Tasmania has four distinct wine growing regions, and as a newly transplanted Taswegian, I feel it is my duty to explore this vital aspect of the economy. To that end, I enlisted the help of my best mate, and trouper as always, she flew down from Brisbane to provide support for this difficult exploration.
We began the weekend by tasting raspberry champagne at the raspberry farm down the road. A soft pink colour, but distinctly nice sparkles, and it accompanied the raspberry dumplings and cheesecake we ordered nicely.
Closer to home we stopped to pick up some chocolate to go with the next round of exploration – the Janz champagne and Ninth Island Chardonnay I had stored in my wine cellar.
Now, this was just preliminary preparation for the great adventure that the next day was to bring – the foray into the Launceston Wine Fair! Much preparation was required for this – fortifying with a solid fruit toast, mushroom and egg breakfast; dressing appropriately with stable leg supporting shoes; ensuring we had our tickets to enter the unknown realm, and; once in Launceston, ordering the transport to take us to the beginning of the adventure.
We set off with high hopes and much courage – we would not be daunted by the challenge ahead of us – over 200 local and mainland wines, plus a few whiskies to fight our way through to reach the end. We had considered plans of attack but had yet to decide upon one as we entered the wine jungle. In the end we decided on an all terrain approach – down one side, up the other and take on the middle last.
We sipped, tipped, chatted and listened our way around the various wineries presenting their challenges to our palates. We found wines we loved, wines we thought should have been left in the grape, and the whisky finale was eye-opening.
The jungle was filled with other explorers and the atmosphere became louder as the afternoon explorations wore on. Young people starting out in their first adventures into this wine world mingled with seasoned adventurers looking for a hidden treasure, not yet discovered.
Our transport out of the jungle called for us, and so we left to prepare for the next stage of the adventure – dinner at a local winery. This necessitated a bit of recuperation and gear rearrangement, but once that was accomplished, we were ready for the next arduous round of exploration. Joseph Chromy Winery was on the other side of the concrete jungle and we appreciated the differences between the federation and art nouveau style jungle of Launceston and the wild areas of grape vines scattered across the hills.
We valiantly adventured on through the amuse bouche, the two completely different local oyster dishes, the confit of chicken and the thick, rich undergrowth of dessert, testing the various wines that supported the life of the food. Our bravery knew no end – although, as designated driver, my courage was limited.
Back at the camp we planned the next day’s adventures; creating another path into the jungle by venturing north to Vélo Vineyard. Exploration gear reassembled, we followed the river to our destination and again, tested our strength and endurance against the array of bottles waiting for us.
The exploration concluded with a quick trip to the airport for my fellow explorer to head back to her civilization, while I continued my adventure by exploring a cheese factory on the way back to my civilization. We had done well, and planned for more wine jungle exploring in the future.