Tasmania is a land that should be savoured slowly… with a glass of fine wine in hand and friendly locals to guide you on your way.
The Tamar Valley Wine Route is a holiday and recreation destination in its own right.
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 chardonnnays, sparklings, the aromatic whites and pinot noir.
Situated in the north of Tasmania at a latitude of around 42 degrees south, the Tamar Valley shares the same cool climate characteristics of the Cote d’Or, Burgundy, France – equally renowned for producing wine of a world class nature.
Very few areas of the world exist in the exclusive cool climate zone – distinguishable as the ideal location for the production of superior quality fresh produce. What does all this mean? For you – the visitor to our lovely valley – it means wines of distinction lovingly made in harmony with how nature intended.
Any time of the year is a good time to visit. Like our wines, the gentle turning seasons each boast their unique qualities. We grow, we pick, we prune and plant allowing Tasmania’s friendly cool climate to dictate the pace.
Our harvest takes place in March & April followed by pruning over winter, then budburst in September kicks off the growing season again.
Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer are all grown here. In red wines, Pinot Noir is king.
The Tamar Valley is naturally blessed with one of the purest environments in the world. Our pristine air and fresh, cool climate encourages a love affair with terroir.
Terroir is a French word that refers to how the general characteristics of a specific location can influence the taste and quality of something as delicate and exciting as wine.
Tamar Valley winemakers will tell you of their love affair with the valley’s terrior – the unique characteristics of the soil we grow in. Vastly different even from the sea to the slopes, the valley’s unifying characteristic is the rich and fertile soil, blessed with gentle rains that sweep in from the west, straight off the vast expanse of the wild Southern Ocean.
Terroir also describes the idea that good wine cannot be simply reproduced anywhere in the world with grapes and a standard set of agricultural practices. It’s the whole picture – soil type, sun exposure, altitude, weather, technique, passion and commitment.
Wine lovers and wine makers alike will tell you that terroir is the very essence of wine and in The Tamar Valley we have terroir in abundance.
The Tamar Valley is a place where exceptional wine is nurtured out of passion and a dedication to quality.
Our wines are like our friends. They are an interesting, lively and endearing bunch of characters.
Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer are all grown here, producing fresh, elegant whites.
Our sparkling wines are considered equal to those from Champagne.
In red wines, Pinot Noir is king. From the bright cherry and raspberry scented wines from the Lower Tamar, to the heady truffle and black cherry aromas from the Upper Tamar vineyards, our variety of styles prove our devotion to good taste.
Pure in quality, rich in character, friendly and most of all unforgettable. This is the Tamar Valley. We are what we drink.
Enjoy our wines at home with the Tamar Valley Vineyards Dozen
You can enjoy your Tamar Valley wine selection at home without the excessive baggage hassle. Simply purchase your favourite wines along the route, the last winery you visit will pack and send home your wines for you, for just the cost of freight. Travel lightly and send it home with the Tamar Valley Wine Route Dozen.
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.
As early as the mid 1800’s commercial vineyards operated in Windermere, a quaint riverside town on the Tamar’s lower eastern shore.
However, winemaking on a large scale didn’t prosper as well as the Victorian gold mines that lured most workingmen away.
Almost a hundred years later, in 1956, Jean Miguet, son of a winemaking family in Provence, France, planted the La Provence vineyard (now Providence) at Lalla, east of Launceston. Fortunately, around that time, Australia’s drinking habits turned from ports and sherries to table wines and Tasmania’s wine industry started taking off.
The Heemskerk vineyard at Legana (now Velo), and the original home of Tasmania’s famous sparkling “Jansz”, was established in 1966 by Graham Wiltshire. By the early 70’s, Piper’s Brook, one of the Tamar Valley’s most recognised brands, was also established.
In 1994, Andrew Pirie, one of the industry’s most significant contributors, launched his Ninth Island Chardonnay at the International Wine Challenge in London, and came home with the Best White Wine trophy. Hello world!
With a passion for tradition and a commitment to innovation, our winemakers continue the Tamar Valley’s premium quality tradition. Tasmania’s friendly temperate climate nurtures plump chardonnay, pinot noir, riesling, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris grapes, producing wines of natural elegance and intensity. The valley also produces some of Australia’s best sparkling wines.
So for all our visitors, there’s a wine for all seasons and a taste for all times in the Tamar Valley Wine Route.
Although vineyards were established in Northern Tasmania in the early 1800’s none survived past 1880 and there were no commercial grapes produced in the North for the next 75 years. In 1956 , a French immigrant, Jean Miguet, planted a small vineyard at Lalla, near Launceston and became Tasmania’s first vigneron of the modern era. A number of small vineyards were planted during the 1960’s with larger scale development following in the 1970’s.
Many of those industry pioneers are still with us but there is generational change, memories are fading and records have already been lost.
The Tamar Valley Wine Route has established a digital archive as a record of the hard work and innovation of our industry members covering the early beginnings until the present day. The collection is a community resource of knowledge, ideas, stories and memories to enrich our understanding of the history of the Northern Wine Region of Tasmania.
We acknowledge the support of Arts Tasmania for the assistance of a roving curator and the Tasmanian Community Fund for equipment.
View selected images in our online gallery which will be regularly added to and updated (go to categories and click on ‘latest images’ for recent additions).
Please enjoy our collection and be sure to return!