Wines, Beer, and Spirits
Beer and wine are an important part of Australian life. Australia is the world's 10th-largest wine producer, and Australian wine is gaining considerable respect worldwide. Australia's most famous wine-producing areas are the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, the Barossa Valley in South Australia, and Western Australia's Margaret River region. Although there are no native grape varietals in Australia, Shiraz (also known as Syrah) is a local specialty. Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are common reds; popular whites include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio. Australia produces a wide range of beers. As well as big national brands like Fosters, each state has its own brew: Victoria Bitter in Victoria and XXXX (called four-ex) in Queensland, for example.
If you're invited to an Australian's home, it's common—indeed, expected—practice to take a bottle of wine at dinnertime or a case of beer for a barbecue. When drinking at pubs, Australians always drink in rounds, British-style.