There’s a definite air of excitement flying into Hobart. Granted, it’s only a 45-minute flight from Melbourne (60 from Sydney), but thanks to the turbulent divide of Bass Strait, it really feels like (and technically is) an overseas journey.
Southern Tassie’s wine industry is young and small but it makes up for this with some of the most incredible cool-climate wine you’re ever likely to find in Australia. From fragrant pinot noir and chardonnay to refreshing riesling, pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc, it’s hard to put a foot wrong in this sensational part of the Apple Isle.
Where to stay
Hobart is your best bet – it’s just a brilliant city, and conveniently, the wine regions (the Coal River, Derwent and Huon Valleys) are all within a 40-minute drive from the town centre. Check out Prospect House for luxury stays; Macq01 for opulent harbour views; Mantra One Sandy Bay Road for easy city access or the renowned Henry Jones Art Hotel.
Located in Richmond (just a stone’s throw from Hobart airport), Pooley Wines offers a great introduction to the distinct flavours of Southern Tassie. They’re praised for their sublime pinot noir and chardonnay here, but their riesling, cabernet merlot and gewurztraminer are all cracking, too. The team fires up the pizza oven from Friday to Sunday and there’s really nothing better than eating delicious woodfired pizza with a glass of pinot overlooking historic Richmond and the Coal River Valley.
Head over to the renowned Frogmore Creek cellar door and enjoy a drink gazing out over their vineyards. If time’s on your side, be sure to book a table at the restaurant for an amazing lunch focusing on local ingredients.
Back in Hobart, the dark side is in good form at the Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers cellar door. Run by 2011 GT WINE Young Winemaker of the Year Nick Glaetzer, it’s set in a former ice factory; the ultra-modern tasting room sits in almost complete darkness so you can experience a full sensory experience.
Head for a sundowner at the Antarctic-themed Institut Polaire where Nav Singh and Louise Radman pair their Domaine Simha wines and Süd Polaire spirits (including specialised G&T flights) to delicious Japanese-inspired share plates. With dinner calling, check out Tom McHugo’s Hobart Hotel for a modern, world-class take on the classic Aussie pub meal, or for an unforgettably intimate dining experience head to the 20-seater Templo Restaurant where chef Matthew Breen offers up some of the city’s most honest and expressive food.
No trip to Hobart is complete without a trip to MONA; for those more inclined to the vinous art forms, a visit to the on-site Moorilla and MOO Brew Brewery ticks all the boxes. With on-site eateries like The Source and Faro, a morning, half a day, or even an entire day is well spent here.
Twenty minutes north along the Derwent River will bring you to Stefano Lubiana Wines. Set in a Tuscan-style villa overlooking the river and the kitchen garden, the cellar door and restaurant is Hobart’s little slice of Italy. The wines are biodynamic, the food is fresh, local and seasonal and the views are fantastic. Just around the corner you’ll find the renowned Derwent Estate where you can sample stunning expressions of chardonnay, pinot noir, riesling and pinot gris.
An hour’s drive to the south lies the rugged and remote Huon Valley. Few have been brave enough to plant vineyards in this chilly part of Tassie but some producers – namely Home Hill Vineyard, Elsewhere Vineyard, Sailor Seeks Horse, Chatto and Mewstone Wines, whose vines overlook the D’Entrecasteaux Channel – have made a name for both themselves and the region with some of Australia’s most ethereal and expressive pinot noir.
Back in Hobart, head to Shambles Brewery for a refreshing pre-dinner beer before indulging in one of the city’s finest establishments for dinner. You’ll be spoilt for choice but you can’t go wrong with Franklin, Dier Makr or Ettie’s to experience the cutting-edge dining Tasmania is so well-known for. All offer a range of small plates or ‘feed me’ options so you let the chef do the deciding for you.