February 3, 2019 / By Laura Pattara
Tasmania boasts a number of recognised wine trails, with the most compact, easy to access and rewarding being the Great Eastern Drive along the glorious stretch of road that connects some of the most iconic island highlights. Being home to more than 100 premier vineyards, it could be said that our beloved Tassie is literally drowning in world-class drops: from award-winning Pinot Noir to excellent Sauvignon Blanc and some of the most delicious Chardonnay your lips will ever savour.
When it comes to visiting fabulous wineries on Tasmania’s East Coast, you really can't go wrong. This is the milder and more fertile side of Tasmania that’s attracted growers and viticulturists for years, so it's the region where much of the island’s best wines, beers, cheeses and berry delights are produced. Many of the cellar doors offer comprehensive culinary feasts along with their superb drops, so you can savour great produce and cuisine together with great wine. Other vineyards have cafés and pop-up restaurants or offer glorious picnic grounds for wine-tasting guests to enjoy. Every vineyard offers an insight into the most delectable side of Tasmania - its organic and home-grown food and wines.
We’ve put in the hard yards (oh, you’re so welcome!) to bring you a selection of five unique and inspiring wineries to visit that will give you – and your taste buds – an unforgettable adventure. So take turns being the designated driver or join an organised wine-tasting tour and make sure the following are firmly on your must-sip list.
Widely recognised as one of Australia’s best vineyards, Devils Corner overlooks the spectacular Freycinet National Park (an East Coast Highlights you shouldn’t miss) and is open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm, every day. We love this place to bits, not just because it produces fantastic Pinot and is staffed by super friendly peeps but also because its gastronomic offerings are a true-blue highlight. Enjoy a lunch of home-made wood fired pizzas (yes, seriously), freshly-shucked oysters or authentic fish and chips with a glass of superb vino in one hand and a stellar view to match. If that’s not wicked … then we don’t know what is! If you’re already a Devils Corner convert do make sure you still pop by as they have quite a few special varieties which are only available at their cellar door.
Just 8 km south of Devils Corner is Gala Estate, one of Tasmania’s oldest family-owned businesses, running a vineyard and a sheep farm simultaneously. As an East Coast institution, Gala Estate enjoys a healthy popularity and, considering it is closed to the public during the winter months, it does tend to get quite busy in summer. Their tasting room is a charming and totally original weatherboard cottage that’s cute as can be and their tasting selection showcases their wide range of boutique wines not available anywhere else. Drop by for a sample, or five, stock up the boot with Gala’s amazing Pinot Gris and get totally lost among their exquisite merino wool throws, also available to purchase.
Yes, yes, that impossibly-picturesque Wineglass Bay with its turquoise surf and blinding white sand is a thing of beauty but OH.EM.GEE…wait until you try the wines! The Freycinet Vineyard is a family-run temple of wine that’s been recognised as an absolute pioneer in the region. These guys grow, bottle and produce everything in-house, including fabulous fresh-pressed olive oils as well as an amazing Pinot Noir, often rated as the best along the East Coast Wine Trail.
This makes a wonderful stop-over on your way to enjoy the stellar highlights of Freycinet National Park and, if you managed to tackle the circuit walk, an absolutely genius reward on your way back. What we love about this place is that it is quite understated in every way and although it lacks the grandeur of other (much bigger) vineyards, you get an authentic and non-commercial wine-appreciation experience that’s hard to find else where. For lovers of fine wine, peaceful settings and a welcoming ambience, Freycinet Vineyard is the way to go.
With its pop-up restaurant and converted heritage-listed stable operating as a cellar door, Spring Vale is a trend-setter among the East Coast’s wine scene. Set in stunning wilderness and boasting picnic spots with beautiful views, Spring Vale is the place to head to when you need a break from driving and an enticement to slow it down a notch. This boutique family-owned business is a little wine emporium and boasts perhaps the largest range of wines, all of which have bagged multiple awards. Among the white, red and sparkling choices you’ll find excellent reserve Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc. Great value for money wine and a lovely atmosphere makes Spring Vale a top choice that never disappoints. Open 11 am to 4pm, daily.
What do you get when you blend excellent Tasmanian wines with rustic home-made Italian fare? Perfection, of course! Now, we’ll grant you that Lubiana is technically just off the East Coast Wine Trail (about 70 km past Orford, towards Hobart) but if you have an extra lunchtime to spare – or are on your way back to the capital – then trust that the extra time will be immensely rewarded. This old-world Italian winemaker has been churning out small-batch wines for almost three decades and, combined with his home-made honey and wood fired baked delights, offers a wicked epicurean experience that’s really hard to beat. Everything Stefano grows and makes is organic, every morsel of food is made with love and every drop of sparkling wine and Merlot will delight your taste buds. Lubiana’s authentic Osteria acts as a magnet for foodies and its cellar door hosts events to promote the latest creations. Check out Lubiana’s Facebook page and keep abreast of the latest happenings during your visit.
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