With COVID preventing international travel, I decided it was time to go and explore the wine regions of Tasmania, Australia’s smallest and most southern state. Despite exporting less than 1% of their wines, Tasmania is gaining a reputation for outstanding cool-climate wines. This, combined with global warming, has led to explosive growth in the Tasmanian wine industry, which now boasts 160 licensed producers and over 2,000 hectares of vineyards in 7 different wine regions, shown below in an image from Decanter magazine.
On the first day, we drove up the East Coast, and stopped into Spring Vale, Craigie Knowe & Freycinet for tastings and stopped at Devil’s Corner for a pizza, a glass of sparkling and to enjoy the beautiful view. The difficult drive was worth it for the spectacular scenery and delicious wines. The wineries of the East Coast produce about 20% of Tasmanian wines and are famous for pinot noir, chardonnay and riesling, however the temperature and dry conditions also provide growing conditions suitable for sauvignon blanc, pinot gris and cabernet sauvignon, which are all gaining recognition.
The second day we drove up to Pipers River to visit Delamere, where we caught staff relaxing a little after rushing to finish their harvest the day before, to beat the rains that greeted us on arrival. Contrary to popular belief, Tasmania is actually quite dry, with Hobart being the second driest capital city in the country after Adelaide. Of all Tasmania’s wine producing areas, Pipers River is the wettest, and Delamere did acknowledge that they needed to be attentive to disease risks. That said, the climate suits their sparkling wines so well that they are putting most of their efforts towards sparkling production, and they’re being rewarded for their efforts. I was very impressed with the wines, and indeed every other winery we visited said that Delamere was their favourite sparkling producer. Other wineries in the region are also well known for sparkling wines, including Jansz, Clover Hill & Arras (Bay of Fires).
After lunch we stopped at Josef Chromy (below), a well-known producer located in the Tamar Valley. We were told that Josef Chromy possess vineyards just 2 plots deep, but running 2.5km from their cellar door and winery to the south. Near the winery, their lower plots produce aromatic whites, and their upper slopes have perfect soil for the pinot noir and chardonnay that go into their sparkling, while to the south the soil becomes more rocky, and grows the grapes for their table wines.
On our final day we visited Stefano Lubiana in Derwent Valley, and then Pooley in Coal River Valley. Both of these regions have the right combination of temperature, humidity and soils to produce exceptional pinot noir, and they also produce notable sparklings and other table wines.