Wine history in Tasmania

Tasmania was among the first regions in Australia to be planted with vines. In 1823, Bartholomew Broughton, an ex-convict, planted vines at the prospect. He created the first commercial vineyard in Tasmania in October 1823. Bartholemew’s farm started producing wine on the banks of the Derwent River by 1826. Broughton died on June 21 1828, and a new owner, Captain Swanston, took over. He had wines recognized internationally and on the mainland.

Tasmania wine, History of wine in Tasmania and New Zealand

In January 1852, workers vacated and flew away, hoping to acquire gold nuggets. Tasmanians were rushing to Victoria for gold. The vineyards of Tasmania slowly died due to a lack of labor. Around the same time, in 1860, to create sobriety in the country, specific laws were implemented to ban fortified spirits, a specialty from Tasmania. In 1865, there were 45 varieties on the ground. The region took a nose-dive in wine production while other wine-producing areas began to thrive. In March 1956, the wine industry in Tasmania resurfaced to glory with the aid of Jean Miguet.

The King of New Zealand Wine Industry: Sauvignon Blanc

In Tasmania, the modern wine industry dates back to 1975 due to table wines which grew in popularity throughout Australia. Thanks to Heemskerk and Roederer, Tasmania is widely known for its sparkling wines and has produced a wide variety of wines over the last 30 years. In July 2019, around 17,180 tonnes of wine grapes were harvested, equating to 1.24 million cases (dozens). Tasmanian wine is based on a preference for quality over quantity. The region is well known for its Pinot Noir, which constitutes nearly half of the wine produced.

The best wines from Tasmania can be found at wineries, such as Domaine and Pipers Brook. The first sparkling wines were introduced in 1989 by Heemskerk and Roederer. Rieslings have also been successful in Tasmania. Most vineyards in Tasmania are located from the north near Launceston and the south near Hobart.

The region is well suited to produce dry and aromatic white wines. Key players in wine production include the Brown Brothers, who bought Tasmania’s Tamar Ridge in June 2015, and Kreglinger, a Belgian family company that purchased the 1974-established Pipers Brook Vineyard in 2001. Tasmania region has 184 wine licensed producers, over 90 outlets for cellar doors, and  40% of its wine is sold within Tasmania. 55% of it is sold to mainland Australia, while only 5% is exported.

Wine History in New Zealand

Wine history in New Zealand dates back to the colonial era. On September 25, 1819, Reverend Samuel Marsden introduced the first vines in the region. Scotsman James Busby was the earliest recorded winemaker. In 1840, Dumont d’Urville, a  French explorer, visited James Busby in Waitangi and was offered a light, delicious, and sparkling white wine.

In 1851, the French missionaries built a wine-making vineyard for the Holy Communion at Hawker’s Bay. These are the most ancient commercial vineyards in New Zealand. In 1836 Bubsy James, a British resident first commercialized wine growing at nearby Waitangi while selling wine to British troops. In 1881 William Henry Beetham became the first person ever to plant Syrah and Pinot Noir grapes in New Zealand. Despite grapes cultivation and wine production in New Zealand, it was mostly for family consumption or religious use rather than commercial purposes.

The Great Depression, from August 1929 to March 1933, hampered the growth of the wine industry. The wine industry expanded in 1940 during World WarII as levies and duties on imported wine were raised. In 1960, successive governments made several legislative concessions that significantly reduced the least amount of wine that winemakers could sell, the permit for restaurants to sell wine, and approval for more retail outlets.

In November 1972, these factors underwent changes. On January 1, 1973, Great Britain joined the European Economic Community, which aimed to terminate the old terms of trade. This ultimately led to a restructuring of the agricultural economy.

In 1973, Montana Wines planted the first vineyards of  Marlborough, and in 1979, they produced its first-ever Sauvignon Blanc. In January 1984, the government paid growers to remove all the vines as an initiative. Contrary, a lot of growers utilized the grants to replace the old varieties with more fashionable ones like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

Did you know? European importers from New Zealand have encouraged Producers to grow  Rosé, which is a suitable variety for the British market. Most wine-producing regions are located on the eastern coastlines of the South and North Islands, each with a unique climate and soil.

The New Zealand wine commands ultra-premium pricing. With its grassy smell, Sauvignon blanc put New Zealand wine in the international spotlight in 1980. Grape varieties grown in New Zealand include Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Marzemino, and Tempranillo. Other trends include the growth of aromatic white grapes such as Riesling, Viognier, and Gewürztraminer and the development of other reds such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec.

More resource: History of the Waiheke Island

On this Day

In July 1985, the government removed barriers that hindered wine trade with overseas partners, thus allowing Australian wineries to contest the New Zealand market by 1990.

In 2000, there were less than 100 wineries in New Zealand. Up to now, the numbers have grown to more than 670.

In 2015, New Zealand had its 30th vintage for the well-established Cloudy Bay. Nearly 90% of total production is exported. New Zealand’s national income from exporting wine has tremendously increased from $NZ18 million to $2 billion from 1990 to 2020.

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Tasmania wine, History of wine in Tasmania and New ZealandTasmania wine, History of wine in Tasmania and New Zealand

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