Below the continent of Australia, deep in the Southern Ocean at the extremities of the earth, lies a pristine island. Cooled by prevailing westerlies, whipped up by the Roaring Forties, this is Tasmania and wine here is something else. Ironically, only 1% of this remarkable island is planted to vines, yet nowhere in Australia is the land more suitable to viticulture than Tasmania. From the top of the country in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley to wine regions in the southern tip, Tasmania is currently producing some the world’s most exciting, new cool-climate wines. And wine lovers will be delighted with wine tasting in Tasmania.
Tasmania Makes Up 10% of the Australian Premium Wine Market
A reputation for spectacular wines is not easily earned except when a wine region consistently generates great tasting, award-winning wine. These are the type of wines that jump out of the glass with intense aromas, refreshing flavors, and rewarding finishes. Tasmania’s wine credentials are impeccable. While this little isle accounts for only 1% of all Australian wine production, it makes up 10% of the total Australian premium wine market.
“Tassie,” as the locals call it, is also known as the Apple Isle for its contribution to the apple market in the 1940s to the 1960s. As the apple market declined, farmers shifted to growing cherries. But Tasmania’s unique climate is also well suited to growing grapes and winemaking here has exploded in recent years. While most of Tasmania’s wineries are small, there are now 160 licensed wine producers throughout the country.
Cool climates, like the ones in the river valleys get a strong maritime influence, and excel at delivering well-known varietals like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and sparkling varietal blends. Yet in some of the sunnier, warmer growing areas on the island, even Cabernet Sauvignon does well and has for decades.
Seven Wine Regions in Tasmania
Although vineyards stretch right across the entire island, Tasmania should not be thought of as one wine region. Because the vineyards are not generally found on flat land but follow the slope of hills or the curve of a river valley, Tasmania offers seven distinct wine regions.
In this visitor’s guide, we have conveniently divided the seven regions into four wine touring routes which will let visitors sample all seven of the regions. All four routes are within easy reach of major city centers, all are connected by good roads with light traffic, and are along the journey to some of Tasmania’s iconic attractions and experiences.
Travel to Tasmania
Tasmania is an island off the southeast corner of Australia. The closest state is Victoria, whose major city is Melbourne. From Sydney, the island is over 600 miles away. Regardless of which major city you’re coming from, the fastest way to get there is by plane. Most visitors fly into Hobart and explore the island from there. But if you’re headed directly to Tamar Valley, Tasmania’s oldest wine region, you can also fly into its major city Launceston. You can get updates on flight deals as they arise here with Kayak.
For those who have more time to spare, you can take the Spirit of Tasmania, a car ferry, from Geelong in the State of Victoria. The journey takes about ten hours and is very popular with Australians.
While it’s possible to get around Tasmania by taking tours out of Hobart and Launceston, we recommend renting a car for more personalized exploration.
Exceptional Guided Tasmania Tours
The Hobart Historic Walking Tour is a 1.5-hour tour of the old town. You’ll learn about heritage-listed buildings while listening to stories about the city’s early days and its disturbing past. You may even get to stop into a saloon to try some of Tasmania’s famous whisky.
Drink Tasmania Tours offers a variety of tours including whisky, gin, or wine tours. The company also offers a signature tour with a sampling of all three beverages.
In the Tamar Valley we recommend the Tamar Valley Wine Tours. The company takes guests to three or four Tamar Valley cellar doors (tasting rooms) with lunch in between. The company provides round trip transportation from Launceston.
The Best Wineries to Visit in Tasmania
In each of our four routes we have identified which of the seven wine regions you can visit and provided at least one description of what you can expect if you sample at a winery’s cellar door (tasting room) along the route.
Southern Wine Trail
The Southern Wine Route offers the best options for a day trip if you’re staying in or near Hobart. It also includes three of the seven wine regions: Huon Valley, Coal River Valley, and Derwent River Valley. In addition, fifteen cellar doors can be found along this route. Our top winery picks are included below.
143 Richmond Road, Richmond
What Guests Like About It: Charm of the cellar door and the option to do a vertical tasting of six Pooley Rieslings
Pooley Wines and their historic cellar door is in the heart of the Coal River Valley Wine Region. The winery was started in 1985 by Denis and Margaret Pooley, a retired couple who planted grapes to stay busy. Flourishing through three generations of family, the winery is now recognized by the Halliday Wine Companion as the 2023 Winery of the Year.
