Tasmanian fine wine could find its way onto even more tables thanks to new research showing the island state has a wealth of untapped prime grape-growing locations.

The study, funded by the Australian and Tasmanian governments, and managed by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) (a joint venture between the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government) was undertaken by Dr Richard Smart, of Smart Viticulture and Dr Reuben Wells, of Ag Logic.

It found that many areas of Tasmania have climates and soils suitable to support new and increased planting of vineyards.

Climate is the major influence on wine grape ripeness, followed by soil. The warmth of a site can impact the rate of ripening, while frost defence can represent a large operating cost in susceptible vineyards.

The report was prepared to provide more detailed information to potential vineyard investors, and examined these factors. A number of maps as examples were developed showing the most suitable vineyard sites in the Dorset region, the upper Derwent Valley and the Central Midlands. The same approach can be used in other Tasmanian regions.

Dr Smart says Australian wine companies have by and large failed to invest sufficiently in genuine cool climate viticultural regions like Tasmania, and continue to lose domestic and export market share to New Zealand.

“Hopefully this report will give investor’s confidence to develop new vineyards and processing facilities in Tasmania, and so help to reverse these trends,” Dr Smart says.

“Tasmania is one of a few parts of Australia with suitable climate for ultra-premium wine production, and by national and international standards the land is very affordable.”

When more investors realise the substantial  potential of Tasmania for fine wine production, the sector could be expected to grow substantially, as New Zealand’s has over the last three decades.

TIA’s Associate Professor Dugald Close, who managed the project, says the findings will help further cement Tasmania as a world class wine investment location.

“The ultra-premium wine styles at which Tasmania excels are currently showing market growth, such as Pinot Noir, aromatic white wines and sparkling wines,” Associate Professor Close says.

“In addition, our wine industry continues to garner international acclaim, with the state’s premium cool-climate wines and winemakers consistently receiving awards and recognition.”

The island’s peak wine body, Wine Tasmania, welcomed release of the research.

“The Tasmanian wine sector has experienced significant investment over the past few years, with increasing strong interest in its premium wines”, said Wine Tasmania CEO Sheralee Davies.

“The research provides valuable technical information on Tasmanian sites suitable for future vineyard plantings. Combined with technical, business and marketing support, this research will assist the confidence and knowledge of potential vineyard investors.”

Ever thought of studying Agricultural Science?

The University of Tasmania offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees such as the  Bachelor of Applied Science (Food Science and Innovation), Bachelor of Agricultural Science and Master of Applied Science (Agricultural Science).