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2016 VINEYARD OF THE YEAR

It is one of Australia’s principal producers of sparkling wine, and now Clover Hill Wines at Tea Tree has been named Tasmanian vineyard of the year.

The vineyard, which was established in 1986 on the site of an old dairy farm in North-East Tasmania by the Goelet family, aims to produce sparkling wine using traditional French methods.

It now has two vineyards in Tasmania, one in the Pipers River area on the site of the old farm at Lebrina in the state’s North-East and a 60ha site in the Coal River Valley near Tea Tree.

Clover Hill Wines chief executive Adam Torpy said the award was a result of unwavering determination to continue to invest in Tasmania.

“It was tough early on with this Tea Tree vineyard. But since 1986 we have continued to invest in the Tasmanian industry, and now we are seeing the div­idends,” Mr Torpy said.

The company is investing more than $1 million in a cellar door at the Pipers River site, which should be completed by December.

The continual investment and quality viticultural management are paying big dividends.

“We had a good season, the quality was brilliant,” Clover Hill Wines viticultural manager Alex Van Driel said.
“Yields were up 20 per cent at Tea Tree and up 30 per cent at Lebrina,”

This season the winning southern vineyard had 12.3ha under production, growing premium-quality sparkling wine grapes including sauvignon blanc and small parcels of chardonnay and pinot noir.

The annual Tasmanian vineyard of the year award is conducted by Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania.
RAST chief executive Scott Gadd said numbers were up in this year’s competition and was pleased with the quality of entries.

Clover Hill Wines vineyard near Tea Tree. Picture: KIM EISZELE

“The top two were ­extremely close, but Alex’s ­record-keeping got his vineyard over the line,” Mr Gadd said.

The Milton vineyard near Swansea was runner-up.

Judges said Mr Van Driel, who was working to a tight budget, used comprehensive data to carefully manage ­restricted irrigation water in a dry season.

His record-keeping templates helped with decision making across key areas.

A field day for the industry to learn about Clover Hill’s management techniques will be held at Tea Tree on May 12.

PRINCESS Mary had Clover Hill wines at her Danish wedding. Queen Elizabeth — on her most recent visit to Australia — enjoyed a Clover Hill sparkling at Melbourne’s Government House.