A wine-loving mofo’s guide to Tasmania
You've seen them in head-to-toe North Face on the Overland Track. Huddled by the firepit at a remote shack. Hanging out under glowing crosses at Dark Mofo. It's not your imagination –everyone seems to be in Tassie recently. But you know something they don't. Because the best reason to visit Tasmania isn't a certain museum. It's not luxury lodges on lakes. It's not even the mind-boggling wilderness. It's the wine.
If, like us, you plan your entire holiday around vineyards and wine bars, we’ve got you. We’ve been there, drunk that to bring you our Tasmanian wine itinerary. Happy travels, mofos.
Lead with Launie and the Tamar
An easy drive from the Spirit of Tasmania and a piddling one-hour flight from Melbourne, ‘Launie’ is the place to kick off your Tassie wine trail. It also happens to be the gateway to one of Australia’s best fine wine regions – the Tamar Valley. France can keep Champagne (for the time being); we have the Tamar, a cool-climate region producing slamming sparkling wines (not to mention rieslings, chardonnays, pinot noirs and more), with 30-plus vineyards from Relbia down south to Pipers River up north.
Start at Josef Chromy (10-minutes’ drive from the airport), named for its founder: a Czech refugee and local legend. Head on to Clover Hills Wines to sip Méthode Traditionelle in its lush cellar door; roll on to Jansz and Ed Carr’s House of Arras at Bay of Fires Wines for some of Australia’s best sparklings and mosey on to neighbours Sinapius and Delamere Vineyards for single-estate wines. Finish back in central Launceston at Havilah, a little wine bar founded by winemaker Ricky Evans with a huge line-up local wines and a crew who know their stuff.
Hit the East Coast
The East Coast has more to it than the Bay of Fires and Wineglass Bay (although don’t skip those). From Launceston, head to chilled St Helens and point the wheel south for a drive that’s all white-sand beaches, native forests and rolling landscapes. Oh, and wineries. Stop by Overtime cellar door in Bicheno to buy pinot noirs at Burgundy standards from Apsley Gorge Vineyard. Head inland to Freycinet Vineyard – the east coast’s first commercial winery and still the OG of the region. Next door is Devil’s Corner, where the team are busy knocking up a brand-spanking-new cellar door in time for summer. Carry on to Gala Estate in Cranbrook, where a seventh-generation farming family slings award-winning wines out of a cottage; and Milton Vineyard for lunch on the deck and aromatic wines. South of Swansea, score an appointment at Kelvedon Estate and wrap up your east coast trip at Cape Bernier, overlooking Marion Bay.
Cruise into the Coal River Valley
On your way inland to Hobart, you’ll cruise right into the Coal River Valley, wrapped around quaint little Richmond. Visit Pooley Wines’ sandstone cellar door outside Richmond, where third-generation winemaker Anna Pooley shows why she’s one of Tassie’s most exciting. Join half of Hobart for a long lunch at Frogmore Creek, paired with its four in-house wine labels. An absolute 'fo fav to check out is Riversdale Estate in Cambridge, since you're already just up the road. Think stunning pinot noir, and a traditional method sparkling we may have coming our way come spring.
Yes, there are actual ducks at Puddleduck Vineyard, but there’s also single-site pinot noir and chardonnay pouring at the laid-back cellar door. Coal Valley Vineyard delivers both on views and wines made with a hands-on approach. And at the area’s oldest winery, Domaine A, discover wines that take on France’s Bordeaux region at its own game. The valley is only 20-minutes out of Hobart, but pump the brakes and take it slow.
Finish up in Hobart
You’ve made it. The Tassie capital, the big smoke. There are vineyards closer to Hobart than any other Australian capital city. If you’ve got another day trip in you, carry on to Australia’s southernmost vineyards around the Huon Valley and D’Entrecasteaux Channel, like up-and-comer Mewstone, or head north–west to Derwent Valley faves like Home Hill and Stefano Lubiana Wines. But even after you’ve returned the rental car, you can still get your mitts on the best Tasmanian wine within city limits.
Moorilla (technically in the Derwent) might be best-known as Mona’s winery, but the vineyard is the second oldest in Tasmania. In Hobart proper, there’s Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers’ urban winery and Frogmore Creek’s Mac01 outpost.
Hobart’s small bars can also help you tick off all the wineries you didn’t hit on the road. The team behind crazy popular restaurant Templo started Sonny, with vinyl on the speakers and wine lists on blackboards. Lucinda, the offshoot of another legendary eatery Dier Makr, has earned its own cult following with lo-fi wines and local bites. In North Hobart you can surely tackle the epic wine list of Willing Bros. Wine Merchants.
Just don’t blame us if you accidentally, on purpose, end up missing your flight home…