Wine Varieties

Viognier Wine

Viognier is a white grape that is used to make varietal wines of the same name. Viognier wine requires high levels of skill from the winemaker due to …

Viognier is a white grape that is used to make varietal wines of the same name. Viognier wine requires high levels of skill from the winemaker due to the volatility of the grapes during fermentation. Growing the grapes requires a lot of effort also. Viognier grapes are susceptible to hot temperature as sugar level can increase quickly during ripening. However, Viognier grapes do require extended exposure to warmth to develop without ripening too quickly.

In line with the resurgence of Viognier, Australia is a growing market the name and the varietal style. Viognier is often blended with Shiraz to added vibrancy and sheen to the wine as well as an enticing apricot-like and honeysuckle aroma.

How to pronounce Viognier

Viognier was brought to the Rhône Valley in France by the Romans but the name is very much French. It is pronounced Vee-on-yay.

Viognier characteristics

Viognier wines are are distinct in taste and texture. Viognier varietal wines are fragrant and can be full-textured (sometimes with a texture referred to as oily) and full-bodied. The grape itself displays no distinct character until ripening. Timing the Viognier harvest is critical and getting it right reaps rewards of ripe stone fruits and honeysuckle.

Viognier food pairing

Viognier is a food wine, perhaps the food wine. With Viognier acidity is present enough to deal with fatty foods. A pork culet with a spicy Asian marinade would be a big ask for many white wines but Viognier is up to the challenge. Viognier also has enough guts to deal with Indian food.

Viognier and poultry is also a fine combination and the scope of the wine, with respect to other foods, make this the perfect white wine for a traditional Christmas dinner table with turkey. For something lighter, Viognier and shellfish like scallops is delightful.

Viognier Food Pairing

Viognier region and brands

Other than a few nursery vines in the Barossa, Yalumba planted the first Viognier in Australia in the 1980s. Today, Yalumba produces some of the best varietal Viognier in Australia.

One example of the relatively new superstars is in the Canberra region with Clonakilla’s Shiraz Viognier. This wine has received awards and acclaim with its elegant and contemporary style.

The demand for Shiraz blended with a little Viognier has had a great impact on the Shiraz market. Winemakers have started to add the Viognier varietal to the label where perhaps previously it was absent but Viognier now has some market cache. The best example of a Shiraz Viognier is the Canberra wine region. Viognier in this region can find a more accommodating Shiraz than the blockbusters of the Barossa Valley.

Clonakilla is an exemplar of the style and produces Shiraz Viognier with near cult status. This multi-award winning wine is not simply an outstanding example of Australian winemaking innovation but along with Rieslings from Clare Valley, is a bold international statement about the diversity in Australian wine. This is even more important as it is a Shiraz blend that doesn’t share a label with the name Barossa Valley.

Winemakers such as By Farr, Petaluma, David Hook and Shadowfax amongst others produce excellent of Viognier.

Viognier is, of course, mostly associated with the Rhône Valley in France. In the Rhône Valley Shiraz, or Syrah as it in known in France, is blended with Viognier and has inspired Australian winemakers to seek success with this style.


Condrieu is a region in the Rhône Valley. The AOC or controlled wines in that region are required to contain 100% Viognier. In the 1970s fewer that 20 acres of these vines existed in the world and these were concentrated in Condrieu. From here, cuttings were taken around to wine growing regions around the world removing the threat of extinction of the vine.

The future of Viognier

The low-yielding vines and the volatility of the Viognier grape combined with the skill required to handle the fermentation process means this is wine is unlikely to steal a march on Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Viognier also doesn’t cellar all that well, only three to four years by some estimates. In spite of these hurdles, Viognier is the hottest varietal wine in Australia.

The combination with Shiraz is en vogue and this has contributed to the raising of the Viognier profile in Australia.

Viognier Wine Region