Despite having impacted the wine scene only fairly recently, many people would be surprised to learn that Tasmania has a long wine heritage. In fact, Tasmania can claim to have founded both the Victorian and South Australian wine industries. Wine was commercially made and sold in Tasmania several years before vines were planted in either of those states, and was the source of their first vines, with a number of cuttings obtained from the Port Arthur colony in Southern Tasmania.
However, Tasmania’s wine industry didn’t really reach take off until 1974 when Dr Andrew Pirie established Pipers Brook Vineyard. By producing excellent wines and marketing them effectively, Pipers Brook vineyard brought Tasmanian wine to prominence in the minds of wine drinkers. Since then, their reputation has grown both domestically and internationally, gaining outstanding acclaim for their premium quality table and sparkling wines.
In many ways, the whole island of Tasmania is a wine zone. However, there is a broad division between Northern and Southern Tasmania, and within this division distinct viticultural areas exist, with a wide range of microclimates and soil types. Tasmania’s complex geography has helped produce wines of extensive diversity and character.
Central to the vineyard areas of Northern Tasmania is the city of Launceston, located on the banks of the Tamar River. The Tamar Valley lies to the north west of the city, and to the north east is Pipers Brook and Pipers River. These combined areas are commonly referred to as the Tamar Valley Wine Route. The area is a mix of players from large companies such as BRL Hardy’s Bay of Fires, and Yalumba’s Jansz Wine Company, to smaller wineries producing much sought after premium wines.
The outstanding grape varieties are Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir, with a special note being made towards Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer. Alongside its contribution to the high quality table wine market, this area also produces what are possibly Australia’s best sparkling wines.
Southern Tasmania incorporates wine areas within easy reach of the state capital, Hobart. Top quality vineyards and wineries grace the Derwent Valley, Coal River Valley, Huon Valley and D’ Entrecasteaux Channel. As you might expect with Tasmania’s distinctly seasonal, cool climate, vineyards need to be carefully located for maximum exposure to the sun, and protection from the cold southerly winds. Tending to reside around rivers and bays, the grapes experience the tempering effects of large bodies of water. Very much like the North, key grape varieties are Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir with small patches of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The Pinot Noir is of particular high quality providing complex and rich refined wines.
Specific Regions and Localities
North West – south of Devonport
Tamar Valley – along the valley north of Launceston
Pipers River – on the Georgetown to Bridport road
East Coast – between Bicheno in the north, and east of Sorell
Coal River – between Cambridge and north of Colebrook
Derwent Valley – between Hamilton and Hobart
Southern – between Kingston and Southport
Wine Touring Routes
Tamar Valley Wine Route
Southern Wine Route
East Coast Wine Route
North West Wine Route
A family owned and operated business, they have extensive experience through consistently providing a quality taxi and touring service since 2000. They love the Tamar Valley Wineries as they produce some very classy wines in superb panoramic locations and. The owners, Terry and Gillian, have shared the passion and the story that is part of each vineyard with hundreds of visitors from interstate and overseas, not to mention the pleasure of showcasing beautiful and unique Tasmanian scenery in and around the Tamar Valley.
There’s no better way to introduce yourself to the wonderful cool-climate wines of Tasmania than to embark on an exclusively Tasmanian wine experience at the Gasworks Cellar Door. Located in the heart of Hobart’s colourful dock precinct, at the Gasworks Cellar Door you will meet some of the characters who have shaped the island’s wine-growing heritage: dating back to Captain Bligh of “The Bounty” fame – the grapes we grow and the places we grow them – and gain a unique insight into how perfectly hand-crafted wines and fine local produce complement each other.