chasselas was common in Western Victoria, but in the face of falling sales it has been removed from most vineyards. Current producers include Bullers Beverford, Cathcart Ridge Estate, Faranda Wines, Villa d'Esta Vineyard.

Chenin blanc

A highly revered white variety from the central regions of the Loire Valley where it is used to make sweet, semi-sweet and dry white wines and also sparkling wine. The famous Loire wines of Vouvray are made from Chenin blanc. Undervalued almost everywhere else, but some attention is at last being paid to its potential to produce quality when given due respect. Major plantings in Western Australia, but Chenin is present in most Australian regions. More about Chenin blanc


An Australian-bred wine developed from a crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon and the Spanish variety Sumoll. Brown Brothers and Yalumba are pioneering this variety.


A high yielding workhorse red variety, also known as Blue Imperial. It was formerly used for both vin ordinaire and fortified styles but is now out of favour. This variety, according to Robin Bradley is "used to add mediocrity to otherwise good wine".

It is most often used as blending material, probably in more wines mention the fact on their labels.

More about Cinsaut.


Used extensively in southern France in blended white wines. Grown in the Hunter Valley where in the past it was wrongly called Blanquette.

Clare riesling

Until the late 1970s this was a common misnomer for Crouchen (see below)

Colombard (aka French Colombard)

A French white wine variety used to make the base wine for Cognac distillation. In Australia it is grown in warmer areas where it can make interesting table wines, but more often they are bland. The variety is often blended with other white varieties. More about Colombard


An unusual white wine grape variety from North West Italy whose main claim to fame is the fashionable dry white wine Gavi. In Australia there is only one producer and so it qualifies as a rare varietal wine.


This a red wine variety from Veneto in North Eastern Italy. It is best known as the key variety in the Valpococella and Bardolino DOC's. The variety gives a almond flavour to the wines of which it is a component. It is also used in dried grape vines such as Amarone and Recioto. Only a couple of wineries use this variety in Australia.


Small areas are devoted to this red wine variety in the Rhone, Provence and Languedoc regions of France. Battely Wines in Beechworth are planning to establish the variety.


A French white variety which has been largely abandoned around the world. It makes wine which is fairly neutral and has been replaced by more appealing varieties. Until the 1970s it was relatively popular under the name of Clare Riesling. In Australia one of the last strongholds of the variety is Brown Brothers Winery who make a semi sweet Crouchen Riesling blend which they market as a Moselle style.

Cygne Blanc

An Australian white wine variety which was developed from a seedling in Dorham Mann's Swan Valley vineyard. The variety produces a high quality still wine and also sparkling wine. A large planting has taken place in the Mt Benson Region on South Australia's Limestone Coast.

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