Tasmania’s wine regions offer tales as long and storied as the estates growing the grapes.
Cellared across the island are not just cool-climate wines but also the stories behind them, from ripping yarns of innovation to family tales across generations. Expect to meet humble, passionate winemakers at Tasmania’s unique vineyards along these wine trails.
Southern Wine Trail
Cellar doors abound through the fertile Coal River Valley and Derwent Valley just north of Hobart, forming part of the Southern Wine Trail. Drop into Pooley Wines for tastings with weekend wood-fired pizza, or Frogmore Creek for lunch with valley and vineyard views. In the Derwent Valley, stop for tastings and an Italian meal in a Tuscan-inspired setting at Stefano Lubiana, or a tasting and lunch at Derwent Estate, reaping the benefits of vines grown over an old limestone quarry.
A relatively new arrival in the south is Mewstone Wines, on the site of a former cherry orchard, with a spectacular cellar door overlooking the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and open for private tastings. Winemaker Jonathan Hughes spent seven years with Moorilla (one of Tasmania’s oldest wineries, onsite at Mona before moving to Mewstone with his brother, Matthew, where they focus on small-scale chardonnay, syrah and riesling. For a more experimental experience, try Mewstone’s natural wines or the 2021 Co-Lab Cider, made with apples from Old Twelfth.
In the Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula region, look for Cape Bernier, where you can enjoy a glass of single-estate pinot noir while gazing over Marion Bay. And the stories continue at the Bangor Vineyard Shed, set on a multi-generational farm with a long history; it's the site where Dutch explorer Abel Tasman made his only landing in Tasmania in 1642.
Sample some of these southern drops and more at Spring in the Vines (3–5 November), when local vineyards fling open their doors for a weekend of unique tastings, tours and wine-inspired events.
Tamar Valley Wine Trail
The Tamar Valley is Tasmania's oldest and best-known wine-growing area neighbouring Launceston in northern Tasmania. Robert Heywood, chief winemaker at Clover Hill Wines, has no doubt it’s “the best New World wine region for growing sparkling in the world”. Clover Hill is renowned for its award-winning sparkling made according to methode traditionelle, and Heywood says he “can’t think of a better climate in the Southern Hemisphere”. With an expansive view over the vines, the cellar door at Pipers River has the perfect vantage to appreciate both the wine and the landscape.
At Delamere Vineyards, a family-run winery focusing exclusively on chardonnay and pinot noir, the stable climate and hours of sunshine make for ideal growing conditions. “The frosty and sometimes wild conditions of winter give way to clear, crisp, blue-sky days through the growing season,” says owner-winemaker Fran Austin, “and this allows the fruit to ripen slowly and evenly, assuring the lingering acidity essential to producing premium cool-climate wines.”
Head to Effervescence Tasmania Sparkling Wine Festival (10–12 November) alongside more than 1200 fellow wine enthusiasts, and work your way through the region’s finest fizzing drops. Enjoy Yoga in the Vines, Bubbles & Beats and other special sparkling events, on site at state-of-the-art Josef Chromy Wines in Relbia.
East Coast Wine Trail
As one of Australia’s oldest family-owned businesses, Gala Estate has plenty of stories to tell. The original family farm in Cranbrook, settled in 1821, is still running. Co-owner Grainne Greenhill says, “having lived on this land for 200 years, let’s just say our family knows a little bit about this place.” From wrangling escaped convicts to successfully farming sheep and grain, the family property continues to evolve. “We have selected 11 hectares of the very best steep ironstone north-facing slopes from our 4000-hectare property,” says Greenhill. "With our four wild rivers and five private forest reserves, we understand our soil, vines, the climate and nature. We listen to the land and give back to it."
Gala Estate is one of a cluster of half-a-dozen vineyards around Cranbrook. The stories are literally etched in stone at family-owned Spring Vale Vineyards, where the cellar door is found inside a stable built by convicts in 1842. Nearby Craigie Knowe is the east coast’s oldest vineyard – grapes were planted here in 1979. The cellar door at Devil’s Corner is as much about storeys as stories – ascend the timber-clad lookout tower for elevated views of Freycinet Peninsula.
Great Eastern Wine Week (September) celebrates the talents of winemakers in the area. It’s worth popping into the festival’s various wine masterclasses, degustation dinners and other quirky vineyard events dotted along the east coast. Another must-do is Bicheno Food and Wine Festival (18 November). Fuel up on fine food beside a bold-blue sea and be sure to keep the drinks flowing.
North West Wine Trail
With Cradle Mountain as its backdrop, Tasmania’s north west is a super-scenic winemaking area. Among the cellar doors here is Ghost Rock Wines, just a 15-minute drive from the Spirit of Tasmania terminal in Devonport. The wine room and eatery here capture sweeping views of the vineyards, rolling countryside and Bass Strait (the body of water separating Tasmania from the rest of Australia). Ghost Rock is a 27-hectare family vineyard, under the stewardship of the second generation, producing wines with minimal intervention from hand-planted and hand-tended vineyards.
Inspired by their time in Emilia-Romagna in their early twenties, Marcus and Gail Burns have turned La Villa Wines into a little piece of Italy in Spreyton – including Italianate architecture in the main villa. Established in 2010, La Villa focuses on low-yield premium fruit with current plantings including pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay, nebbiolo and savagnin.
On the beautiful backroads between Latrobe and Sassafras, Eastford Creek winery occupies a rocky outcrop overlooking Rob and Sue Nichols’ family farm. The old pumpkin shed and granary here have been converted into a sassy cellar door, where you can sip your way into some cool-climate Tasmanian pinot noir, sparkling white, chardonnay, pinot gris or summery rosé.
Near Eugenana, a short hop south-west of Devonport, unpretentious Prickly Mo occupies a 120-year-old shearing shed and farm barn. There are more musicians than shearers here these days, setting up their acoustic guitars alongside the beanbags on the grassy terrace. A glass of chardonnay, some live tunes and food-van offerings will perfectly round out your weekend.
Leven Valley Vineyard spreads itself across the hillsides near Gunns Plains, about 20 minutes south-west of Ulverstone. This is a place to roll out a rug and relax – uncap a bottle of pinot noir or chardonnay, lift the lid of your BYO picnic basket and let the valley views do the heavy lifting. Rooted in the region’s deep clay loam and limestone terroir, the vines here are lovingly hand-tended and nurtured.