|Precipitation (annual average)||27 inches (680 mm)|
|Size of planted vineyards||1,289 acres (5.22 km2)|
|No. of vineyards||112+|
|Grapes produced||Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Riesling|
|No. of wineries||nearly 200|
|Wine produced||Still, dessert wine, sparkling wine|
Tasmanian wine is produced in the Australian state of Tasmania. Located at a more southerly latitude than the rest of Australia's wine regions, Tasmania has a cooler climate and the potential to make distinctly different wines than in the rest of the country. The area grows primarily Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc, with some smaller plantings of Riesling, Pinot gris and Cabernet Sauvignon. Global warming has had positive effects on the Tasmanian wine industry, allowing most of the grapes in the past few vintages (as of 2005) to ripen fully and produce more vibrant wine.
Tasmania was one of the earliest regions in Australia to be planted with vines and was even the source of cuttings for the first vineyards in Victoria and South Australia. It was also home to some of the earliest wines to gain attention outside of the county with a fortified dessert wine by Bartholomew Broughton being praised by one English writer as Australia's equivalent to Port.
Climate and geography
Being an island, Tasmania has a temperate climate that is marked by the strong winds of the Indian Ocean, Bass Strait and Tasman Sea. These winds necessitate the use of large screens around the perimeter of vineyards in order to protect the grapevines. The cool climate of the regions gives way to a late harvest typically around April. The effects of global warming have caused the area's grapes to progressively ripen slightly earlier which has allowed most of the recent vintages to be successful. It has opened up the prospects of increasing red wine production with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz.
The majority of Tasmania's vineyard are located near the cities of Launceston in the north and Hobart in the south. Most of the area of Tasmania is well suited for the production of dry, aromatic white wines but the warmer Coal River Valley and Freycinet Peninsula are starting to distinguish themselves with red wines.
- North West - south of Devonport
- Tamar Valley - along the valley north of Launceston
- Pipers River - on the Georgetown to Bridport road.
- East Coast - between Bicheno in the north, and east of Sorell
- Coal River - between Cambridge and north of Colebrook.
- Derwent Valley - between Hamilton and Hobart
- Southern - between Kingston and Southport
The region's cool climate has made Tasmania a good location for the production of sparkling wine with many of Australia's mainland producers having production facilities on the island to make the base cuvée that is later transported to the winery's main facility. Even some French Champagne houses have taken notice with companies like Moët et Chandon and Louis Roederer using some Tasmanian grapes for the Australian sparkling wines. Tasmanian Rieslings have begun to gain notice for their closer similarities to a Mosel Riesling than that which is typically produced in Australia.
Tasmanian wines are noted for their naturally high acidity and good balance of fruit flavor that tend to age well. Due to the tendency of some grapes to not fully ripen, Tasmanian wine makers have petitioned the government to make exceptions for them in the country wide ban on chaptalization so that they can increase the alcohol level of some of their weaker red wines. As of 2007, there has been no action on this issue.
- H. Johnson & J. Robinson The World Atlas of Wine pg 315 Mitchell Beazley Publishing 2005 ISBN 1-84000-332-4
- H. Johnson Vintage: The Story of Wine pg 344-347 Simon and Schuster 1989 ISBN 0-671-68702-6
- J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 682 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0-19-860990-6
- J. Robinson Jancis Robinson's Wine Course Third Edition pg 324 Abbeville Press 2003 ISBN 0-7892-0883-0
- Laing, Phil. (2003) Tasmanian wines Sandy Bay, Tas. : Laingvin Basket Press. ISBN 0-9581439-0-0