Known as the Tamar Valley, this renowned riverfront region pumps out some of our country’s top cool-climate drops. The Tamar boasts the best sparkling this side of Champagne, as well as superb whites like Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon Blanc. Red wine lovers won’t feel left out because several Tamar Valley vineyards are making waves with award-winning Pinot Noir.
But with 32 (and counting) wineries peppered along the Tamar Valley Wine Route, there are too many cellar doors to sample in a week—let alone one weekend. To help you plan your Tasmanian vino-drinking escapades, we’ve compiled a list of the top Tamar Valley wineries to try.
Whether you’re an oenophile out-of-towner seeking to savour Tassie’s finest plonk or a long-time local craving a new epicurean adventure, this post is for you.
The Tamar Valley Wine Trail
Before we start sipping through our favourite Tamar Valley wines, we’ll cover the essential info on this world-renowned viniculture region.
Tamar Valley Location
The Tamar Valley straddles the Tamar River, stretching from the city of Launceston to the windswept estuary at the Bass Strait.
To help tourists explore this prime wine-growing region, the local government created The Tamar Valley Wine Trail. This 170km paved route meanders past the top vineyards on both sides of the river—you’ll find a smorgasbord of superb wineries on the east and the west.
There’s no need to explore the whole trail. Most travellers simply pick and choose their preferred venues (2-4 in a day is ideal).
Self Drive Tours
If you’re coming from Launceston, the nearest Tamar Valley vineyards are a 20-minute car trip away. Expect to drive for about an hour to reach your first cellar door if you’re cruising from Devonport.
To get a real feel for the entire Tamar Valley wine region, pop into your favourite western wineries before crossing east over the Batman Bridge. On the eastern side of the river, scenic mountain roads lead you to a slew of spectacular vineyards famed for their delectable sparkling whites.
Most Tamar wineries are accessible via sealed roads, ensuring a stress-free day trip in a hire car. Navigation is easy, just set your GPS or follow those ubiquitous yellow and blue “Tamar Valley Wine Route” signs.
The big downside of a self-drive trip to any wine-growing region is you need to stay under the limit. And when you’re cramming multiple world-class vineyards into one action-packed wine-swilling day, that’s no easy feat.
To quaff the good stuff without stressing about your BAC, we recommend signing up for an organised winery tour instead.
Tamar Valley Climate
The Tamar Valley is a world-renowned viniculture destination famous for its cool climate wines such as superb Sparkling and wonderful whites. Northern Tasmania’s frigid winters mean most reds don’t tend to do so well here, although the area does produce some excellent Pinot Noir.
The best time to visit is during the summer when you’re most likely to encounter clear blue skies. Autumn is a little cooler but offers the chance to glimpse some stunning ochre-hued foliage. Come during spring, and you’ll marvel at these vibrant vineyards at their luscious green best. In winter, cellar door excursions entail curling up by a crackling fire—a quintessential Tasmanian experience.
A cool temperate climate and nutrient-rich river-fed soil make Tamar the top wine-growing region in Tasmania. The fertile valley currently produces around 40% of the state’s premium quality wine.
The Top Five Tamar Valley Wineries
Bay of Fires Winery
One of the northernmost vineyards in the state, the Bay of Fires Winery resides in the Piper’s River locality, AKA the ‘sparkling region.’
While the producer does harvest vineyards near the actual Bay of Fires, the east coast’s famous orange-hued rocks (and numerous other Tasmanian locations), its cellar door is located right here in the Tamar.
This fertile, cool-climate locale has the ideal terroir for producing top-quality sparkling whites. Unlike most other wine-growers in the region, the team at Bay of Fires follow the Méthode Traditionnelle, a labour-intensive production style invented by the clever folks of Champagne several centuries ago.
Aside from its refined bubbly, Bay of Fires is renowned for its aromatic Riesling and smooth Pinot Noir.
It’s a popular spot, so don’t plan to rock up and start sipping. Tasting sessions must be reserved at least 24 hours in advance, and the limited slots fill up fast on weekends.
