Southern Tasmania

Tasmania

About

The fertile farmlands of Southern Tasmania are responsible for a range of award-winning wines and coveted fresh produce. A cool climate with mild summers has long helped to produce world-class wines, including pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris. Cooler than Northern Tasmania, producers here are known for their zippy and textural wines, like those in the Huon Valley.

A fuse of vineyards and orchards punctuate Southern Tasmania, where red and white varieties are well suited, thanks to the rich soils and dramatic rocky setting. The stunning views of dolerite-capped mountains also provide an inspiring backdrop for wining and dining.

Expect clear waters, a stunning coastal scene and standout produce from Hobart and its southern surrounds. Foodies and wine lovers must detour via the Southern Wine Route to include the Huon Valley, plus the Derwent and Coal River to browse the welcoming cellar doors and sample the regional wine styles offered for tasting.


James Halliday on Southern Tasmania


If Jean Miguet was the modern-day harbinger of viticulture in the north, Claudio Alcorso filled the role in the south when he planted vines on the banks of the Derwent River in 1958, thus founding Moorilla Estate. He did so not knowing Miguet had beaten him by two years, but shared with Miguet the scorn of the state Department of Agriculture, and the difficulty of self-taught winemaking with no one to turn to for advice in the early years. It was not until the second half of the 1970s that Moorilla Estate realised the potential it always had.

The other 20th-century pioneer in the south was George Park who, like Miguet, worked for the Hydro Electric Commission. Together with wife Priscilla, he planted a half-hectare vineyard at Campania in the Coal River area in 1973. Into this small area they crammed cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, shiraz, zinfandel, riesling, traminer, sylvaner and four other varieties. Stoney Vineyard, as it was called, produced some lovely, long-lived wines (including a spicy, perfumed zinfandel), and showed that the very dry Coal River/Richmond area could easily accommodate late-ripening varietals.

Today the vineyard is the kernel of a much-expanded Domaine A, where Swiss-born and trained Peter Althaus and wife Ruth produce Tasmania’s most distinguished cabernet sauvignon [note: Moorilla Estate purchased Domaine A in February 2018, with Peter Althaus retiring]. The arrival of water for irrigation transformed the previously precarious business of grapegrowing in this part of Tasmania, which is now growing at a pace close to that of the north, albeit from a much smaller base. The dry climate is also conducive to organic and biodynamic viticulture, led by Frogmore Creek’s Tony Scherer.

To the north-east is a string of four coastal or near-coastal wineries around Bicheno, with the natural amphitheatre of Freycinet providing a local site climate which caused the eminent climate researcher Dr John Gladstones to shake his head in admiration when he visited it in the 1990s.

Facts

Wineries 87
Tasting Notes 2373

Geographic

Latitude 42°45’S (Hobart)
Altitude 50–175 m
Heat Degree Days 1013
Growing Season Rainfall 360 mm
Mean January Temp 16.8°C
Harvest April to early June