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Monday 26 October 2020

Winemakers band together to sell a taste of Tasmania

group of leading Tasmanian wine brand owners have formed a partnership, together with a locally based marketing specialist, to launch online wine sales platform Wines of Tasmania.

Each month, a selection of exceptional, rare and hard-to-find wines from Tasmania’s best wine producers are blind-tasted by a panel of wine industry experts. 

The best are then chosen to be included in a monthly subscription box - aimed at spreading the word about Tasmania's benchmark wines.

The business was conceived out of the Covid-19 pandemic when the border to Tasmania closed and face-to-face cellar door sales essentially ceased. 

Katrina Myburgh, founder and managing director of Wines of Tasmania said: “I saw an opportunity to build a quality umbrella brand that would select the finest wines, package them beautifully, and share them with people who have not had much exposure to Tasmanian wine, knowing that they would be blown away, by every single bottle."


Katrina pitched the idea to a group of Tasmanian wine industry leaders who joined Katrina to form the company Wines of Tasmania Families P/L: Fran Austin and Shane Holloway from Delamere Vineyards; Bec and Tim Duffy from Holm Oak; Linda Morice (and the late Vaughn Dell) from Sinapius; and Fiona Weller and Julian Allport from Moores Hill.


“It would only work if they [Delamere, Holm Oak, Sinapius, Moores Hill] agreed that the common goal was to build the reputation of the Tasmania wine industry and not just their individual brands, despite the flow-on effect from which they would benefit,” said Myburgh. 

“Their direct involvement as reputable wine brands also provided the necessary credibility for other producers to get on board.”

Wines of Tasmania launched in September 2020 and has featured iconic Tasmanian wine brands including Dr-Edge, BelleBonne, Freycinet Vineyards, Derwent Estate, Mewstone, Marion’s Vineyard and Two Tonne Tasmania. Henskens Rankin, Pooley and Stefano Lubiana Wines are lined up to be included in the coming months.


Linda Morice, owner at Sinapius, said: “When Katrina came to Vaughn and I earlier this year, we immediately thought it made sense. There was so much uncertainty as a fair amount of our wine sales are made through our cellar door. 

"Without those tourists turning up on our doorstep, and the fact we don’t do a lot of marketing, we needed to find another way to get our wine out there. Vaughn was on board and we were excited at the prospect to work collaboratively with other like-minded, quality-focused and value-driven wine brands”.


Sadly, within a week of Vaughn and Linda agreeing to join Wines of Tasmania, Vaughn passed away in his sleep, at just 39 years of age, from an undiagnosed heart condition.


“Safe to say, this year has been really tough,” said Linda. “I have my days, that’s for sure. But the Wines of Tasmania business has helped me focus on continuing the Sinapius legacy that Vaughn and I created. 

"Our brand is very much aligned with Wines of Tasmania – rare, select, hard-to-find, exceptional wines. That’s us. We’re not big. We’re not found everywhere, either. We simply want to make the best possible wine and ensure wine lovers have access to it.”


Fran Austin, co-owner and winemaker at Delamere Vineyards could immediately see the benefit of bringing like-minded industry colleagues together. 

“There’s that saying ‘we’re stronger, together’ which I think sums up Wines of Tasmania," she said. "So often we get bogged down in the detail of our own businesses and can’t see the bigger picture.


“We all have similar views and values when it comes to growing, making and promoting quality Tasmanian wine, so when we’ve come to the table in recent months to build the business plan, we’ve been able share our own experiences from the past couple of decades and solve a lot more than if we were trying to achieve that on our own,” said Fran.


Currently Wines of Tasmania is geared at a niche domestic audience, however, there are plans to take it further into Asia Pacific, and beyond. 

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