Shiraz Day in Australia Date in the current year: July 25, 2024

Shiraz Day in Australia Shiraz Day, also known as Shiraz Wine Day, is celebrated by Australian winemakers and Shiraz lovers around the globe on the last Thursday of July. It honors Australian wines made from a dark-skinned grape variety that is known as Syrah in most of the world and as Shiraz in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Syrah, also known as Shiraz in parts of the New World, is a red wine grape variety thought to be native to the Rhône wine region in southern France. Today, it is grown in wine regions throughout the globe. Shiraz is the most popular red wine grape in Australia, where it is used to produce both still and sparkling wines.

Syrah was introduced to Australia by James Busby, a British immigrant to New South Wales who was a viticulture enthusiast and grew grapes on his land in the Hunter Valley. In 1831, Busby brought cuttings of different grape varieties from Europe to Australia; among them were Syrah cuttings. By the 1860s, Syrah had become an important grape variety in Australia.

The name Shiraz was historically applied to wines produced around the Iranian city of Shiraz. Today, however, Iran is no longer a wine-producing country due to alcohol being prohibited in Islam, and the name Shiraz primarily refers to Syrah wines produced in Australia and South Africa. Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape variety, but New World Shiraz wines tend to less tannic and higher in alcohol than Old World Syrah wines.

Shiraz is often regarded as the classic Australian red wine. Australian Shiraz is typically full-bodied, with moderate acidity and heavy tannins. Its core notes are bold fruit and pepper (in contrast to European-style Syrah wines, which tend to be less fruity and more smoky). Other pronounced notes in Australian Shiraz include other spices (licorice, mint, star anise), chocolate, and tobacco. These wines pair exceptionally well with barbecued meats.

Australia is the only country to produce sparkling Shiraz, originally named sparkling Burgundy. Like most sparkling wines, sparkling Shiraz undergoes fermentation twice. The first fermentation with skin contact is required to produce the base wine. The base wine then undergoes secondary fermentation in bottles (traditional method) or in a steel tank (Charmat method).

The inaugural Shiraz Day was celebrated on July 29, 2021. The main goal of the celebration is to pay tribute to Australia’s most popular red grape varietal and raise the profile of Australian Shiraz. On the occasion of the holiday, Australian winemakers, wine merchants, bars, restaurants, and other stakeholders organize winery tours, wine tastings, wine and food pairing classes, and other events and activities focusing on Shiraz.

You can celebrate Shiraz Day even if you’re not in Australia. Buy a bottle of Australian Shiraz, share it with a friend, and don’t forget to spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtags #ShirazDay and #ShirazWineDay.

Shiraz Day should not be confused with International Syrah Day, celebrated annually February 16. The former focuses on New World Shiraz wines, specifically those produced in Australia, while the latter celebrates Syrah wines from all over the world.

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