The winery’s painted sandstone tasting room features wooden beams, wooden tables, and seating at the bar. The winery offers a seated in-depth structured tasting of six wines paired with local cheeses and a charcuterie board. Artisan wood-fired pizza is available on the weekends. Pooley Wines also offers luxury accommodations and fine dining across the road at the lovingly restored Prospect House Private Hotel.
699 Richmond Road, Cambridge
What Guests Like About It: The delightful view of the vineyards from the expansive dining area and the second story art installation
Frogmore Creek offers stunning views of the Coal River Valley. This architect-designed complex includes an extensive tasting room and on-site restaurant.
Upstairs in the tasting room’s second floor, guests will find a whimsical artist’s depiction of the wine industry’s history in Tasmania. Called the Flawed Gallery, it uses painted pieces of wood fitted together like pieces of a puzzle. Starting with the first vineyard plantings on the isle and until present day, it covers the entire wooden floor. The artist, the late Tom Samek, installed this remarkable collection in December 2005.
992 Richmond Road, Richmond
What Guests Like About It: The quality of food offered on the Pecking Order menu and the tranquility of the duck pond
Nestled in the Coal River Valley and just a five-minute drive from historic Richmond, Puddleduck overlooks a small pond filled with, you guessed it, ducks! This boutique family-owned winery offers visitors a quick “bar tasting” for those who want to try the wines and move on, and seated tastings for those who want the more leisurely experience.
655 Main Road, Berriedale
What Guests Like About It: The ferry ride up the Derwent River, the glass enclosed tasting room, and the complexity of the wines
Moorilla is a winery located in the Derwent River Valley with a museum attached, the Museum of New and Old Art (MONA). Moorilla’s owner, David Walsh, created the MONA and has an outsized influence in Tasmania. The winery creates small-batch, cool-climate wines with new-world fruit and old-world complexity. The glass enclosed tasting room, adjacent to the museum, is modern and spacious with views of the green space around the museum. Expect unhurried seated tastings offered by extremely knowledgeable wine servers.
East Coast Wine Trail
The East Coast Wine Route is the most scenic with coastal views of white sand beaches and open ocean but includes only one wine region: the East Coast Wine Region. However, there are ten cellar doors along this route.
14891 Tasman Hwy, Cranbrook
What Guests Like About It: That guests can choose which wines to taste in their flight
Experience an intimate wine tasting at Gala Estate, the second oldest family-owned business in Tasmania for 200 years. Rated as a five-star winery by Halliday Companion, the industry benchmark for Australian wine, Gala has consistently produced some of Tasmania’s best wines. You can sample a delightful wine flight tailored to suit your taste.
Tamar Valley Wine Trail
The Tamar Valley Wine Trail includes the most northern wine region, The Pipers River Wine Region and the Tamar Valley Wine Region, Tasmania’s oldest wine region. It also includes seventeen cellar doors for tasting. The Northeast side of Tamar Valley is known for sparkling wines so expect to see several on your wine tasting tour.
755 West Tamar Highway, Legana
What Guests Like About It: Tasting room staff share knowledgeable comments about the wine, and the convenience of the on-site Timbre Kitchen
Based at the entrance of the valley, just a 10-minute drive north of Launceston, is Vélo Wines. The name translates to bicycle in French. Vélo’s cellar door welcomes visitors seven days a week and its contemporary tasting room provides a cozy, casual atmosphere for wine tasting.
Some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in the valley were planted here in 1966. The tasting includes eight different wines while seated at a comfortable table in the cellar door. Attentive staff provided guests with tasting notes and knowledgeable commentary on the characteristics of each wine, resulting in a generous and genuine cellar door experience. Timbre Kitchen, a new restaurant adjoins the cellar door.
Tamar Ridge Wines
1A Waldhorn Drive, Rosevears
What Guests Like About It: The option to do “double tastings” of two separate brands – the Tamar Ridge and Pirie’s sparkling wine
The spacious, modern tasting room at Tamar Ridge Wines overlooks the Tamar River. It offers indoor and outdoor seating and is open daily. The winery features two labels, Tamar Ridge, and its “brother label,” Pirie. It also produces a line of Brown Brother wines and the Devil’s Corner, which features unusual white wines. Tamar Valley is ideal for producing sparkling wines and the Pirie brand features several. The Tamar Ridge collection includes several outstanding Pinot Noirs and cool-climate whites. Tastings include samplings of both collections or guests can choose a Pinot only tasting.
