Tasmania has perfect climate for growing grapes and making wines with mild summers and long autumn days. Tasmania features elegant cool climate wines including pinot noir, riesling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, pinot gris, gewurztraminer and sparkling wines in both the Northern and Southern growing regions.
There are 3 main clusters of vineyards in the Southern growing region which encompasses the Hobart area:
- The Freycinet Peninsula northeast of Hobart
- Around Hobart including the Coal Valley and Derwent River
- South of Hobart around the Huon Valley and the d’Entrecasteaux Channel
We visited Freycinet Peninsula previously, so for this trip we focused on Coal Valley and Derwent River. Basically no matter which direction you drive from Hobart (as long as you don’t drive into the ocean) you will quickly reach a vineyard. We were hosting a cruise group on the Celebrity Solstice which sailed originally from Auckland, New Zealand and we only had a 1 day stop in Hobart. We’d been on the ship for about 1 week at this point, so did double duty on the day – taste wines and get some laundry done. So off the ship we went, grabbed an Uber to the car rental, dropped off some laundry, made a very quick trip to MONA ( see our previous blogs on MONA here and here ) and then off to taste some excellent Tasmanian wines.
First stop was Derwent Estates Wines, located right along the River Derwent which is seen in the background of the tasting room below and which we’re sure you’ll agree is fantastically charming. Several of these wines made it home to the states with us – where we recently opened the Calcaire Pinot Noir which is particularly stunning and by itself makes the entire trip to Hobart well worth it!
Next stop was Pooley Vineyards. Pooley is an award wining winery in the Coal River Valley. They have a very attractive and inviting tasting room so we decided it was time for a snack and ordered up a charcuterie platter to pair with the wines.
From Pooley we called over to Craigow to see if we could get an appointment. The owner Dr. Barry Edwards answered and told us he was working in the vineyard but could meet us in about an hour. We started heading that way, and along the way were driving past Every Man and His Dog vineyard. We didn’t have a lot of time but with a name like that and one of the cutest logos we’ve every seen – we just had to drop in.
It’s a very intimate operation and while we were pressed for time, Loretta made sure we had a great tasting along with a visit to the operations area with barrel room. It’s a great stop and as a bonus everyone gets a hug before they leave.
So we did finally make it to Craigow and were even almost on time! In 1989 Dr Barry Edwards and his family planted vines on the sunny slopes overlooking the Coal River. Previously the property was owned by a Scottish Doctor – James Murdoch who was granted the land in 1822 where it was developed over generations into a thriving country estate with cattle, sheep, and fruit orchards. Craigow is named after Dr Murdochs childhood home.
Barry is an extremely knowledgeable, passionate wine host. He poured for us some fantastic wines – hands down some of the best-crafted ones we tasted all week. Thanks to Barry for a wonderful experience at Craigow!
We weren’t done yet though! We had one final wine stop to make – and we still needed to pick up our laundry, drop off the rental car and get back to the ship before it set sail for Melbourne.
Our last stop was at Frogmore Creek. Frogmore creek has some very nice wines and a very cute restaurant. We wish we had more time and would have loved to eat here – but the clock was ticking and cruise ships don’t wait.
One of the challenges of wine tasting halfway around the world is how to get some of it home. We have a travel bag we use that holds a full case, but as we had more touring to do (Yarra Valley coming up in 2 days) we took advantage of a shipping service that allows you to create a mixed case of wine and have it sent to your home. So all day long we’d been purchasing bottles which we had inventoried by the nice folks at Frogmore and shipped home so we could relive our Tasmanian wine day over and over (well at least 12 times over!)
You have to be patient though, a case of wine is fairly heavy it takes a while to transport from Australia to the US. But no fear – after we’d been home a few weeks, we get a text message that our wine is in the states and a few days later it shows up on our doorstep.
Tasmania is the most southerly wine region for Australia. As a result the climate is cooler – more akin to Burgundy and Alsace which results in very expressive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It’s not easy to find Tasmanian wine in the US as it only represents 0.5% of Australia’s total wine production. No problem though – as you should not look for it in the store, you should look for it in Tasmania.
While we may not be wine experts – we are your expert travel advisors – if you wish to experience wine touring in Tasmania or anywhere else in the world – just call 262.538.2140