Researching Tasmania Wines

Part 1:

Since we won’t have the luxury of time to take in Tasmania, I want to do as much research as possible on the wine industry there before we go. I haven’t tried any Tasmanian wines before, and I don’t think the wines are that much marketed/distributed outside of Australia but I’m excited that we might get the chance to uncover some really outstanding wines. 🙂 Part of my research involves looking at whether the wines can be found in Singapore say; if so, then we could just bypass the vineyard and buy the bottles directly from the stores to try, and spend more time on vineyards whose wines we wouldn’t otherwise be able to taste.

Some facts:
– “Tasmania’s first vineyard was planted at New Town, a Hobart suburb, in 1823. In 1848, its white wine won an award at the Paris Exhibition.”

The wine industry in Tasmania has exploded: In 1986, there were 47 ha of grape production. In 2000, 507 ha. In 2008, 1315 ha.

– Pinot Noir is the dominant grape, with approximately 46% of the total grape varieties in Tasmania. Chardonnay takes up ~23% and Riesling ~10%

Chardonnay is the key white but riesling is the excitement machine

– Tamar Valley is the largest wine producing area in Tasmania

– “The best wineries, like Meadowbank and Moorilla, easily sell all of their stock through a combination of cellar door sales, restaurant wine programs, and in some cases, domestic retail distribution. For most of these boutique producers (and almost every winery in Tasmania qualifies as boutique), shipping to the U.S. is cost-prohibitive and unnecessary.

Winners of the 2009 Tas Wine Show


Tamar Valley
The Tamar Valley/Pipers Brook area is the oldest wine region in Tasmania. More than 20 cellar doors are located along the wine route tour that stretches from Launceston, to Beaconsfield, east to Pipers River and south to Relbia.
maps_north

Providence: Tasmania’s oldest vineyard. Website looks very early 1990s. Free tastings.

Brook Eden: Free tastings. Wines appear to have won a bunch of awards.

Jansz Tasmania: Widely distributed world-wide (US, Indonesia, but not Singapore, Hong Kong, or China); known for its sparkling wines.

Dalrymple: Distributed in NZ, Australia, UK, and the US (Negociants USA). Wines have won quite a few awards.

Delamere Vineyard: “An essential stop for the discerning wine buff. Come and try our 26-year-old estate grown Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sparkling Wine and meet the new owners – passionate and professional and part of the new breed of young winemakers in Tasmania.” Wah, got to separately contact the winery for distribution contacts.

Three Wishes: Very small family-run vineyard; only 3 Ha (~500-700 cases). Might be fun to visit if time permits.

Tamar Ridge Wines: Widely distributed to UK, US, Canada, Japan, Singapore (Crystal Wines), Hong Kong.

Goaty Hill: Small winery – looks like only one vintage so far. Run by two families who moved from Victoria. Might be fun to visit if time permits.

Moores Hill: Small vineyard with award winning Riesling.

Stony Rise: Started by a former wine buyer; small only 4 ha (3 ha of Pinot Noir). Looks fun to visit.

Pirie Tasmania: Sister vineyard of Coombend, Rosevears Estate, and Tamar Ridge. Has distribution in the US, Hong Kong. Its sister vineyard, Rosevears, offers accommodation. 🙂

Velo Wines: Owned by former Tour d’France cyclist, Micheal Wilson, the name Velo means ‘bicycle’ in French. Could visit if time permits.

Taltarni: Wines are widely distributed in the US, and across Asia, including Singapore (Cornerstone).

Grey Sands: Tiny vineyard, only 3.5 Ha. Wines look good though, with pretty rave reviews.

Humbug Reach (by appointment only): Tiny new winery; website is not even up yet; might be cool to check out.

Piper’s Brook: A quick search on Wine Spectator brought up this winery; they have some highly rated wines. This was the winery that the Aussie chap at the Xi Yan dinner was enthusiastically recommending as well. I guess this was one of the earliest wineries established on the island. Back in 1999, Wine Spectator reported that the “winery accounts for almost half of Tasmania’s roughly 278,800-case production. This is the only Tasmanian winery with a large export focus so far; its Pipers Brook and Ninth Island labels are sold in the U.S. market.

maps_south

Hobart
The south of Tasmania boasts several sub-regions that make up the southern wine route. From the scattering of vineyards located en route to the beautiful and picturesque Derwent Valley, to the abundance of vineyards in the Coal River Valley region just 15 minutes from Hobart, to the Huon and Channel vineyards – the lush, agricultural hub of the south … the maritime city of Hobart is surrounded by vines in nearly all directions.

Coal Valley (by appointment): Coal Valley distributes its wines to Canada

Frogmore Creek: This winery has a number of Australian distributors, as well as several international contacts in the US (California and Utah), Korea. It also has an export partner. French-born wine maker who was trained in the Loire Valley. Comes highly rated by James Halliday; wine won a whole bunch of awards at the 2009 Tas Wine Show too.

Puddleduck (near Hobart): Wines only available through website, mail order, and the telephone. Not sure how many cases are produced each year. Seems like a quirky, down-to-earth, fun family vineyard.

Pooley Wines: Wines are distributed only in Australia. One of the older wineries in Tasmania – founded in 1985.

Domaine A: “Frequently compared to the great wines of the world, Domaine A/Stoney Vineyard are wines made for the classicist. The Domaine A Cabernet Sauvignon has now joined the list of Australia’s Top 100 Wines for the Langton Classification, the first red wine to do so.” The wine is distributed in Canada, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Stefano Lubiana Wines (by appointment): “Tasmania’s benchmark producer of top quality sparkling and still wines. Highly sought after and very limited. Lubiana strives for perfection and detail, and boasts a family winemaking legacy for over 200 years.” Janice’s friend was raving to me about this wine on Sunday. Seems to be distributed in Australia only.

Derwent Estate: Wines seemed to have picked up quite a few awards; distributed in Australia only. Interestingly, there is another newly established winery, Laurel Bank Vineyard, which linked to Derwent, along with Stefano Lubiana and Moorilla. I’d be interested to see if they have the same shareholders. Derwent has daily hours, while Laurel Bank is by appointment only.

Moorilla Estate: Established in 1958. The estate also brews its own beers.

Home Hill Winery: Pinot Noirs have won awards.

Bream Creek: Already has distribution in Singapore (Top8wines), Sweden, and Malaysia.

Clemens Hill: Wines have picked up a bunch of awards; noted by James Halliday. Seem to be distributed just within Australia.

Other Areas

Freycinet: Their wines picked up a bunch of awards at the 2009 Tas Wine Show. Distributors in Tasmania and Adelaide only. Winery is on the east coast, between Hobart and Tamar Valley. Worth the visit if we can find the time.

* Note: Italicized wineries are the must visits; those scratched out we probably don’t have time to visit, though it would be helpful to have them on our radar.

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