Australia has fast become one of the world’s leading producers of wine, with fine wines in nearly every region. While South Australia gets a lot of the attention from wine lovers, Tasmania, particularly the region surrounding Hobart, cannot be overlooked.
With the coldest climate in Australia — the climate here is similar to that of Britain or France — Tasmania has ideal conditions for producing lighter wines, such as Riesling, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. The cooler summers and pleasant autumn days of the region allow the grapes to ripen slowly, leading to wines that are full of flavour.
In fact, Tasmanian wines are actually a major draw to the region, bringing in oenophiles from around the world. Even if you don’t visit Hobart or Tasmania specifically for the wines, it’s worth taking a day or two to explore the area and sip your way through some of Australia’s finest wineries.
While the summer months, particularly around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, are the most crowded times to visit Tasmania, for the best wine tasting, visit in the autumn. You’ll also find more pleasant temperatures.
Wine Tasmania, the major wine promoter of the region, has developed several wine routes for those who want to explore the region. Hobart falls within the Southern Wine Route; it’s easy to acommodation to serve as your home base as you explore the region. Hobart also offers a number of fine dining restaurants that serve local wines, allowing you to enjoy some of the region’s best with a five-star meal.
To visit the wineries, you’ll need to either rent a car or join an organised wine tour. The main wine growing region near Hobart, the Coal River Valley, is not accessible by public transportation and is too far from Hobart for biking or walking.
Wineries Near Hobart
Following the wine route established by Wine Tasmania is the simplest way to experience all of the wineries near Hobart, but if you have limited time, focus your attention on the Coal River Valley and the wineries in Cambridge and Richmond, such as Coal Valley Vineyard and Frogmore Creek Wines and Meadowbrook Estate. Coal Valley is a pinot noir lover’s paradise, with much of the vineyard devoted to the flavourful red grapes, while Frogmore Creek Wines and Meadowbrook Estate is one of Tasmania’s most awarded wines, focusing mostly on pinot noir and Riesling. Both Coal Valley and Frogmore Creek offer beautiful views of the Tasmanian coast, and are popular among visitors to the region.
A little farther north, Puddleduck Vineyard is the place to enjoy a picnic while enjoying the views — and of course, some of the winery’s handcrafted wines. Puddleduck’s wines are only available for sale at the winery or via mail order, making this a truly unique experience.
Outside of the Coal Valley, and a bit farther flung from Hobart, Hartzview Vineyard is the southernmost vineyard in Australia, and the place to sample ports and other fortified wines. At Hartzview you can combine some history with your wine, by taking a self-guided tour of the Heritage Huts, restored cabins in the vineyards where grape harvesters — and Italian prisoners of war during World War II — lived.
While exploring the wineries and vineyards of Tasmania on your own allows you flexibility of creating your own itinerary, many visitors choose to join an organised tour. For one price, you’ll be driven via motor coach to several wineries — including some that aren’t generally open without appointment — and enjoy wines. Tour operators vary in their focus; some focus on a particular variety of wine, for example, while others combine winery tours with art, history or shopping excursions.
For visitors to Tasmania, a side trip or two to one of the region’s many wineries is well worth the trip — especially if you appreciate fine wine. Even those who do not care for wine will enjoy the stunning views and gourmet food that one can find at the wineries surrounding Hobart, so add some “wine time” to your itinerary when planning your Hobart itinerary, and prepare to experience some of the best Australia has to offer.