It’s worth the prior planning, though, as some cellar door experiences are akin to a masterclass in fine wine production. The manager himself runs these boozy 75-minute seminars, providing in-depth insight into the entire production process, from grape-growing to harvesting and the science of fermentation. Of course, guests get to sample each drop as it’s being discussed—for science, right?
If the masterclass approach appeals to you, Bay of Fires Winery runs sessions on Riesling and Chardonnay—pick your poison.
If you’d rather get straight into the swilling, the Tasmanian Explorer Tasting introduces the intricacies of Tasmanian terroir. You’ll examine soil samples and see interactive displays while savouring some of the vineyard’s signature wines in a seated 40-minute session.
True vinophiles could opt for the 70-minute Premium Arras Tasting session, which spans the label’s most prestigious vintage and non-vintage sparkling wines. If Pinot is more your jam, do the 75-minute Vertical Pinot Tasting instead to savour this easy-drinking light-bodied red.
Set amid dense atmospheric woodlands and immaculately manicured gardens, it’s a scenic spot to quaff top-shelf vino and nibble on locally produced cheese. Sleek modern architecture and sweeping river views complete the scene. To take full advantage of the lush terrain, it’s possible to combine your wine sampling session with a picnic or guided wildlife walk around the property.
The company operates under three distinct brands: Bay of Fires, Eddystone Point, and House of Arras. The latter is their premium label, which has won numerous awards and achieved international recognition.
Address: 40 Baxters Rd, Pipers River TAS 7252
Cellar Door Opening Hours: Thursday to Monday from 10am to 5pm
Clover Hill Wine
Much like Bay of Fires, Clover Hill resides in the Pipers River region and produces world-class sparkling whites. This well-established, 30-year-old wine-growing institution is one of the few Australian sparkling houses to exclusively follow the “Méthode Traditionnelle,” pumping out sublime sparkling whites that taste as good as genuine Champagne.
The idyllic cool-climate environment and a steadfast commitment to time-honoured traditions have made Clover Hill one of Australia’s top sparkling houses. The estate became inducted into the Australian Sparkling Hall of Honour in 2017 and has twice been awarded the Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year. It’s kind of a big deal.
In addition to these prestigious accolades, Clover Hill’s superb sparkling has been given the royal thumbs up. Tasmanian-born Princess Mary and her husband-to-be, Frederick, the Crown Prince of Denmark, slurped Clover Hill Vintage Brut during their 2004 wedding. In 2011, when Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh visited Australia, Clover Hill was one of just four iconic wines served to our esteemed guests. And if it’s good enough for Lizzy, it’s bound to be a winner.
Aside from sparkling, Clover Hill does fantastic Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier Cuvées—there’s a tasty variety for every palate.
The property is a scenic spot to sip. Spread over 22 hectares, its lush vines creep down undulated hills, framing epic views of the verdant valley below. The elegant venue has a chic clover-shaped cellar door overlooking the majestic scene, with ample indoor and outdoor seating.
As you’d expect, the in-house wine shop will gladly wrap up your favourite drop to takeaway. If you want to sip splendid sparkling indefinitely, its good-value wine club will ship the stuff straight to your door. Members get exclusive invitations to some of the country’s best wine events.
Should you happen to come during November, the estate hosts the main stage for Effervescence Tasmania, one of the state’s most prestigious wine-growing events.
As an iconic cellar door on the Tamar Valley Wine Route, Clover Hill is an essential pit stop for wine lovers exploring the eastern side of the river. And it’s especially attractive for anyone with a penchant for the bubbly stuff.
Address: 60 Clover Hill Rd, Lebrina TAS 7254
Cellar Door Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 11:30am to 4:30pm
In West Tamar between Beaconsfield and Exeter lies Loira Vines, a small-batch vineyard with a super friendly vibe. A charming husband and wife team tend to this five and a half-acre plot themselves, growing various 20-year-old grape varieties as well as Golden Delicious and Pink Lady apples.
The duo specialises in Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Shiraz, all of which go down a treat when paired with their scrumptious cheese platters. If you’re keen to quaff something different, ask them about their Red Frontignac and Fragola—few other regional growers attempt these lesser-known varieties.
