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Sunday 25 June 2023

Meet the wine tasting that is a complete racket

Tasmania's Holm Oak Wines has a very special link with the game of tennis - a link which is reflected in a new cellar door tasting experience.

The new celebration of cool-climate pinot noir is linked to the achievements of Australian tennis player Jack Crawford, who won six grand slam singles titles - including Wimbledon, the US Open and the French Open in 1933.

The structured tasting will incorporate the story of Launceston’s Alexander Patent Racket Co. Ltd, who made Crawford’s iconic racket “The Cressy Wizard.”

The Alexander Patent Racket Co. was founded in 1925, and at its peak it made 750 rackets per week with a unique flat-topped design.

It made a special racket for Crawford, with superior strength and allowing for the strings to be tightened to a higher tension.

Crawford's global profile put the small company on the international map.

In the 1930s what is now the Holm Oak estate belonged to Alexander North, a director of the Alexander Patent Racket Co. He and his son planted the land with trees to potentially produce wood to make rackets.

The endeavour did not come to fruition, but it did create a beautiful property with rich, fertile soil perfect for a vineyard.

The new tasting experience will allow wine lovers, tennis fans and history buffs to hear more of Holm Oak’s connection with one of the biggest names in Australian tennis history.

The naming of Holm Oak’s wines, The Wizard, The Hot Shot and The Protégé were inspired by local tennis history and will be tasted side by side.

The new tasting, to be known as Top of our Game, launches on July 1 at Holm Oak’s cellar door in the Tamar Valley.

Before or after the tasting, guests can examine the Duffy family collection of tennis memorabilia, including Tasmanian-designed and crafted tennis rackets.  

Winemaker Bec Duffy says she is often asked what inspires the name of her wines.

“Customers are always surprised to hear that the Holm Oak story is intertwined with world-class tennis," she says.

"It’s a privilege to craft our distinctive small-parcel Tasmanian wines on this site, steeped in tennis history. We love to think that we share the same values of quality, perseverance, and spirit of innovation as our tennis-loving forefathers.

"This new tasting gives us a chance to tell the fascinating story of Launceston’s role in Jack Crawford’s success.”

The Top of our Game wine tasting will cost $40 per person and bookings are essential.

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