Tasmania now Australia’s top wine tourism region

Two winery restaurants deserve a special mention in despatches: Josef Chromy Restaurant, just south of Launceston, and ‘Osteria’, at Stefano Lubiana, just outside Hobart.

Tribal art at MONA

The cellar door at Josef Chromy Wines has been named one of Australia’s top ten, and attracts 55,000 visitors a year. The wines are excellent (the 2016 Gewürztraminer having won gold at the Tasmanian Wine Show), while top Kiwi chef Nick Raitt, who was lured down from Sydney in September, has raised restaurant standards to a new level via the likes of kangaroo bolognaise.

Steve Lubiana is one of Tasmania’s most talented winemakers, and the only one whose vineyards are certified biodynamic. He is best known for his Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, although his sparkling wines are also top-notch. Wife Monique presides over Osteria, which has lovely views over the Derwent. All fruit and vegetables come from their biodynamic kitchen garden, while they only serve humanely-farmed meat and line caught fish, resulting in first-class cuisine.

A windmill near Cataract Gorge

From Osteria, it’s a short drive to the Moorilla Estate, where MONA (Museum of Old & New Art) is situated. Part of a £90m development, they are a must-visit. If Moorilla’s most interesting wine is its Syrah from the St. Matthias vineyard, a rare spot in Tasmania where this grape will ripen, MONA’s attractions are manifold.

Housing antiquities and modern art collected by Moorilla’s owner, David Walsh, who describes the windowless museum as a “subversive adult Disneyland”, MONA is largely built underground into cliffs on the Berriedale Peninsula.

MONA is linked by ferries from Hobart, seven miles away. Two hotels with an ideal central location in the capital are The Old Woolstore and Hadley’s Orient.

The former specialises in modern apartment-style accommodation while the latter, which was built by convict labour, offers comfortable heritage-style rooms. Both have fine views over the harbour.

The quaint town of Richmond, half an hour’s drive northeast of Hobart, is home to the attractive cellar door of Pooley Wines.

Three generations of the Pooley family have been involved in the business, with the latest, Anna, currently crafting a superbly elegant range that includes Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Not far away in Cambridge, the Riversdale Estate winery offers accommodation as well as a French bistro. Up the road near Campania, Domaine A manages to ripen some high-grade Cabernet Sauvignon.

Other wineries worth a visit include Holm Oak and Goaty Hill near Launceston, as well as Home Hill and Derwent Estate near Hobart. Finally, no trip to Tasmania’s wine regions would be complete without a stop-off at Freycinet Vineyard near Bicheno on the scenic east coast.

There, Claudio Radenti fashions some of the island’s best Pinot Noir, also crafting Riesling, Chardonnay and sparkling wine of the highest quality.

As Louisa Rose put it succinctly, “Tasmania is just starting to realise its potential, with regional diversity there increasing. For a long time, contract winemakers were making the wine. Now vineyards are expressing themselves, and local winemakers are doing the same, with intricacies of wines becoming apparent.”

The latest Nielsen figures speak for themselves. While 93% of Australian wine sells nationally for under $AUD15 (nearly £10), 100% of Tasmanian wines sell for $15 or more.

One Response to “Tasmania now Australia’s top wine tourism region”

  1. julie hextall says:

    Nice promotion of Tasmania and its wine industry. Intriguef by photo of ‘windmill near the Cataract Gorge’. Pretty sure this windmill is not in Launceston. There is a windmil near the Cataract Gorge at Joe Chromy’s Gunpowder Mill but this isn’t it. Even the birds look foreign. Great piece otherwise.

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