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Tuesday 4 December 2018

Time for Tasmanian wines to reflect their regionality?

This story caused a lot of debate when published in The Hobart Magazine

When you buy a wine from Victoria, it will almost certainly be labelled as being from the Yarra Valley, or Mornington Peninsula.  If you choose a bottle from New South Wales, it will probably be labelled as from the Hunter Valley or Mudgee.

Most Tasmanian wines, however, are still labelled as simply “Tasmania”. That is because there are no official geographic indicators (GIs) in the state and the entire island is regarded as one region.

But that may soon change if some leading winemakers have their way.

Jim Chatto (below) from pinot noir specialist Chatto Wines in the Huon Valley, has called for more wines labelled as “Tamar Valley” or “Coal River Valley” rather than just “Tasmania”.

“We need to come of age and accept that Tasmania is a whole lot more than more than one GI,” Chatto says. 

“It is a really dynamic place, but the regions are very different. Look at the Huon Valley in the south of the state and Pipers River in the north; they are producing different styles of wine.

“Those differences are part of the story of Tasmanian wine and should be celebrated. They enrich the whole story. Overall, I can see exponential growth and improvement in quality as people choose not only the right vineyard sites, but also the correct grape varieties and right clones.”

Others feel Tasmania is strong stand-alone brand and should concentrate on that. The debate seems likely to continue. 

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