Thursday, March 31, 2016

On the Future of Australian Wine, 1894

Excerpted from "The Art of Living in Australia", 1894, by Philip E. Muskett

Having thus far referred to our totally inadequate supply of fish food, of vegetables, and of salad plants and herbs, there is still the great Australian wine industry to consider. At present only in its swaddling clothes, it is destined before very long to enter upon its vigorous life. There was an eminent French naturalist, M.F. Peron, sent out to Australia by the Emperor Napoleon during the years 1801 to 1804 inclusive. A shrewd observer, he saw even at that early period of Australian history that there were unequaled possibilities for her wine. In the course of his interesting narrations he remarks:--"By one of those chances which are inconceivable, Great Britain is the only one of the great maritime powers which does not cultivate the vine, either in its own territories or its colonies; notwithstanding, the consumption of wine on board its fleets and throughout its vast regions is immense."

In the whole of Australia the annual production of wine is only a little over three million gallons; but in France, as well as in Italy, it is nearly 800 million gallons. These two countries together, therefore, every year produce about 1,596 million gallons more wine than Australia. These stupendous figures reveal very plainly what an enormous expansion awaits ou wine industry.