Few things come close to an awesome wine tour with good company. It’s something a little different, always memorable and extremely fun. The only trick is knowing when to go, and importantly when to go.
When to go really depends on your reason for visiting a winery. If it’s for the festive mood of hop scotching through a time-honoured vineyard and cellar, the best time to give it a go is the peak of summer. If, however, you're a bit more of a connoisseur, the best time to go tasting is winter. That's because the cooler temperature is more favourable to maintaining a premium wine’s quality. All that said, the most important thing you want to consider is where you’re going to go.
Tasmania’s wine route runs north to south close to the east coast. Along this route, you’ll find a huge number of wineries and vineyards, that it can be tricky knowing where to visit, especially if you’re stretched for time! In this article we’ll touch on five of our favourite Tasmanian wineries that we frequent on our regular food and wine tours.
Tasmanian Wine History.
First, a little history! Tasmania has a rich legacy of winemaking, in fact, Tasmania is the home of Australian wine, and because of that, it has some of the best established wineries in the country. Tasmanian wine did take a bit of a knock in the mid 1800s. This was due to the “gold rush” in Victoria, which saw a mass exodus of vineyard workers to mainland Australia in pursuit of riches. Added to this, laws were passed that banned the production of wines and spirits. A lull that lasted about a century led to Tasmania’s wine legacy falling into obscurity, but in 1956, Jean Miguet and his Providence vineyard lead the charge in reviving the heritage. Following his pioneering efforts, many others threw their hats back in the wine game, ushering in a sort of renaissance of Tasmanian wine.
With all that fancy history out of the way, let's get you up to speed with the state of wine in Tasmania. As mentioned, there are dozens of awesome wineries along the Tasmanian wine route, but unless you have all the time (and money) in the world, you won't be visiting each one of these in one experience.
Because of this, we’ve come up with 5 of our favourite Tasmanian wineries and what's so great about them.
Top 5 Tasmanian Wineries.
Bay of Fires Winery
Bay of Fires Winery is one of the northernmost wineries in Tasmania. Tucked away in the Piper’s River wine region, Bay of Fires specialises in cool climate viticulture, thus producing tart, light bodied whites and elegant red wines.
The winery is operated by a team of dedicated winemakers with both a passion for the craft and an in depth knowledge of the science behind wine.
As for activities, Bay of Fires has a fully stocked hosting facility catering to events and functions such as weddings, parties and corporate gatherings. But for you, an intrepid wine tourer, Bay of fires offers tasting of its premium wines, paired with locally produced cheeses. This is offered through the Piper’s River Cellar Door, which houses many varieties of wine from the Piper’s River region.
Continuing with the tradition of cool climate winemaking, inherent in Tasmania’s viticulture is the Jansz Winery. Famed for their elegant sparkling wines, this winemaker draws its inspiration directly from the Mecca of cool climate wines and sparkling wines, Champagne in France. It has been in full operation since 1997 after it was purchased by the Hill-Smith family.
You’ll notice many of the themes and motifs at the Jansz winery call back to the traditional French heritage. Beyond the surface, the very methods themselves behind Jansz winemaking are adapted from the French viticulture manifesto, dubbed “Méthode Tasmanoise”, the Tasmanian method. This name ties in to a deeper history as Janszoon Tasman was the Dutch explorer who first explored the previously untouched island in 1642.
Right next to the vineyard is the Jansz Wine Room. It is here where you’ll get an opportunity to sample the premium selection of light bodied and sparkling wines produced here. Don’t skip the sparkling wine selection as this is really the main event here!
Clover Hill Winery
Famed for its exquisite Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier Cuvées making, Clover Hill is a true gem in the crown of Australian wine. Just like Jansz winery, Clover Hill has adopted the time-honoured “Méthode Traditionnelle”, developed in the Champagne region of France.
The vineyard stretches over 22 hectares of the cascading hills of Piper’s River. Nourished off a soil imbued with all the good stuff for excellent viticulture and paired with the cooling whiffs of a coastal climate, Clover Hill successfully marries the science and art of fine wine making.
The experience provided by Clover Hill Cellar Door is second to none. The exquisite design blends seamlessly with the scenic majesty of the valley below. And of course there is the wine as well. Take advantage of the opportunity to sample Clover Hill’s finest and maybe grab a bottle or two.
The Clover Hill experience offers more than just a once off trip. The Wine Club benefits its members with discounts and special invites to some of Australia’s most exclusive food and wine events.
Goaty Hill Winery
Goaty Hill is situated in Kayena, Tasmania on the west bank of the Tamar River. This exquisite winery is nestled in a scenic rolling landscape framed by the Tamar. The estate is owned and run by two families and a dedicated staff. The Tasmanian tradition of cool climate viticulture is strong here, but just as strong is Goaty Hill connection with the local culture. This can be experienced through the cellar door live entertainment offerings featuring local artists.
Speaking about the cellar door, Goaty hill offers more than just a wine tasting experience. The food selection is second to none and is crafted with wine pairing in mind. A gourmet selection is on offer and rightfully so. A good wine is good, but a good wine with good food is excellence. Indulge your senses in the authentic sites and sounds while sampling some of Australia’s best wine offerings.
Goaty hill is a perfect stop when it comes to exploring the Tamar Valley region, but you can all the same enjoy a full day’s function at the winery.
Holm Oak Vineyards
Last but not least we have Holm Oak Vineyards. This cool climate winery has been run by husband and wife team Rebecca and Tim Duffy. With decades of experience as qualified viticulturists behind them, they’ve embarked on a literal labour of love since 2013. The craftsmanship behind each bottle speaks volumes more than can be contained.
Holm Oak Vineyards are located in the Tamar Valley. This bountiful land is a wine grower’s paradise. The rich fertile soils are ever ready to bestow their nutrient dense qualities on the grapes while the Tamar River provides as nourishing and sustained source of water. Aside from that practical significance of the Tamar valley to wine growing, the views are to die for!
Believe it or not, but the site of Holm Oak Vineyards was once the site of Holm Oak tree cultivation, intended for the manufacturing of tennis rackets. Unfortunately, or fortunately, that didn’t quite take off. Skip several decades and you now have some of the finest wines in Australia.
Holm Oak Vineyard also believes in sustainable agriculture, a principle they put into practice with their growing methods. By employing organic and soft chemical use, Holm Oak is taking steps to becoming more and more sustainable in the future.
The tasting experience is what you're really here for and Holm Oak most certainly doesn't disappoint. With an offering of 9 wines to taste on any given day, there is something for everyone (if you’re above legal age of course). Added to the general cellar door tasting, Holm Oak also offers wine flights, an opportunity for true connoisseurs to gain a deeper appreciation for the craft and commitment behind each bottle.
Whether it's for a feel good day trip or you have a fancy occasion planned, these wineries provide an excellent getaway from the hustle and bustle of the urban grind. The rolling landscape streaked with meandering waterways is an experience unto itself, but with good food, wine and company it becomes a timeless memory.
You can experience these wineries and many more in Tasmania, and the best way to do that is through day and half day tour packages. It’s also a good thing to look into the various wine clubs and see what benefits you might be able to net as a member.
Contact us today to book your Tasmanian Wine Tour!