Although Australia is an enormous country, its area under vine is relatively small when compared to European wine making countries. Bearing in mind that there were no native grapes in Australia until the British settlers arrived, and the hot and dry conditions make survival for anything living a challenge. However, in the South of Australia conditions are slightly cooler, and the majority of the wine comes from there. Today the Australian wine industry is booming. The combination of an abundance of sunshine, all year round, together with advanced irrigation systems, make Australian wines fit for all wine enthusiasts and reach out to a wide palette. Things are going from strength to strength in the Australian wine industry, and as long as you steer clear of the mass produced factory brands, you will find different wines to accommodate every occasion and taste. Red wine has been making in-roads in Australia for many years now, and today there are more varieties of top notch red on offer than ever before. Australian red wine makers are currently some of the finest. The leading wine regions are the Barossa and Clare Valleys in South Australia, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales and the Margaret River region in Western Australia. Australians make their fine reds with the juice from black grapes, which along with their skins and tannins, cover a broad scope in terms of rich colour and flavour. The most popular red wine grape varieties are Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.