Tasmania is the oldest wine-producing region in Australia, and the Tamar Valley, located in Northern Tasmania, produces 40% of Tasmania’s premium quality wine. This was the reason why I just had to squeeze in at least a half day tour of Tamar Valley vineyards into my Tasmania itinerary. 🙂
Based on Tripadvisor reviews and some price comparison with companies that specialise in Tamar Valley wine tours, I decided to book a half-day wine tour with lunch with Valleybrook Wine Tours, reasons being:
1. Its wine tours are the most popular based on Tripadvisor Popularity Index;
2. The price of its tour seem to be more value for money. My half-day tour with lunch cost A$110 (A$120 from 1 Jun 2014) for about 4.5 hours from 11am to approximately 3.30pm and we visited 4 vineyards. Other tour operators charge more and the hours seem to be shorter.
My tour guide for the day, Jeremy picked me up at the hotel at 11am with an Australian couple already in the car. Our first stop of the tour was at The Jansz Wine Room, apparently one of Australia’s most respected premium sparkling wines. The Australian couple seemed very happy to be able to do wine-tasting here, so I guess this must be quite a reputable wine.
Next stop was the Pipers Brook Vineyard, just opposite Jansz, where we also had our sumptuous lunch. Over here we were offered so many wines to taste that I wondered how I could continue staying sober at the next 2 vineyards haha. My favourite here was the 2008 Sparkling, and in general I thought the wines here tasted better than Jansz’s. 😛 Probably because they were sweeter not too bitter, somewhat tasted more like dessert wines. The lunch was also delicious – I had the Ocean Trout (with baked potatoes & greens) which was really fresh & tasty, see the real stuff for yourself 🙂
Our third stop was Delamere Vineyard, a much smaller cellar door than the earlier 2. It is a family owned producer of estate grown and bottled wines. The wines here didn’t leave too deep an impression on me unfortunately. I only remembered the beautiful cows it owns just outside the cellar door haha.
The final vineyard we visited was the Bay of Fires Wines, home to the Bay of Fires cool climate wines including the House of Arras range. The cellar door entrance here looks more modern than the others.
Probably because this was our last stop, my head was somehow heavier than before the tour, after tasting so many different wines. After a few tastings, I decided to stop and told them not to pour anymore into the glass for me. 😛 Same as Delamere, the wines here didn’t leave a great impression on me, but I guess it was mainly because I just had far too many tastings of more than 20 types of wines.
We were sent back to our hotels after visiting 4 vineyards. What was nice about Jeremy the tour guide was that, when I arrived at my hotel and asked him if it was too late to visit Cataract Gorge at 3+pm, without hesitation, he asked the couple if they mind the slight delay, then drove me to the entrance of the Gorge and guided me the right way to the attraction! Great customer service isn’t it? ^^
I realise all the 4 vineyards were pretty generous with the amount of wine they pour into each glass for tasting, and at each cellar door we would be tasting like 7 or 8 types of wines! For someone who is not a wine connoisseur, this was definitely off my limits already. I wonder what would happen if I sign up for the full day tour that visits 6 vineyards? Lol
In general, the Tamar Valley wines seem to be drier than the usual wines imported to Singapore. Even Riesling, which is a sweet dessert wine, aren’t as sweet as the ones I had in New Zealand and Singapore. However what I like about these cool-climate wines is that they leave a refreshing taste lingering in your mouth. Try it for yourself next time when you visit Tasmania to feel the difference! 🙂