Though once dominated by British culinary tastes, Australian cuisine is now influenced by a variety of Mediterranean and Asian foods introduced by immigrant cultures. Many people living outside of Australia think of native Bush Tucker when they contemplate Australian food, but Southeast Asian, Greek, Lebanese and Italian influences are now more common.
Australia's open-door immigration policy after the Second World War encouraged Italians, Greeks and other Europeans to emigrate, bringing their rich winemaking traditions. As wine was an integral part of their culture, their enthusiasm and traditions in both eating and drinking were passed on to the people of their adopted home.
Many Italians settled in the Riverina and here one finds Italian names on many of the wineries, such as DeBortolo, Miranda, Rossetto and Calabria. In Western Australia's Swan Valley, Yugoslavs settled in large numbers, as they did on New Zealand's north island, bringing their strong wine culture with its subtle differences. Many of the descendants of these pioneers make wine there today under names like Talijancich, Kosovich and Yurisich. Last century several Swiss families settled in Victoria's Yarra Valley, and the dePurys of Yeringberg and deCastellas of St Huberts had a profound influence on early Victorian wine.
Perhaps the strongest and earliest European influence was of the Germans in South Australia's famous Barossa Valley, where Silesian Lutherans migrated, fleeing religious persecution. The Gramps of Orlando, the Seppelts, Henschkes and Burings are pioneering names that still endure. Many of the small vineyard blocks in the Barossa are still in the hands of "Barossa Deutsch" after five or six generations.
From the very first days, Europeans had a hand in the infant wine industry, as John Macarthur brought German vine dressers and winemakers out in the early 1800's. Hans Irvine brought a French champagne maker to Australia to help establish one of the most famous brands of sparkling wine, Seppelt's Great Western.
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This page modified January 2007
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