On weekends, locally sourced, seasonal small bites are available to pair perfectly with Pinot Noir.
Moores Hill Estate
3343 West Tamar Highway, Sidmouth
What Guests Like About It: The casual, rustic charm of the wine tasting on the porch, the delicious food paired with the tasting
Moores Hill is Tasmania’s first 100% solar power winery and first off the grid winery. It generates power from 108 solar panels on the roof. The rustic tasting room offers indoor seating, or outdoor seating on the porch overlooking the winery’s vineyards.
In 2020, Halliday Wine Companion named Moores Hill a five-star winery. The winery makes Pinot Noir, a Cabernet Merlot blend, cool-climate whites, and a sparkling blanc de blanc. Guided tastings of four wines can be paired with a cheese box, charcuterie board, or a seafood plate.
Swinging Gate Vineyards
103 Glendale Road, Sidmouth
What Guests Like About It: The unpretentious, diverse atmosphere, and the unique experience of tasting both red and white Amarone
This winery’s vineyard was locked and abandoned for 15 years, hence the name “Swinging Gate.” After purchasing the property and rejuvenating its old vines, Swinging Gate produces several cool-climate whites, a Pinot Noir, Merlot, and both a white and red Amarone. The winemaker, Doug Cox, is only one of three in Australia that is making Amarone. The winery also produces a handful of Pétillant Naturel ciders and wine.
The tasting room is housed in a restored machinery shed filled with reclaimed country tables and chairs. There is nothing pretentious about this tasting room and its comfortable vibe makes it easy to sip, taste, and relax.
North West Wine Trail
The North West Wine Route stretches from ancient Cradle Mountain to the sandy coves of Bass Straits and includes the Cradle Coast wineries of the North West Wine Region. Although only five cellar doors are on this route, some feature exceptional sparkling wine.
1055 Port Sorell Road, Northdown
What Guests Like About It: The natural beauty of Cradle Coast countryside, the dynamic distinctiveness of Ghost Rock’s white and rosé wines
We sampled the “supernatural” wines of Ghost Rock, a regional pioneer in local winemaking. The cellar door is situated on the remarkable Cradle Coast and captures stunning views of the vineyards, ocean and rolling countryside. In depth tastings are offered and lunch is available at the Cellar Door Eatery. Included in our tasting was 2022 Supernatural Pet Nat, a field blend of Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir, offering fresh liveliness on the palette.
Where to Stay in Tasmania
Hobart’s Central Business District (CBD) overlooks the waterfront, is easily walkable, and close to many attractions including the ferry and the Salamanca Market.
Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart
The Hotel Grand Chancellor offers an excellent location in the CBD overlooking the city’s vibrant waterfront. Featuring 244 modern, spacious rooms with views of the city and Mount Wellington on one side, or views of the harbor on the other. It’s onsite restaurant and bar provide convenient access to meals and beverages. Its location makes it easy to walk to Salamanca Market, Constitution Dock, and Battery Point.
The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Set along Hobart’s scenic waterfront in a historic building, this luxury hotel offers 152 elegant guest rooms and suites with modern amenities. The Tasman’s location also provides guests easy access to the city center. The onsite restaurant offers a buffet or ala carte breakfast in the morning and Australian and Italian fare for lunch and dinner.
Waratah on York
The Waratah on York, housed in a converted Victoria mansion, provides convenient access to Launceston’s city center. Rooms are elegant and spacious, each individually decorated to reflect the era of the building. The three-bedroom apartment is ideal for small groups. While there isn’t a restaurant onsite, restaurants are just a short walk away.
Hotel Grand Chancellor Launceston
Conveniently located in Launceston’s CBD, the seven-story Hotel Grand Chancellor Launceston features an onsite restaurant, bar, room service, a beauty salon, and a gift shop. Although the building is modern, its façade is a Georgian design in the Grand European style.
Where to Eat in Tasmania
Waterman’s Hotel – Hobart
Waterman’s Hotel in Hobart comes with a storied past. But its contemporary, onsite restaurant and bar only offers great food and drink. Salt and pepper calamari, four different pizzas, chicken satay, fresh seafood, and Salad Niçoise are just a few tempting dishes to try.
