Tasmania: Wine Tasting Holiday
Top Destination for 2009
Tasmania boasts a number of quality wines that are made from grapes grown in a climate which is cooler than mainland Australia. Tasmanian wines therefore have a quality similar to those of some of the more famous European wines. The first vineyard was planted in Tasmania at New Town, a Hobart suburb, as long ago as 1823. Tasmanian wine did not take long to establish a good reputation however, and by 1848 a Tasmanian white wine won an award at the Paris Exhibition. Tasmania now produces elegant cool climate wines including pinot noir, riesling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, pinot gris, gewurztraminer and sparkling wines. Today, Tasmania enjoys a national and international reputation as a leading producer of some of Australia’s premium cool-climate wines, winning high praise and an array of medals, from wine judges and critics alike. Tasmania has four distinct wine regions – the north, the south, the east coast and the north-west. Each of the four regions is within easy reach of major population centres or en route to some of Tasmania’s other attractions. Moreover, each region has its own diverse and sophisticated range of wine styles. Each Tasmanian vineyard has its own special charm and character, and as we know, wine never tastes better than when you sample it direct from the vineyard! Most tasting rooms (called cellar doors in Tasmania) are open all year round, but the mild Tasmanian summers are an ideal time to visit. On a wine tasting holiday in Tasmania, you will have the opportunity to meet the producers first-hand. They have a passion for their grapes and finished wines and they strive for excellence in their vineyards. In practical terms, if you are thinking of a wine tour of Tasmania, one of the best ways is to take either the northern or the southern wine route. In taking the northern route, you would normally start in Launceston. This would allow you to explore the vineyards of the Tamar Valley, located north of Launceston along both sides of the Tamar River and north-east to Pipers River. You could also explore the explore the Derwent, Coal River and Huon Valleys, which are an easy drive from Hobart and provide an interesting variety of vineyards for tastings. Another popular route is around Cradle Mountain, where you can visit the north-west vineyards or sample wines en route to Freycinet and Wineglass Bay on the sunny east coast. In fact, you can combine routes both in the north and the south, depending upon your length of stay and how much you want to explore and you can tour the entire Tasmanian Wine Route easily by car or on a guided tour. There are a number of tour companies that offer half or full-day visits. A guided tour of the Coal River wine route would cost about £130. Tasmania is an excellent destination for a wine tasting holiday.