Northern Tasmania

Tasmania

About

Head out of Launceston bound for cellar doors and watch the landscape unfold with its wineries, farms and sweeping vistas.

Northern Tasmania’s vignerons are championing styles such as sparkling wine, pinot noir, riesling and chardonnay, with plantings of other reds too, including shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. Soak up the pristine setting of the Tamar Valley and Pipers Brook while enjoying premium wine tastings, a feast of fresh produce and gourmet experiences.

Tasmania’s oldest wine-growing area also offers golf courses, bushwalking trails and plenty of beautiful locations to set up a picnic with a hamper full of the region’s finest.


James Halliday on Northern Tasmania


All of the recorded grapegrowing and winemaking activity in the 19th century took place in the south of the state. From the 1890s to the mid-1950s there was no activity in either north or south; it was the official view of the Tasmanian Department of Agriculture that the island was unsuited to commercial wine grapegrowing. A Frenchman, Jean Miguet, working with the Hydro Electric Commission, had other ideas and between 1956 and 1960 planted 1.3 hectares at his La Provence vineyard (he came from Provence) at Lalla, just to the north-east of Launceston. He returned to France in 1974, and died there. Another 20 years passed, and the ever-vigilant French authorities got wind of the name, forcing a change to Providence.

By 1984, the Pipers Brook area had six vineyards, the Tamar Valley had 11 and the East Coast three (out of a state total of 31). The entire state produced 240 tonnes of wine grapes that year; within another 20 years, the crush had risen to just under 6400 tonnes from about 100 wineries. The two major wineries in the north, Pipers Brook and Tamar Ridge, have 182 and 240 hectares of vines respectively, and Tamar Ridge in particular has aggressive plans for further expansion.

It hardly needs be said that the north of the state is indeed suited to viticulture and the production of fine wine. The east side of the Tamar River, the Pipers River area, the north-west coast and the north-east corner near Waterhouse (to be developed by Tamar Ridge) offer a range of terroir and climate as diverse as the southern half of Victoria, ripening every variety from chardonnay and pinot noir to shiraz and cabernet sauvignon.

Nor will anyone the least bit familiar with Tasmania be surprised by the ever-changing but always beautiful landscape; those vineyards facing the Tamar River offer breathtakingly beautiful vistas.

The atmosphere of the Pipers River area is very different, much being undulating and forested, the undergrowth lush and the roadside grass remaining green for most of the year. It was indeed Andrew Pirie’s observation of the last feature, which was one of the factors that led him to establish Pipers Brook Vineyards here. The green of bush and vineyards (in summer) then provides a compelling contrast with the vivid red basalt- derived soils.

Facts

Wineries 65
Tasting Notes 2194

Geographic

Latitude 41°07’S (Pipers Brook), 41°27’S (Launceston)
Altitude 190–210 m (Pipers Brook), 81 m (Launceston)
Heat Degree Days 1020
Growing Season Rainfall 310 mm
Mean January Temp 17.2°C
Harvest Early April to late May