Irish Murphy’s – Hobart
Tasmania was home to a large population of Irish convicts during the late 1700’s and early 1800’s so its not surprising that many Tasmanian citizens are of Irish descent. A pillar of local history, Irish Murphy’s building in Hobart, dates back to 1812. Claiming to be Tasmania’s most authentic Irish pub, Irish Murphy’s offers burgers, salads, and classic Irish dishes like beef and Guinness pie, beer battered fish and chips, and bangers and mash. The food is definitely worth a visit, but the genuine Irish pub atmosphere is a must see!
Wattlebanks – Richmond
Wattlebanks in historic Richmond offers casual fare in a homey setting. The brunch menu features yummy dishes like smashed avocado and eggs benedict. The lunch menu includes frittata and salad, salt and pepper calamari, and lamb salad. Several wines by the glass are available to pair with your meal. The restaurant has a sister site, Orford Café, on the east coast of Tasmania.
1830 Restaurant – Port Arthur
Port Arthur’s 1830 Restaurant overlooks the Penitentiary, gardens, and grounds. This top-rated dining establishment uses fresh seasonal produce from local growers. Open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner, the menu features a variety of dishes including Pirates Bay Octopus, beetroot and goats cheese ravioli, Rannoch Farm quail, and chargrilled King Island Scotch fillet or Porterhouse steak. The menu features Tasmanian wines, craft beers, whiskies, and spirits.
Van Bone Restaurant – Marion Bay
Perched in the Tasmanian countryside close to the panoramic coastal landscape of Marion Bay, Van Bone lives by a simple ethos of minimal intervention and incredible seasonal produce. The restaurant offers an intimate yet earthy setting, with towering walls and Tasmanian oak features aimed at gently reminding the diner of their modest scale. It serves a set menu of up to 14 courses, locally sourcing ingredients from small-scale organic farms nearby, onsite orchards and evergreen vegetable gardens.
Callington Mill – Oatlands
If you’re driving from Port Arthur to Launceston, a stop at Callington Mill in Oatlands is the perfect place to grab some lunch. While Callington Mill is a popular whisky distillery, its restaurant offers a large menu of fresh seafood, salads, duck leg, lamb rack, and charcuterie boards for something lighter to snack on.
Stelo at Pierres – Launceston
Launceston has become famous for its vibrant food culture and is now known as the City of Gastronomy in Tasmania. The Stelo at Pierres features local produce through an Italian lens. Signature dishes include handmade pasta and gnocchi, sourdough focaccia, and burrata. Wagyu beef and fresh seafood also grace the menu. The stylish dining room feels warm, luxe, and intimate.
The Ducks Bar and Restaurant – Rosevear
Overlooking the Tamar River, the Ducks Bar and Restaurant in Rosevear makes a perfect stop for lunch while wine tasting Tamar Valley. With a contemporary design and plentiful windows surrounding the dining room, the restaurant provides a comfortable atmosphere while enjoying top notch cuisine. Sticky chilli pork belly tacos, prawn cutlets on halloumi cheese, Dutch meatballs, Tamanian crumbed scallops, mushroom risotto, and seafood linguini are just a few of the tempting dishes to try.
Things to Do and See in Other Parts of Tasmania
Take a 20-minute drive out of Hobart to the historic town of Richmond. Located in the Coal River Valley wine region, Richmond is rich in history and architecture. Explore more than 50 historic buildings, mostly from the 1820s, including Australia’s oldest intact jail (1825) and the country’s oldest remaining Catholic church, St. John’s, built in 1836.
In recent years Tasmania has gained world recognition for its whisky. Today there are more than 30 distilleries throughout the island. Discover the whisky trail and find out what makes this Tasmanian spirit so special.
Explore beautiful Bruny Island, 90 minutes south of Hobart. Hike, shop, eat, take a cruise around it, or even stay overnight on Bruny Island.
Visit Australia’s most famous penal colony, Port Arthur. Take a tour around the grounds and through the prison to hear the stories of the unfortunate convicts housed here. If you like ghostly stories, sign up for the nighttime ghost tour and scare yourself to death! An hour and a half drive from Hobart, tour operators can arrange a day trip or stay over.
