Agriculture of the Tasmanian Wine Regions
Tasmania offers Australian winemakers something they're hard pressed to find in other regions of the country -- cool climates. Of course, by most standards, Tasmania is still hot in the summer. However, when comparing the average temperatures on the island with those on the mainland, they are definitely cooler. Tasmania winemakers have even gone so far as to prove that their climate is incredibly similar to that of northern France, where some of the best wines in the world are made [source: Coorigan].
The farther north you go on the island of Tasmania, the milder the climate gets. It's coldest around Hobart, with winds that present a challenge to grape cultivation. Vineyards have to be protected so they can grow to maturity. The uniquely cool climate of the region provides grapes with an extended growing season and a rather dry ripening period as well [source: Tourism Tasmania]. As you might expect, grape varieties known for doing well in cool climates, like Riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir, thrive in Tasmania. In fact, people have taken a lot of interest in Tasmania's cool climate grapes recently. Wineries on mainland Australia pay high prices for them and the rest of the world has begun to invest as well. The Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varieties coming out of the region fetch especially high prices [source: Brand Tasmania].
Aside from the ideal climate, Tasmania also offers wine makers a variety of different soil types from which to choose. Whether characterized as stony, sandy or full of clay, they all have one thing in common -- they drain very well [source: DPIW]. Grapes don't like to get too wet. Ideally, their roots are able to grow deep into the ground without getting soaked. That's why soils that drain well are perfect for the cultivation of grapes. Aside from that, stony soil has an ability to absorb heat during the day and release it slowly during the night. This is advantageous in cooler climates because it shelters grape vines from extreme temperature changes that take place from day to night.
Tasmania provides wine makers with a climate that is unique in Australia and a variety of soils that lend themselves to a number of different grape varieties. The result is a wide range of wines that come out of the region.