“It’s a very new region for growing grapes, but we’re taking the world by storm,” says Great Eastern Wine Week curator Glenn Travers, of Tasmania’s east coast. Tassie wine is in its infancy, having only begun in the 1950s, while the first east coast vineyard – Travers’s own Craigie Knowe Vineyard – was planted in 1979. It means that, in many ways, east coast Tasmanian wine is still a secret to many of us.
It’s in this spirit of discovery that the region hosts September’s Great Eastern Wine Week, a 10-day festival of events along the coast, from September 9 to 18. The area’s unique maritime climate – cool, but slightly warmer than the rest of the state – produces stunning pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling wine. But Travers knows there’s so much more on offer on Tassie’s east coast, all year round. “What we want people to experience is what’s actually on the east coast and what makes us so special – not only our wine and food, but also our unique experiences,” he says.
From the natural beauty of Wineglass Bay, Bay of Fires and Maria Island, and the excitement of St Helens mountain-to-sea mountain bike trails, to abundant local seafood and, of course, world-class wine, it’s definitely worth planning an itinerary for the full 10 days. To get you started, Travers is sharing a few of his Great Eastern Wine Week highlights.
Black Tie and Blundstone at Devil's Corner Cellar Door Black tie or not, it doesn’t get more Tassie than Blundstones. Attendees of this do are in for a treat, with Devil’s Corner cellar door having just undergone some major renovations. “You’ve got this beautiful bar area and then glass windows that look right out to The Hazards," says Travers.
Wines will be from the top-end Mt Amos and Resolution series, accompanied by pizzas from Tombolo.
Great Eastern Wine Cruise, Wineglass Bay
If you’ve never seen Wineglass Bay, well, there are worse ways than with a glass of wine in hand. “They leave from Coles Bay, go around through Schouten Passage and end up in Wineglass Bay, which is just stunning with pure white sand,” says Travers. “There’s a chance to see whales and dolphins and all sorts of things and you get some great wine along the way.”
High tea with perfectly matched wines at Craigie Knowe Vineyard
Craigie Knowe has quickly become famed for its high tea, presided over by pastry chef Xinrou Wang. The event for Great Eastern Wine Week promises to be the best yet. “There’s 12 individual pieces per person, savoury and sweet, and two glasses of wine that go along with that for each participant,” Travers says. Along with Craigie Knowe wines, expect salted caramel and milk chocolate eclairs, black forest cake and buns filled with salmon and dill.
Freycinet Marine Farm long table lunch
“The long table is going to be all about seafood,” says Travers. Freycinet Marine Farm shows off the riches of east coast merroir – a sense of place, like terroir for wine, but beneath the waves for seafood. Come for a lunch of freshly shucked Pacific oysters, mussels and plenty more, all paired with local east coast wines.
A Japanese fusion for your wine senses at Raida Restaurant
Travers is especially excited for this food and wine experience, curated by St Helens Japanese fusion spot, Raida. “This sells out every year,” says Travers. “Their food is just to die for.” The menu is still under wraps, but expect a focus on local produce weaved with Japanese influences and wonderful east coast Tasmanian whites and rosés, some Japanese sake and local Tasmanian beer.
Whisky and gin masterclass at Spring Bay Distillery
There’s more to Tasmania than just wine, and you can get a close look with this distillery tour and tasting at Spring Bay Distillery. “You actually get to go out the back tasting award-winning whiskies and gins,” says Travers. “You get up close and personal with a still, the barrels, you get to see the whole shooting match.” Expect the whisky flights and range of gins to taste even better when you’ve experienced how it’s made.
The festival is a collective of nearly 60 events, so there is something to suit everyone’s taste. To book your tickets and plan your trip to east coast Tassie for the Great Eastern Wine Week visit the Eat Coast Wine Trail Website
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with East Coast Wine Trail Association and East Coast Tasmania Tourism. The Great Eastern Wine Week is supported by the Tasmanian Government through Events Tasmania. This project received grant funding from the Australian Government under the Recovery for Regional Tourism program, an initiative of the $1 billion Covid-19 Relief and Recovery Fund.