The Hunter Valley is unquestionably the best-known and most highly prized wine region in New South Wales. The area is of significant historical importance to the Australian wine industry, which effectively started there. The Hunter Valley's most famous wine style is its distinctive dry Sémillon, made there since the 1870s and renowned for the ability to improve with age. The valley's relationship with Chardonnayis 100 years shorter, but no less significant. It was here that Australia's first Chardonnay was made. Australia's national red grape, Shiraz, is also long-established in the Hunter Valley. Like the other wine styles from the region, it has a character which is as much regional as it is varietal – equal parts 'Hunter' and 'Shiraz'.