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WINES OF THE BRITISH

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 728 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WINES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE The production of the British empire is very small, amounting to roughly 10 million gallons, and this is produced almost entirely in the Cape of Good Hope and in the Australian Commonwealth. At present the average vintage of the Cape and of Australia is in each case roughly 5 to 6 million gallons. In 1905 New South Wales produced 831,000, Victoria 1,726,000, and South Australia 2,846,000 gallons respectively. The trade of Australia with the United Kingdom is now considerable, having increased from 168,188 gallons in 1887 to 622,836 gallons in 1906. It is possible that the trade would grow much more rapidly than it has done if it were practicable to ship the lighter varieties of wines. These, which would be suitable for ordinary beverage purposes, cannot as a rule stand the passage through the Red Sea, and it is therefore only possible to ship the heavier or fortified wines. It is doubtful, therefore, whether the products of the British Empire will ever displace European wines in the United Kingdom on a really large scale, for they cannot compete at present as regards quality with the finer wines of Europe, nor, for the reason stated, with the lighter beverage wines. The quality of the wine produced in the Cape and in Australia has improved very much of recent years, chiefly owing to the introduction of scientific methods of wine cultivation and of wine-making in much the same manner as has been the case in California. The red wines of Australia, particularly those of South Australia, some-what resemble French wines, being intermediate between claret and burgundy as regards their principal characteristics. There are several types of white wines, some resembling French Sauternes and Chablis and others the wines of the Rhine. It has been recognized, however, that it is impossible to actually reproduce the character of the European wines, and it is now generally held to be desirable to recognize the fact that Australian and Cape wines represent distinct types, and to sell them as such without any reference to the European parent types from which they have been derived.
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