Thursday 4 July 2013

Hansard of the Legislative Council






Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, some people think a wine route is like a pub crawl with cellars instead of bars, but it is not so. Wine routes, like the Tamar Valley Wine Route, are much less excessive and much more sophisticated. Who ever heard of a pub crawl that gives annual awards? Mind you, for some, it sounds like a pretty good idea.  I want to talk more about those awards later.


Just what is the Tamar Valley Wine Route? It grew from one licensed cellar door - Marion's Vineyard - to now more than 30 cellar doors, spread over 170 kilometres around the Tamar Valley.  It is a great tourism asset and it welds together all of those vineyards into a cohesive group, as demonstrated by the annual awards, which I attended last Friday night.


The stand-out award this year was the Service to the Industry Award won by Sally McShane of Humbug Reach Vineyard in my electorate. Sally took on the challenge of compiling the Tamar Valley Wine Route history project over the last two years. The history is now online as a digital archive accessible to all. Sally McShane said that many modern-day pioneers of the wine industry are now retiring and there was that need, she felt, to capture their stories.

 Sally said:

Sadly, many records were already lost with one major company sending their records interstate and then losing them. The story of the wine industry in Tasmania is of people, passion and place. We want to be able to tell that story to the world. No early retirement in this industry. People are leaving somewhat reluctantly in their 70s and 80s.


The project had support from Arts Tasmania with the services of a roving curator from the Tasmanian Community Fund with a grant for archival equipment and from the Tamar Valley Wine Route, which then funded the addition of a gallery to its web page. Although at this stage the project is a digital record, it is hoped that it may one day lead to a physical museum.  I am sure that, like the Boags Museum, it will be quite an attraction for tourists.


The Tasmanian wine industry can be said to have started way back in 1864, with an article in the Mercury newspaper by William Henty pointing out that Tasmania had a superior climate to Burgundy and Bordeaux.  However, even with a recommendation like that it was still a shaky start to the wine industry in Tasmania and it petered out in the 1900s.


In 1956, a Frenchman by the name of Jean Miguet planted the La Provence Vineyard at Lalla in northern Tasmania and then the modern era of winemaking in Tasmania began.  Initial plantings were from cuttings that were smuggled in from France. Miguet corresponded with leading Australian wine figures of the day as he sought to import properly certified cuttings from the mainland to establish his commercial vineyard.  Miguet also fought a very long and unsuccessful battle with Tasmanian authorities to sell his wines direct to the public.  It seems unusual, does it not, to have to fight that sort of battle?


Miguet's work was given further stimulus in the early 1970s when Andrew Pirie moved to Tasmania to set up the Pipers Brook Vineyard and the rest is history, Mr President, and of course it is now ongoing.


I would like to talk about the rest of this year's awards before I give the address for that website for people to accessE:

·         The award for Service from an Outside Organisation went to Launceston's Pinot Shop.

·         The Best Wine List went to Davies Grand Central.

·         The award for Service from the Cellar or Vineyard Worker was won by John Latchford of Moores Hill

·         Honorary life members were: Roderick Cuthbert, Mary Dufour and Mike Sharman.


Those three that I have just mentioned with their life awards are pioneers of the modern wine industry.  Mike Sharman makes one of the nicest Rieslings in Tasmania.  It is on the southern outskirts of Launceston. A dozen mixed wines from Rod and Mary's Iron Pot Bay is always a special gift.


As Tasmania's wine industry continues to grow and the quality of our wines continues to improve, Tasmania is close to becoming the Pinot Noir capital of the Southern Hemisphere, as predicted by Ross Brown of Brown Brothers when he moved into the Tasmanian industry a few years ago.  It would not be the end of the world, Mr President, if I could only drink Pinot Noir every second year. Fortunately our industry continues to grow grape varieties which are of great variance and we in Tasmania cultivate them so well.


The history project, Mr President, can be accessed by going to the Tamar Valley Wine Route website and accessing the Heritage Gallery,