Tasmania is only responsible for producing 0.2 percent of the grapes that Australia uses to make wine, and yet they make one-tenth of the country's total premium and ultra premium wine supply. Now that's what you call quality over quantity. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 240 vineyards that currently operate on the island and many of them are relatively small. All told, they only cover 2,224 acres (900 hectares) [source: Tourism Tasmania]. That works out to an average of not quite 10 acres per vineyard. Again, the focus remains on quality over quantity.
Tasmania is probably most well known for its Pinot Noir. This particular variety accounts for almost half of the island's total wine production [source: George]. Some of the best from the region can be found at wineries such as Pipers Brook and Domaine A [source: Port]. Many claim that the Pinot Noir being produced in Tasmania is some of the best in the world. Unfortunately, unless you've been to the island, you probably haven't had a chance to experience it. It rarely makes its way outside of Australia.
Rieslings have also had great success in Tasmania. This comes as no great surprise when you consider that the climate is perfectly suited for their cultivation. Surprisingly, at the 2009 Tasmanian Wine Show, more rieslings ended up with accolades than pinot noirs. The 2007 Frogmore Creek Riesling deserves special mention [source: Halliday]. Perhaps this is the beginning of a shift in wine preference on the island of Tasmania -- or maybe it was just a particularly good year for Rieslings.
Last but not least are the sparkling wines of Tasmania. The first sparkling wines bubbled onto the scene in 1989 when they were introduced by Heemskerk and Roederer. Since that time, they have been gaining quite a reputation. While their youth seems to be the only thing holding them back, some local winemakers claim that they will eventually be talked about on the same level as those being produced in Champagne [source: George].
For more wine-related information, check out the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Brand Tasmania. "Beverages." (accessed 02/15/2009)http://www.brandtasmania.com/show.php?ACT=Public&menu_code=600.400
- Coorigan, Andrew. "Toasting Tasmania." Mietta's. (accessed 02/15/2009)http://www.miettas.com.au/food_wine_recipes/wine/wine_regions/taswine.html
- Food & Agriculture. "Tasmanian Viticultural Soils and Geology." (accessed 02/15/2009)http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/CART-6F56YE?open#OrdoviciantoDevonian
- George, Stephen. "On the Tasmanian Wine Route: Euro-Style Wine from Down Under." Into Wine. (accessed 02/15/2009)http://www.intowine.com/tasmanian-wine-route-euro-style-wine-down-under
- Halliday, James. "Riesling makes the grade in a sparkling Tassie line-up." The Australian. (accessed 02/15/2009)http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25003261-5010800,00.html
- I Love India. "Fun and Interesting Facts about Tasmania." (accessed 02/15/2009)http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/interesting-facts-about-tasmania-2909.html
- Kraus, E.C. "An Overview of Wine Bottling." ECKRaus. (accessed 02/15/2009)http://www.eckraus.com/wine-making-bottling.html
- Mahr, Krista. "Putting a Cap on Wine Corks." TIME. (accessed 02/15/2009)http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1655137,00.html?xid=feed-cnn-topics
- Port, Jeni. "Pinot, pinot, everywhere." The Age. (accessed 02/15/2009)http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/08/23/1093113132296.html
- Tourism Tasmania. "Cellar Door & Farm Gate - Cool Climate Wine." (accessed 02/15/2009)http://travelmedia.tourismtasmania.com.au/about/cellardoor/wine.html
- Wine Tasmania. "History." (accessed 02/15/2009)http://www.winetasmania.com.au/wine-tasmania/history