When people talk about Australia wines, they often talk about Barossa, Adelaide, or the Yarra Valley. You typically do not hear much about Tasmania, which actually produces some spectacular wines that are slowly being discovered outside of Australia.
History and Climate of Tasmania
Tasmania is a cool-climate region. The climate is similar to some of the best wine regions in Europe that allow grapes to flourish during the mild summer months and into the long fall days that assist with ripening the grapes. The cool climate gives a long and late harvest season — typically during the month of April. An interesting note that while global warming is considered bad for the earth as a whole, the wine grapes in Tasmania have benefited. The effect of global warming has allowed the grapes to ripen slightly earlier, thereby opening the door for potentially producing red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Merlot.
It may come as a surprise to learn that Tasmania was actually one of the earliest planted wine regions. The first vineyards in both Victoria and South Australia were sourced from Tasmanian wine cuttings!
Tasmania Wine Regions and Types of Wines Produced
Obviously, the wines produced in Tasmania fall under the “cool climate” grapes that can prosper in these conditions. According to Wines of Tasmania, these include: Pinot Noir, sparkling wines, Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Gris.
Within Tasmania, the wine region is divided into distinct growing regions and tourist regions. There are seven different growing regions:
– North West
– Tamar Valley
– Pipers River
– East Coast
– Coal River
– Derwent Valley
To assist tourists visiting the region, there are four “wine experiences” to assist visitors. They are the north, which is also known as the Tamar Valley Wine Route, the south, east coast, and the north west coast.
Press and Recognition of Tasmanian Wines
Although still a bit of an undiscovered gem, Tasmanian wines are finding their way to other countries and are becoming quite popular in Asia. Wineries, like Josef Chromy, are helping to spread the word and export the wines to places outside of Australia.
For 2011, there is an upcoming Tasmanian Wine Show, the 21st annual to be exact, being held in Hobart on January 17 – 21. It will showcase Tasmanian wines and recognize the producers who have helped produce these high quality wines.
If you happen to have the opportunity to visit the Tasmanian wine region in person, you are likely going to meet many of the producers first hand — something that you may not be lucky enough to do after the region gains additional fame and wine makers start ramping up production!
For more information on the Tasmanian wine region, visit the official Wines of Tasmania website.