Soil and climate matter when growing hops, but not as much photoperiod. All of the areas that you mentioned except for the United States, New Zealand, and Australia are located above the 48th parallel, which affords growers even longer peak photoperiods. The United States, New Zealand, and Australia all had to develop their own agronomically feasible aroma cultivars due to having shorter photoperiods.
Photoperiod determines if and how profusely a hop cultivar will flower. If photoperiod did not matter, hops could be grown below the 35th parallel without reduced production. South Africa developed Southern Brewer as a less photoperiod sensitive Fuggle, but they still had to use supplemental lighting. They have since developed cultivars that will grow without supplemental lighting.
The reason why I know what I know about photoperiod sensitivity is because I attempted to grow landrace hops in my first hop yard, which I planted in 1994. The bines grew well, but there was little in the way of cone production. In fact, Saaz barely flowered at 39 ° N.
I decided to plant cultivars that were from areas of the world where the peak photoperiod was close to that of 39 ° N (15 hours) when I planted my second hop yard in 2001. I obtained AlphAroma and Pacific Gem directly from HortResearch in New Zealand because the Nelson region has a peak day length of 15 hours. I obtained Kirin II, Shinshuwase, and Golden Star from OSU-USDA (it was much easier to request rootstock back in 2001 than it is today). Kirin II, Shinshuwase, and Golden Star were developed as Saaz replacements that were agronomically feasible when grown in the Iwate Prefecture in Japan, which is located at 39 ° N. All of these cultivars grew like weeds and produced nice cone sets at 39 ° N. I would still have that hop yard today if I had not left the hobby for an extended period of time.
As an aside, California Cluster served as the foundation hop for New Zealand’s hop research program. Almost every New Zealand bred cultivar has California Cluster genetic admixture. The first two successful hybrids were Smoothcone and Calicross, which are California Cluster x open pollination and California Cluster x Fuggle respectively. One of the major hop growing areas in California was Wheaton, California (home of the Wheaton Hop Riot), which is located at 39 ° N.
Yes, it depends.
Have you ever read the "Hop Atlas" from Barth-Haas? The wife got it for me through the interloan program through Michigan State, had to read it in 2 weeks and return. At $200+ it was a little spendy for me. It was pointed out that there were large hop growing areas south of San Francisco, around Sacramento, and in Sonoma County (the town of Hopland got it name form hop growing). Those went away when the land was more valuable for housing, or grape production.
This is in Sonoma County. Some pictures of the Kilns, the tasting is in a former kiln.http://www.hkgwines.com/estate/
So from your post, get the right variety for you latitude and climate. Correct?
I know guys who grew hops fairly successfully in SC. I have talked to ones who said their hops died in Florida. The latitude can't be ignored, for sure - none are grown in the tropics.