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Northern Tasmania

The beautiful Tamar Valley, in the northern part of Tasmania beginning at Launceston, is home to a surprising number of exceptional quality-minded makers - all of which would most certainly be described as 'boutique'!  Both the eastern and western banks of the Tamar River are home to vineyards and wineries, and a surprisingly large range of varieties are produced here (given Tasmania's reputation as generally cold and wet), including Shiraz huon-valley.jpgand Arneis.  The nearby Pipers River region (around 40kms northeast of Launceston) has carved a reputation out for producing very good (and occasionally excellent) Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, but most noteworthy here are the terrific sparkling wines produced, lead by Ed Carr and Andrew Pirie, staking solid claim as Australia's finest and most interesting.

The Tamar region achieves ripeness much earlier in the season than does the Pipers River region, accounting for the successful (on a case-by-case basis!) production of varieties such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot by some makers (on the warmest sites).  Plantings are roughly equal in terms of red and white varieties.