Tasmania’s Iconic Wineries

The Iconic Wineries

Domaine A & Stoney Vineyard

Peter Althaus’ Domaine A made a powerful impression, not just for the quality of the wines, but for the determined championing of Bordeaux varieties in a place where they had been extensively tested, and had largely come up wanting. Althaus is not one to be swayed by the opinions of others, though, and his plans resulted in startling successes. Swiss-born Althaus bought the Stoney Vineyard in 1989, which had its first vines planted in 1973, after an extensive worldwide search for a great cool climate site. What followed was a patient project that saw the pinnacle reds being released a decade after harvest, while his ‘Lady A’ sauvignon blanc redefined the grape when it was at a low ebb in the eyes of discerning drinkers. Pinot noir got just as much attention at Domaine A, with darkly hued, structured yet deftly poised wines a contrast to many being made at the time. Today, although Althaus has retired, returning to Switzerland, MONA/Moorilla’s David Walsh is ensuring the legacy continues for both Domaine A and Stoney Vineyard.

A: 105 Tea Tree Rd, Campania TAS 7026
Ph: (03) 6260 4174
W: domaine-a.com.au

Freycinet Vineyard

Claudio Radenti and Lindy Bull’s east coast winery is one of the few small Tasmanian makers that has been focused on producing their own wines onsite from early on – Radenti and Bull are both oenology graduates of Roseworthy. The vineyard was first planted to its unique sheltered amphitheatre in 1979 by Geoff and Susan Bull, Lindy’s parents. Their vineyard site is quite protected, making it a little bit of a heat trap in the cool climate, meaning they typically harvest earlier than most, and also weather cold vintages more readily than others. However, the wines, principally pinot noir, chardonnay and riesling, are classically fine and fragrant, with that little extra warmth not translated to weight, but just a ripeness of fruit, tannin and acidity. Sparkling wine fruit comes from a site further inland, which has a more continental climate. That wine bears the Radenti name.

A: 15919 Tasman Highway, Swansea TAS 7190
Ph: (03) 62 578 574
W: freycinetvineyard.com.au

Home Hill

Rosemary and Terry Bennett’s Huon Valley property Home Hill was planted to grapes in 1992, with pinot noir, chardonnay and sylvaner going in the ground. Those grapes were displacing apples, which is somewhat of a mirror of agriculture on the island – though plenty of apples are still grown, of course. Expanding to 6 hectares over time, Home Hill has collected an intimidating trove of wine show awards, including the 2015 Jimmy Watson for their 2014 Kelly’s Reserve Pinot Noir. The direction of the wines for almost the last decade has been guided by Gilli and Paul Lipscombe of Huon Valley rising star Sailor Seeks Horse. The Lipscombes began in the notoriously difficult 2011 vintage, and over time have imbued the still-powerful wines with new levels of graceful detail. Home Hill also boasts a significant cellar door with an acclaimed restaurant and events/weddings facilities, too.

A: 38 Nairn Rd, Ranelagh TAS 7109
Ph: (03) 6264 1200
W: homehillwines.com.au

Moorilla Estate

Claudio Alcorso was one of Tasmanian wine’s great pioneers, with his Moorilla Estate first planted in 1958, two years after Jean Miguet planted vines. Alcorso had emigrated from Italy in the 1930s, eventually buying the outcrop of land on the northern outskirts of Hobart that would become his home and that of Moorilla Estate, and later, after his time, MONA. Alcorso was originally a textile merchant, and he founded the iconic Australian brand Sheridan. Against the best advice, he planted vines, rather than apples, importing vine cuttings of riesling from South Australia. Alcorso later acquired the St Matthias vineyard near Launceston in 1993. The estate fell on hard financial times a few years later, with David Walsh famously acquiring it in 1995. Today, Alcorso’s little peninsula is now Tasmania’s most famous cultural hub. For most of Walsh’s ownership, Canadian expat Conor van der Reest has been making the wines with a free hand at the winery. His focus, across a slew of varieties, is wines of texture and structure, “with new-world fruit and old-world complexity.” Today, along with the Estate and everyday Praxis labels, Domaine A and Stoney Vineyard are made under his supervision.

A: 651-655 Main Rd, Berriedale TAS 7011
Ph: (03) 6277 9960
W: moorilla.com.au 

Pipers Brook

Dr Andrew Pirie and his brother David founded Pipers Brook Vineyard in 1974. The location of that site was directed to a degree by the doctoral thesis in viticulture that Pirie was undertaking at the time. By what he regards as somewhat crude determining methods now, Pirie judged that location to be ideal for growing grapes for sparkling wine production. Whatever those methods, the results were sound, with sparkling wine under the Pirie banner (that label persists, but it is now made by Tamar Ridge) proving to be some of this country’s most significant examples; exemplary chardonnay, pinot noir and riesling also flew the flag for the nascent Tasmanian wine industry. Pirie left Pipers Brook in 2003, now making wine from his tiny “grand cru sparkling site” under the Apogee imprint. Pipers Brook is still going strong, though, under the ownership of Belgian company Kreglinger. Pipers Brook has stuck to its core principles, while the Ninth Island label provides more everyday options. The cellar door, with café, is one of Tasmania’s most popular.

A: 1216 Pipers Brook Road, Pipers Brook TAS 7254
Ph: 1800 444 077
W: kreglingerwineestates.com

Stefano Lubiana

Steve Lubiana is a fifth-generation winemaker, with his father a grower and maker in South Australia before him, and a family history stretching back further in Italy (Lubiana’s son Marco is continuing that tradition further with his own label). Planting a site near Granton overlooking the Derwent River estuary in 1990, Lubiana’s initial aim was to produce top-flight sparkling wine. Today, those benchmark examples nestle up against highly regarded still expressions of chardonnay and pinot noir, with single block and estate blends and the emblematic ‘Primavera’ bottlings, which celebrate the brighter side of things. The Austrian varieties blaufränkisch and grüner veltliner have joined the fray of late, complementing riesling, pinot gris, syrah, sauvignon blanc and a smattering of Bordeaux varieties. Lubiana also makes an amhora-raised white blend, with a nod to the wines of the Jura. The vineyard has been farmed with biodynamic principles since 2010, and they lay claim to be the first and only certified producer in Tasmania. The cellar door and much-loved osteria (open weekends only) are must visits.

A: 60 Rowbottoms Rd, Granton TAS 7030
Ph: (03) 6263 7457
W: slw.com.au

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