About Our Wine
Tasmania’s first experiment with grapevines resulted in a wine that was shown at a Paris exhibition in 1848. However, after this early start, the island’s wine production all but disappeared until the 1950s.
The early migrants from Europe recognised the similarities in Tasmania of the soils and climate with the great grape growing regions of their homelands, and began to challenge and disprove the theory that Tasmania was too far south for grapes to ripen. Today, Tasmania enjoys a global reputation as a leading producer of premium cool climate wines, winning high praise and accolades from wine judges and critics alike.
The Tasmanian landscape is dominated by dolerite-capped mountains that shelter the state’s wine regions from high winds and rainfall. On the lower slopes, the vineyard soils are formed from ancient sandstones and mudstones and also from more recent river sediments and igneous rocks of volcanic origin.
Cool climate advantage
Tasmania has a moderate maritime climate, cooled by prevailing westerly winds off the Southern Ocean, providing conditions free of extremes in temperature. Mild spring and summer temperatures, with warm autumn days and cool nights allow the grapes to ripen slowly on the vine, resulting in maximum varietal flavour development. This is achieved without losing that essential natural acidity that gives wine both freshness and balance.
The Tasmanian vintage usually begins from mid-March, at the peak of the dry autumn when ripening occurs, to late May before the risk of frost and rain. Vintage variations are greater in Tasmania than any other Australian region. This vintage variation is reflected in each unique wine and makes for an insightful tasting of multiple vintages from the same producer.
Tasmanian wine statistics
The following provides an overview of the Tasmanian wine sector. In Tasmania there are approximately:
- 160 licensed wine producers
- 230 individual vineyards
- 95 cellar door outlets
- 2,000+ hectares under vine.
The majority of Tasmania’s grapes are grown in:
- the Tamar Valley wine growing area, which produces approximately 40%
- the East Coast wine growing area, which produces approximately 20%
- the North East (Pipers River) wine growing area, which produces approximately 19%
- the Coal River Valley wine growing area, which produces approximately 13%
- The remaining wine growing areas, including the Derwent Valley, North West and the Huon/Channel, contribute approximately 9% to the total harvest
Cool climate grape varieties most common in the state are:
- Pinot Noir - 44% (used for both table and sparkling wine)
- Chardonnay - 23% (used for both table and sparkling wine)
- Sauvignon Blanc - 12%
- Pinot Gris - 11%
- Riesling - 5%
- Other varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Gewürztraminer.
As with any other new business pursuit, it is important to undertake thorough research and planning before investing time, money and effort in a new venture. To this end, Wine Tasmania has developed a range of information to assist anyone considering entering the Tasmanian wine sector, as we are keen to ensure the realities of managing a cool climate vineyard and developing a sustainable wine business are well understood by anyone new to the sector. Download the Investment guide here and the Gross Margin & Profitability Analysis Spreadsheet here.
For further information, including an investor checklist, details of vineyards for sale and potential partnerships please register your interest here.
Industry Information and Statistics
Please click the links below to discover important industry information, statistics and other relevant documentation.