10 December, 2019

Wine down with a glass that’s always half-full in Tasmania’s northern vineyards

Cool-climate wines await, including the Tamar Valley’s sensational sparkling and pinot noir.

Blessed with a climate similar to Europe’s leading wine regions, Tasmania produces some of Australia’s finest drops. In the north, the Tamar Valley around Launceston is the state’s oldest, most awarded, cellar-door-rich wine region, but the Cradle Coast Wine Trail near Devonport also has some tasty gems.

Explore the Tamar Valley’s east

The Tamar Valley has so many cellar doors we can only suggest a handful for your wine-tasting getaway. Visit at least one in the north-east’s Pipers River sub-region, which is the epicentre of premium Australian sparkling wine. Local legend Andrew Pirie kicked things off in 1974 when he established Pipers Brook vineyard. Today it’s thoroughly set up for vino tourism, with RV access, good food, and tastings and sales of fine wines including vintage cuvée sparkling.

Pipers Brook vineyard (Image: Jarrad Seng)
Pipers Brook (Image: Jarrad Seng)

Jansz is also a big name in Tasmanian bubbles. This vineyard coined the term Méthode Tasmanoise, which combines the French Champagne region’s traditional Méthode Champenoise process with distinctive Tasmanian conditions. Learn more, and taste a range that includes sparkling rosé, at the Jansz wine room.

Jansz (Image: Jansz)
Jansz (Image: Jansz)

Another notable name is Josef Chromy, a Czech migrant associated with leading wineries including Jansz and Tamar Ridge. At his eponymous vineyard, there’s serious wining and dining as well as The Art of Sparkling experience, which enables participants to watch sparkling wine being disgorged and blend their own bottle too.

Josef Chromy (Image: Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett)
Josef Chromy (Image: Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett)

Other eastern Tamar Valley vineyards well worth sampling include Bay of Fires Wines, Leaning Church Vineyard and Clover Hill, where you can sip sparkling wine with local tasting plates in an impressive contemporary building overlooking the vines.

Go west in the Tamar Valley

Tamar Ridge winery is renowned for pinot noir. Years of experimenting with different pinot grape clones, plantings in slightly varied conditions, and new wine-making techniques have resulted in some elegant, aromatic drops. Try the pinot flight and seasonal lunch menu with views of the Tamar River and nearby hills.

Lots of sun is essential for wine-making, but Moores Hill has taken things to the next level as Tasmania’s first 100% solar-powered vineyard (with electric vehicle charging stations too). Explore their wines, from pinot gris to pinot noir, with a cheese, seafood or charcuterie tasting plate.

Tamar Ridge (Image: Tamar Ridge winery)
Tamar Ridge (Image: Tamar Ridge winery)

Other options in the Tamar Valley’s west include Goaty Hill Wines and Swinging Gate Vineyard, whose fine wine is just one reason to linger. There’s also a day spa next to the cellar door, and amazing geodesic-dome accommodation among the vines.

Discover the Cradle Coast Wine Trail

The emerging north-west wine region only has a handful of cellar doors, most of which are found along the Cradle Coast Wine Trail. The best known is Ghost Rock, which hosts the annual summer Concert in the Vines, but its cellar door and eatery appeal anytime. Enjoy white wines, pinot noir and sparkling with local produce and views stretching across the vines to Bass Strait. Ghost Rock is about 10 minutes’ drive from Spirit of Tasmania’s port, so it’s an ideal spot to start or end your viticultural holiday.

Ghost Rock Wines (Image: Kelly Slater)
Ghost Rock Wines (Image: Kelly Slater)

Other places to pause along the Cradle Coast Wine Trail include Prickly Mo, where an old shearing shed has become the cellar door, and Tasmania-meets-Italy vineyard La Villa. Recalling a classic Tuscan villa’s architecture and interior design, its main building is surrounded by grapevines including nebbiolo and pinot grigio varieties. Sample Leven Valley Vineyard’s wines with a picnic in the garden overlooking the Leven River and Gunns Plain, or stay the night at Three Willows Vineyard’s cottage so you can really enjoy their wines grown in rich terra rossa soil. Cheers!

La Villa (Image: La Villa Wines)
La Villa (Image: La Villa Wines)


Information included in this blog is correct at the time of publishing. Please contact individual operators for further information.

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