Wineglass Bay, an apt name for such a lovely wine region, is also one of the top ten beaches in the world. You can take a full day tour from Hobart to this lovely piece of the world or head there for a stay over and take a Wineglass Bay Cruise.
Things to Do and See in Hobart
Visit the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), an art museum housed in a subterranean temple within the Morilla Winery in Hobart. It showcases David Walsh’ private collection, some fascinating works of art, and some bizarre pieces. Whatever you think of the art, it’s sure to be a conversation starter at your next dinner table.
The museum includes two restaurants, several bars, a café, and wine tasting. It hosts several events a year and is popular with locals. The best (and the most fun) way to get there is to take a ferry from Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier.
The Salamanca Market in Hobart is one of Australia’s most famous outdoor markets. It takes place on Saturday and is free for visitors to walk around and explore arts and crafts, food and wine, and trash and treasure.
Visit the pinnacle of spectacular kunanyi /Mt. Wellington in Hobart and see the entire city and its harbor below. Hiking, mountain biking, and lookout platforms are all available. The Explorer bus runs between Hobart’s city center and the summit.
Garden lovers will want to visit the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart. With 14 hectares to explore, there’s plenty to see in a day from native Tasmanian plants, Japanese Garden, Floral Clock, and more. There is also an onsite restaurant when it’s time for a lunch break.
Things to Do in Launceston
In Launceston, visit the Tasmania Zoo where animals from around the world, as well as local species like the Tasmanian Devil. Learn more about the zoo’s conservation program to help endangered species.
View the magnificent Cataract Gorge on the South Esk River in Launceston via a scenic chairlift or by kayak. Or cruise the river through the Gorge on an Adventure Cruise.
Zip link, cliff walk, and rock climb at Penny Royal Adventures in Launceston. There’s even a spooky Sarah Island Ghost Tour for the very brave.
Retreats, Yoga and Walks
Nature lovers will want to book a guided walk in the Cradle Mountain Lake St. Clair National Park and Mount Field.
Looking for a retreat in Tasmania? There are expert-led retreats that include staying in luxury lodges featuring yoga, art, writing and photography are becoming popular. These focus on the restorative power of nature, meditation, writing and cold-water immersion – including dips with a qualified practitioner, fireside journaling and meditation among towering Eucalyptus.
Satellite Island, a hotel and private island, has a new hot mineral sea bath on the clifftop as well as a clifftop yoga deck and the timber Longhouse and fire pit entertaining area overlooking the sea. They are also building a floating sauna!
The largest and most innovative wildlife and landscape regeneration program in Australia’s history, WWF Walk for Wild, offers treks through different parts of Tasmania including Bay of Fires and Cradle Mountain. 100% of the Walk for Wild sales are donated to restore wildlife and habitats, rejuvenate communities impacted by the bushfires, boost sustainable agriculture and future-proof Australia’s environment.
Try whale watching with Southern Sea Ventures’ Tasman Peninsula Sea Kayak & Whale Watch Escape. Join resident biologist, Gary Miller, on a three-night adventure, paddling out to (otherwise inaccessible) coastlines and outlying islands. Settle into private beachside lodges, after a long day of paddling.
Mic Giuliani of Sirocco South has been a long-term fixture at Hobart’s Farm Gate Market. Small-group tours of up to six guests can join him in the hunt for wild ingredients, including native greens, wild asparagus, edible mushrooms, and saltbush followed by a six course, long table lunch with a winemaker.
Tasmanian Wild Seafood Adventures offers a two-hour cruise along the River Derwent to the towering Alum sea cliffs aboard a luxurious 55 foot catamaran – a seafood feast, and Tassie sparkling.
Tasmania’s Largest Summer and Winter Festivals
Tasmania is known for its Dark Mofo Festival in the winter and the summer Mona Mofo. Both events are very popular and attract visitors from around the globe.
Dark Mofo is a midwinter festival and celebrates the darkness of winter solstice. The festival features large scale public art, musical concerts, a food festival with hundreds of food and drink stalls, and even a nude swim in the morning after the longest night of the season.
The Mona Fomo (aka Mofo) is a five-day festival that takes place in January. It takes place at the Morilla Winery Estate and MONA and also features music, food, and drink.
Tasmania is the Ultimate Winetraveler Destination
Tasmania offers visitors so much to see and do it would be easy to spend a month here. Have you visited Tasmania yet? Share with our Winetravelers your experience in the comments below!
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