It is hard to pick which was better the wine, lunch or the scenery! What is not hard to decide is we had a fantastic day exploring the wines of the Tamar Valley. If you aren’t familiar with the Tamar Valley, we are in northern Tasmania just outside of Launceston. The area is known for its white wines and it’s Pinot Noir, grape varietals that do well in cool climates. Throughout the Tamar Valley there are over 30 vineyards, most are very small producers. Total production of Tasmanian wine is low quantity, high quality. Tasmania produces less than 1% of Australia’s overall wine production.
Josef Chromy a Legend in Tasmania Wine
It’s a full day of wine tasting and our day begins at Josef Chromy Wines. The winery and gardens are just stunning. Very popular for weddings and special occasions and the site of a popular outdoor concert, a Day on the Green, in the summer. The gardens are very well maintained.
Featuring a selection of award winning wines sold under three labels, Pepik, Josef Chromy and Zdar. We sampled the Josef Chromy brand wines.
Also on the site is a full service restaurant which features local produce and fantastic views. During the better weather there is outdoor dining. And from indoors, the views are still spectacular. The restaurant has won numerous food and tourism awards and is very highly regarded. Make a reservation to avoid disappointment.
Josef Chromy Wines is also home to the annual Effervescence Festival in November each year- a festival celebrating Tasmanian sparkling wines.
A bit of a legend in Tasmania, Josef Chromy has several wineries and has also developed several, major, real-estate projects around the Launceston area. We will see more of Josef Chromy’s work as the day progresses. We stop at a total of 6 wineries, 3 of them have some history or association with Josef Chromy!
From Josef Chromy Wines we visited the nearby Sharman Wines. Another winery with stunning views overlooking the North Esk River! And great wines!
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Sampling the Local Tasmanian Produce at Lunch
Heading back to Launceston for our third stop and lunch break, we have the opportunity to see more of Josef Chromy’s work at the Penny Royal development and Relbia Estate Wines (South African style wines) cellar door. Josef Chromy is behind the redevelopment of Penny Royal and the owner of Relbia Estate Wines.
This is also our lunch stop featuring a fantastic tasting platter made from produce from local suppliers in Tasmania. The highlights from the tasting platter are the slow cooked lamb cutlets! Perfectly cooked, juicy and the meat just fell off the bone! And then there was lightly smoked trout served with the most delightful crème freche from another local diary.
The chef came out to see if we enjoyed our meal and a conversation of local produce and food production followed. Tasmania really is blessed in the food department- Saffron, whisky, wine, waygu beef, fresh seafood including oysters and scallops. Lamb, beef, free range chickens and the freshest eggs you will ever find. A full range of vegetables, berries and a wide array of apples. And in turn apples ciders and sparking apples juices. Honey, cheese, butter, milk. You get the picture, there is a wide range of top notch food producers all right here on the island. And because the island is so small, food miles are pretty limited. Food arrives fresh!
More Tamar Valley Wineries in the Afternoon
Having eaten we headed out to Loira Vines to meet the winemaker. He also makes cider. A bit like Jack Sprat in the nursery rhyme, the husband will drink no wine, and the wife will drink no cider, so between the two of them they make a fine selection of both.
From there we headed to Moores Hill, a small family owned winery. They are just building their own processing facility on the property. The current husband and wife team bought the winery in 2008. Try the CGR Late Harvest Riesling! The vines and wine production are all done by hand.
The day ended at Tamar Ridge, one of the oldest and well known wineries in the Tamar Valley. Now owned by Brown Brothers, a large Australian wine producer, Tamar Ridge was originally started by Josef Chromy. This is the largest producer we visit for the day and probably the wine label you are most likely to find available internationally.
Luckily for us, it is not the end of our adventure. We purchased some lovely wines and look forward to drinking them in the years to come. And one of the things I love about buying wines at the cellar door is each time we drink a bottle, we can talk about our day in the Tamar Valley!
If You Go Wine Tasting in the Tamar Valley
We were a guest of Prestige Wine Tours a specialist in personalized wine tours in Tasmania. Our tour was the Platinum tour through the Tamar Valley. Anthony, our guide, was delightful and knowledgeable about Tasmania and the wine industry. All and all it was a magnificent day, we thoroughly enjoyed it!
If you plan to visit several wineries, consider a tour. Australia is very strict on drinking and driving, the blood alcohol limit is .05 with random breath testing stops to check. If you plan on wine tasting for the day, leave the driving to someone else.