Their vineyard is narrower than most, which forces the duo to nurture each vine by hand. This painstaking process is much more labour-intensive than the industrial methods used by the main players—it’s an authentic spot to quaff truly artisanal wine.
Of course, you’ll need some tasty tucker to line the stomach, and the venue doesn’t disappoint.
These self-confessed “one-trick ponies” offer one single dish: the Loira Vines platter. Ram-packed with a succulent selection of locally-made deli meats, fresh and dried fruits, baked cheese, and creamy dips, it’s one of the best grazing boards in the Tamar. Prior notice is essential so remember to book your platter the day before.
Should you tire of wine, the cellar door also offers tasty homemade ciders. Produced in-house from this season’s Pink Lady and Golden Delicious apples, their fully fermented ciders evoke fresh fruity flavours sans the sticky sugar residue you find in the mass-produced stuff. The duo also grows their own hops for their signature homebrew pale ale, which features an extra bitter finish to help cleanse the palate.
While many wine travellers overlook Loira Vines in favour of the bigger names, this charming little vineyard is a brilliant option if you crave a small-scale boutique experience.
Address: 3191 W Tamar Hwy, Loira TAS 7270
Cellar Door Opening Hours: Friday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm (other days by appointment)
Cabbage Tree Hill
Just outside Beaconsfield, Cabbage Tree Hill is famous for its lovely light Pinot Noir that really hits the spot.
While the Pinot is the star of the show, this family-run vineyard also does delicious Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Semillon Blanc.
But for many visitors, the small-scale winery stands out for its impeccable service and uber-friendly vibe. The husband and wife owners are passionate about their craft, going to great lengths to share the nitty-gritty details of their decade-long viniculture story.
The picturesque 53-acre block has lived numerous lives over the years. From a Chinese garden during the gold rush years to an iron ore tram serving the mines and a local horse racing track, the site plays a pivotal role in Beaconsfield history. The owners, who purchased the property in 2013, will gladly regale tales of its past and provide insightful info on their wine-growing pursuits.
The cellar door spans two distinct options. The Standard Tasting lets you slurp on a selection of five-to-eight wines, spanning a broad spectrum of varieties. If you love your light-bodied reds, give the Pinot Noir Vertical a go, which lets you sample four different vintages of their signature drop.
Tasty grazing boards include a wide range of locally sourced meats, cheese, and seafood—you’ll love the smoked salmon and lemon pepper jelly pâté. The working vineyard also hosts low-key events on most Sunday afternoons with performances from a local band.
True to its name, Tamar Ridge Winery sits perched on a lofty hilltop overlooking the river, an idyllic setting to imbibe fine wine and scoff down decadent cheese-laden platters.
Located just 20 minutes from Launceston on the west side of the Tamar River, this long-standing winery is super easy to access. Proximity, top-quality vino, tasty food, and its trademark gorgeous views make it a popular place to visit for Launceston locals, so don’t expect much serenity on the weekend.
The large-scale vineyard has been producing superb Pinot Noir for over 25 years, plenty of time to perfect the craft. If you’re keen to sample some spectacular Sparkling, order a bottle of the PIRIE range, a pinot-chardonnay blend that’s won numerous awards in recent years.
The cellar door tastings span several vintages of Sparkling and Pinot Noir, best accompanied by tapas-style snacks or a tasty cheese platter—their triple-cream brie goes down a treat. Sit outside to gaze out over the river if the weather’s warm. Otherwise, curl up by the fire inside.
Concerts and events occur throughout the year (check their website to see what’s on), and the cellar door sometimes doubles as a pop-up restaurant—the weekend Sparkling & Seafood lunches are a smash hit with the local set.
Book Your Tamar Valley Wine Tour Today
Let Luxury Golf & Scenic Tours Tasmania take you to the best Tamar Valley vineyards in one fun-filled outing.
Our One-Day Tamar Valley Wine Tour includes pick-up and drop-off at your Launceston (or surroundings), a premium wine tasting session at four well-regarded vineyards, and a gourmet lunch accompanied by a glass of—you guessed it—wine.