Before the big global boom of Australian wines hit in the mid 1990s, the dynamic country of the southern hemisphere was best known for its koalas, kangaroos, boomerangs, eucalyptus trees, native Aboriginal population, Olivia Newton John, Paul Hogan (a.k.a. Crocodile Dundee), and popular bands like Men at
Work, Midnight Oil and INXS. But as the flavorful wines from the special winegrowing regions of McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, Hunter Valley and Margaret River began to appear on store shelves and wine lists across America, the interest in the country continued to grow.
Around the same time, the same thing was happening in other segments of the food and wine industry. Suddenly, nifty references to Vegemite and “Shrimp on the Barbie” were being tossed around in culinary circles around the globe; while the brilliant marketing campaign for Foster’s Lager had millions believing the brand name represented “Australian for beer.”
So in the early 1990s, a new wave of talented winemakers from Australia started visiting America on a yearly basis. Others took over the lead roles at respected wineries like St. Supery in Napa Valley and Geyser Peak in Sonoma County. And while the official language of both countries is English; it was during this period that proved the Aussies had their own fun terms and quirky phrases to get their points across.
Since then, the relationship between Australia and the United States has grown stronger in terms of both wine trade and tourism. Currently, the country has the world’s 13th largest economy. And like a growing number of American wineries, many of the top wine producers in Australia now have restaurants on their estate properties where visitors can enjoy delicious wines with scrumptious meals prepared by star chefs of the region.
So to get you primed for speaking Australian, below is a selection of helpful words and phrases, as passed down from four gifted Australian winemakers: Daryl Groom (Groom Wines), Michael “Mick” Schroeter (Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards), Peter Gago (Penfolds) and Chester Osborne (d’Arenberg Winery).
For more vital information, visit the Australian Wine Bureau website
The Quick Aussie glossary for beginners
Ace = excellent
Arvo = afternoon
Barbie = barbeque, bbq
Boot = trunk
Breakky = first meal of the day
a Bruce = a man
Bunghole = your mouth
Cheese and Chalk = completely different tastes; ie: “Barrel-aged chardonnay is chalk and cheese from a chardonnay made in stainless steel tanks.”
Cobber = mate, friend, pal, someone you can't remember the name of.
Cosi or Togs = swim suits
Drongo = a stupid, inept, awkward or embarrassing person; dimwit or a slow-witted person.
Fair Dinkum = the most widely used slang in Australia, with a wide range of varied meanings. Can be used instead of strewth or blimey to express exclamation. Also means real, honest, telling the truth, serious, and a good person; a beauty.
Fortnight = two weeks
Idiot Box = television
Jumper = sweater
Lift = elevator
Stubby = a small bottle of beer (375 ml.)
Thongs = flip flops
Wheelie Bin = trash containers