Part 1 – Coal River Valley
Head West from Hobart towards the historic town of Richmond and you will find a large number of quality wineries spaced quite closely together. Each has something different to offer the wine tourist or casual visitor and there is probably too much to do all in the one day, so here is our brief overview of the wineries of the region, listed is geographical order heading West (click on the name of any winery to be taken to a more detailed review):
Coal Valley Vineyard: The wines here are towards the cheaper end, with the average price around $32 per bottle. The list of wines on taste is not huge, so tasting everything is an option (especially if you’re not driving). On taste: Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir.
Frogmore Creek: Another winery with beautiful views from the dining room and a well-stocked gift shop. The dining here is first rate and if you like dessert wines, the Iced Riesling is very nice. On taste: Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet-Merlot (blend), Iced Riesling (sweet).
Craigow: This winery is not always open, but the owner lives on the site, so keep an eye out for the OPEN sign and drop in for a visit. For a small winery, Craigow has more than its share of awards, especially for its dessert wine. On taste: Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and dessert wine (Riesling).
Riversdale Estate: You can book high-tea at this winery and once a month there are special themed high-teas where visitors dress in costume (book in advance, it gets very popular). The cellar door is French-themed and there is even a Peter Rabbit garden to explore (tickets required) and a Beatrix Potter gift shop… On taste: Sparkling wines, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Botrytis Riesling (sweet).
Puddleduck: With cellar door staff that really know their stuff to the view over the duck pond to the really excellent assortment of wines, this is a must-visit stop, but be warned, it can get busy! Bring your own food and buy a bottle of wine at the cellar door as part of their “reverse BYO” picnic or do a full taste experience with wines served in varietal Riedel glassware for $15 (or $25 with cheese and quackers – our recommendation)
Every man and his dog: Andy and Loretta run this winery with some assistance (in a supervisory role only) from their Black Labrador Archie who is one of the most gentle and friendly wine dogs we have ever met (he is on the cover of Edition 5 of the Wine Dogs book). The tastings here are really laid-back and if you’re lucky they are done while being given a tour of the winery which includes the chicken-run. On taste: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Siegerrebe (a white wine, German in origin that is hardly grown anywhere else, so well worth dropping in to sample).
Pooley: The cellar door here is reminiscent of some of Australia’s oldest wineries with the stone and timber construction. Visitors can choose from a number of tasting options: basic, single vineyard or premium Pinot Noir. On taste: Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Cabernet-Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.