Wine grape vines were brought to Australia in the late 1700s and commercial winemaking began around 1820. Mostly growing French varieties, the Australian wine industry expanded significantly over the last 30 years. And while this popularity has given rise to countless cases of inexpensive simple wine, the industry also produces ample qualities of truly fine world-class wine.

Shiraz (known as Syrah just about everywhere else) is the most grown variety, most often produced as a single varietal wine but also blended with other grapes. Here I recommend several very good wines at affordable prices from several of the country’s most significant growing regions to give you a flavor of the quality available:

• New South Wales. In the southeastern corner of Australia, the its most important area, Hunter Valley runs along the coast two hours north of Sydney. Tyrell’s has been family-owned from its founding in 1858 and today is one of Australia’s elite wineries: 2018 ($23), bold cherry, plum, baking spice, anise, espresso.

• Western Australia. On the other side of the continent, the coastal city of Perth is the main urban area; Margaret River, about three hours southwest, is the major wine region. Forester, family-owned and highly regarded since its establishment in 2001: 2019 “Lifestyle” ($25), dark berries, bright acidity, spice, anise, fine tannins.

The Great Southern on the South Coast experiences cooler climates. Howard Park, established in 1986, owns vineyards throughout Western Australia: 2017 “Flint Rock” ($20), intense dark cherries, vanilla, peppery, earthy, soft.

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• South Australia. In the lower center of the continent, this is arguably the most important region. One important subregion is McLaren Vale, about an hour south of Adelaide on the coast. Handpicked Wines makes wines from select estate vineyards and emphasizes organics, sustainability and biodiversity: 2020 “Regional Selections” ($25), juicy black fruits, licorice, savory, peppery, satiny. Just off the coast, Kangaroo Island is home to The Islander, established 20 years ago by prominent Bordeaux vintner Jacques Lurton: 2021 “The Red” ($19), straightforward, juicy red berries, plum, minty, supple.

• Barossa Valley. About an hour north of Adelaide, South Australia’s most revered wine region. Dating to 1842, it has the longest unbroken lineage of winegrowing families. Barossa is nirvana for shiraz.

• 2019 Schild Estate “Prämie” Narrow Road Vineyard ($40), pioneering family of Barossa with very old (1847) plantings of shiraz vines; concentrated, brilliant red berries, juicy, black pepper, toffee oak accents, classy.

2017 Langmeil “Valley Floor” ($30), family-owned since the 1840s, farms the world’s oldest shiraz vines (1843); rich, luscious cherry, currant, savory, baking spices, firm, dusty tannins.

2021 Alkina “KIN” ($26), with founding connections to Argentina and Chile, certified organic and biodynamic; mixed berries, lively, savory, intense tannins.