If visiting Tasmania and you enjoy wine, be sure to take some time exploring the Tamar Valley wine region. Tasmania is the oldest wine-producing region in Australia.
The Tamar Valley is even the source of cuttings for the first vineyards to be planted in Victoria and South Australia. Today, the valley produces 40 per cent of Tasmania’s premium quality wine. The famous Tamar River defines the heart of northern Tasmania with its generous life-giving waterways. It is Tasmania’s principal wine producing area where wineries snuggle side by side with picturesque orchards, forests and fertile pastures.
The Tamar River is distinguished as Australia’s longest tidal navigable river. It’s long, lazy bends wind 65 kilometres inland, around hills and plains, beaches and bush. At the river’s head is the bustling city of Launceston. At it’s mouth – wide sandy beaches. Fed by the fresh, flushing waters of the North and South Esk Rivers, the Tamar has created a glorious fertile valley of high-yielding vineyards, famous for our chardonnays, sparklings, the aromatic whites and pinot noir.
Bay of Fires Winery is the home to the Bay of Fires range of cool climate wines, including Eddystone Point and the House of Arras range, Australia’s prestigious Sparkling wines. Located on the Pipers River in the Tamar Valley wine region, Bay of Fires cellar door is set in an award winning modern, architecturally-designed building amongst their own vineyards.
With extensive established gardens and sweeping views over the vines, the winery and Pipers River, the Bay of Fires Cellar door is a modern and welcoming venue. Offering tastings and light food options which are available 11am-3pm daily, as well as winemaking information, outdoor games for the young and young at heart, and spectacular views of the winery and region.
Jansz has evolved as one of Australia’s most respected premium sparkling wines. The acclaimed architecture of Jansz’s home can be experienced first hand whilst visiting the Wine Room and Interpretive Centre, with tastings offered.
The Jansz Tasmania vineyard sits to the northeast of the island state within the Pipers River region of the Tamar Valley. This cool little corner is colloquially known as ‘Sparkling Tasmania’. Temperatures here are moderated by close proximity to Bass Strait. The ocean breezes keep the temperature up during winter – minimising risk of frost, and down in summer – allowing our grapes to ripen slowly and develop intense, delicate and refined flavours. Resting on a bed of pure, red, free-draining basalt soils, the Jansz vineyard truly is the perfect site to grow grapes for world-class sparkling wines.
The name Jansz pays homage to Tasmania’s namesake, the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman who first sighted the island in 1642. In fact, when it was established in 1975, the Jansz vineyard was originally named after Tasman’s ship, the Heemskerk. In 1986, esteemed Champagne house – Louis Roederer partnered with the owners of Heemskerk Wines to produce Tasmania’s first premium vintage sparkling wine. They saw the similarities between the climate here and the famous wine region of their homeland.
In 1997, the Hill-Smith family purchased the vineyard and began the journey that has seen Jansz Tasmania become the most highly regarded sparkling wine house in Australia.
Visiting the Tamar Valley wine region allowed us to taste some exceptional wines from well known Australian vineyards. There is something wonderful about immersing yourself in a wine region and gaining knowledge and understanding for the conditions in which the wines are produced. Many cellar doors also stock wines that aren’t not available in your local stores, so it is a great way to try some new varietals from wine producers you might not expect!
Do you have a favourite wine region in Australia?