A tipple in Tassie is a wine taster's dream

WINE tourism is big business and growing pleasingly every year.

It is no longer enough for a winery to be a place of just vines and vats.

Enthusiasts expect inviting cellar doors, generous wine tastings, stylish restaurants, welcoming grounds and up-market facilities.

Fortunately more wineries all over the country are stepping up and presenting themselves as tourism destinations.

In Tasmania wine touring is a dream.

Not only is the Apple Isle's climate perfect for cool-climate wine varieties, the near empty roads and short driving distances make it simple to get around, so appoint a designated driver and let yourself step into wine paradise.

Two wineries close to Hobart make for an easy start to dip into your Tasmanian wine adventure.

The quirkily named Puddleduck Vineyard is just 20 minutes from Hobart's CBD in a picturesque country setting complete with waddling duck Lucky and friendly family dog Polly.

With views over a peaceful dam to vines growing up the distant hills you feel as though you have landed in a tranquil Eden, far away from everywhere.

The vineyard has a friendly reverse BYO policy: you pack a picnic and use Puddleduck's pretty facilities on the lawn or the deck overlooking the dam, and just buy their wines, by the glass or bottle. Cheese platters featuring Tasmanian specialities are available if you don't pack picnics.

Sitting by the dam watching the ducks puddle about will loll you into a sense of reflective wellbeing; sipping a glass of Bubbleduck sparkling will set the mood for a taste of riesling, fume blanc and pinot noir. They're delicious wines, available only from the winery or online.

Family-owned (Darren and Jackie Brown), Puddleduck Vineyard gives you an intimate wine experience. The person who pours your wine is the person who picked the grapes and labelled the bottle.

Not far from Puddleduck is Frogmore Creek Winery in the Coal River Valley, a stylish vineyard of note among Tasmanians.

Whether it’s a formal wine tasting you’re after or a casual snack and sip, Tassie has plenty to offer.
Whether it’s a formal wine tasting you’re after or a casual snack and sip, Tassie has plenty to offer. Contributed

Its elegant restaurant with inside and outside dining overlooks the vine-filled valley and presents a more formal wine experience than Puddleduck.

Taste the wines in the glamorous cellar door and browse its boutique shop with quality Tasmanian products before taking a seat out on the deck.

Frogmore wines are made with a strict philosophy of "let the fruit do the talking" and given only enough intervention (mostly through oak) to enhance the basic fruit flavours.

The Frogmore team will share their notable knowledge about cool-climate wines before you share a selection of lively tapas, all paying tribute to Tasmania's glorious produce from the sea, surrounding land and the vineyard's garden.

We loved all the tapas, especially the pulled pork croquettes and baba ganoush, just right with a glass of pinot noir.

Tasmania is perfect for producing cool-climate wines due to its southerly latitudes and the influence of the surrounding oceans on most of its grape-growing areas.

Conditions allow grapes to ripen relatively slowly over a longer period which results in fruit that has more intense flavours, more acidity and better balance which combine to make wines of flavour, intensity and elegance, which beautifully match a wide range of foods.

A Frogmore winery visit is just one of the shore excursions available with Princess Cruises on its Tasmanian itineraries. So you don't even need a designated driver for this one, let the excursion guide do the driving.

Glass half full

Puddleduck Vineyard is best experienced with a reservation. Live music is often presented on the weekend, best to check before you go.

Visit puddleduckvineyard.com.au.

Princess Cruises offers wine tasting at Frogmore Creek as part of shore tours available on a range of cruises visiting Tasmania from Sydney and Melbourne.

For more information and bookings call 13 24 88, see a licensed travel agent or visit princess.com.

Frogmore's website is frogmorecreekwines.com.au



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