New research from Australia has revealed that Shiraz will overtake the ubiquitous Chardonnay as the most popular wine in Australia, within the near future. Meanwhile sales of fortified wine, once a bastion of the Australian industry, have fallen 4% in the last year and 34% in the last decade. According to the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE) a rise in the popularity of reds is set to knock the classic Chardonnay of its perch as the nation's top variety, as Australian's catch up with European trends.

Fortified wine, such as Port and similar style wines, now account for just 23 million litres of the 369.3m litres sold across Australia in 1999-2000, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Eight years ago Australian's bought more fortified wine than sparkling wine, but now sparkling outsells fortified by two to one.

Port-style wines continue to be the mainstay of the fortified sector, accounting for 63% of quality fortifieds sold in glass containers of less than two litres.