‘The superior visitor facilities of Tamar Valley and Pipers River wineries have made this northern Tasmanian wine and food route a favourite with tourists. They can take their choice of 21 cellar doors radiating out from the historic city of Launceston, and have no problem finding good food along the way,’ according to a recent article in OUTthere magazine.

The article continues: ‘Tasmanian winemakers learned long ago that the site could produce excellent sparkling wine from its pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, which now account for more than 75 per cent of the island’s plantings.

“Tasmania’s climate has much in common with that of Champagne and Burgundy, the homes of pinot noir and chardonnay in France,” says Andrew Pirie. “They share temperate summers and similar rainfall patterns, leading to slow, even ripening of the grapes.”

Andrew and his brother, David, established the first commercial vineyard in the modern era fo the state’s wine production when they planted Pipers Brook in 1974. Twenty years later Andrew created the Ninth Island label for his early-drinking range. Andrew left Pipers Brook in 2003 and late last year introduced the first labels from his new, family-owned business. The Pirie South series comprises three unwooded wines – pinot noir, chardonnay and riesling. Later this year he will launch his first ultra-premium, a barrel matured pinot noir.

Bay of Fires, owned by the Hardy Wine Company, makes the base wines for Hardy’s super-premium sparkling Arras as well as producing cool climate varietals and bubblies under the Bay of Fires and Tigress labels. The charming tasing rooms also serve tea, coffe, cakes and local cheeses.

Clover Hill was established by Taltarni of Victoria to produce top class cool climate sparking wines. The vineyard near the townshiup of Lebrina is planted in an arc around a natural amphitheatre.

“Our 1999 vintage was named Winestate magazine’s Sparkling Wine of the Year, and we sent 40,000 bottles to Denmark, some of which were served at the royal wedding of Crown Prince Frederik with Tasmania’s Mary Donaldson,” says manager Chris Smith. “The 2000 vintage is looking just as good.” As well as Clover Hill bubbly, there are Lalla Gully chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling and sauvignon blanc available for tasting at the cellar door.

Providence Vineyards at Lalla was planted in 1956, and is thus Tasmania’s oldest vineyard still in production. In addition to Providence wines, owners Stuart and Brenda Bryce stock a selection from sixteen other small wineries throughout Tasmania.

Jansz and Pipers Brook are situated side by side on Pipers Brook Road. A short drive through the vineyards brings you to Pipers Brook’s architecturally acclaimed winery building, open every day for tastings and sales. A cafe serves very good lunches and there are guided tours of the winery in summer.

Jansz sparlking wine was developed by Heemskerk, Pipers Brook’s neighbour, with the help of the prestigious Champagne house Louis Roederer, a partner in the project. In 1998 the Hill Smith family, owners of Yalumba, purchased the property and changed its name to Jansz Tasmania. The new Jansz Wine Room and Interpretive Centre is an interactive wine tourism attraction with a contemporary feel.

Beside the spectacular Barman Bridge at Deviot is Iron Pot Bay Wines, its cellar door in a garden setting on the riverbank. Here you can taste a range of lovely unwooded whites and two very good pinot noirs.

Tamar Ridge’s recently opened cellar door and tasting room, with a cafe serving platters of Tasmanian specialty foods, is at the entrance to the company’s 62-hectare vineyard …’

There is more to this article and it mentions some other wineries in the “new” area of Relbia, just south of Launceston including Bundaleera and Kelly’s Creek. This is a useful link for Tamar Valley Wine information.