Welcome to Day 18 of the Blogging A -Z April Challenge.
As you could imagine, finding something for the letter “V”, can be quite difficult. However, while we were in Tasmania, we actually visited a VINEYARD, Wines for Joanie, in Sidmouth. According to Wine Tasmania CEO Sheralee Davies, we’re were in good company:
“The latest tourism figures show that more than 262,000 visitors called in to a cellar door during their stay in Tasmania last year, 21% of all visitors and an increase of 22.5% on 2015.”
So, today we’re driving from Ulverstone via the Batman Bridge where we spent ANZAC Day, and heading for Sidmouth, 35 minutes from Launceston in the Tamar Valley.
While we’re getting there, I thought I’d also let you know that Tasmania has four designated wine trails:
However, I should warn you that if you’re any kind of wine connoisseur or expert, I’m not the most appropriate tour guide. I don’t really drink wine. Indeed, I don’t like most wines, unless they’re really sweet and I used to be known to add Diet Coke to port in my university days. While Geoff does enjoy a bit of wine and has been nurtured by my father who is an absolute wine connoisseur with a very well-developed palate, his mother was a card-carrying member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. So, our expertise on the wine front is exceptionally limited.
“I can certainly see that you know your wine. Most of the guests who stay here wouldn’t know the difference between Bordeaux and Claret.”
― Basil Fawlty, “Fawlty Towers”
However, I do have my uses and, therefore, make a great designated driver. Well, somewhat good, because I still want to have a taste.
Strangely, I enjoy all the pomp and ceremony of a wine tasting. Moreover, being a lover of history and people, I am also interested in what possessed someone to turn an apple orchard into a vineyard and pin all their hopes and dreams in what to me, seems like a very risky venture. Why not become an accountant? (not that I followed that “guaranteed path” either!!)
I thought this, blurb from another Tasmanian vineyard, Sinapius, summed this up pretty well:
“Sinapius is about being; one of a kind, butting the trend, forging our own path, and not conforming. So who would be crazy enough to plant vines at 7700 to 11110 vines per hectare, with a fruiting wire at 40cm above the ground, and in a cold challenging climate such as Tasmania…..
With a true passion and respect for the environment, our wines are aimed to reflect the ancient soils from the region, each season, and the uniqueness of our special site in Piper Brook, Tasmania. We are not winemakers at Sinapius – we are wine growers as for us, there is no separation between vineyard and winery. Each vine is treated with the individual attention it deserves and provides us in return with a small yield, but with maximum intensity. With minimalist winemaking intervention, each wine represents a true expression of our terroir.”
Another thing I love about vineyards, is the relaxed, beautiful scenery where you could have a couple of glasses of wine, cheese and bickies, and simply fall asleep basking in the muted sun.
That’s if I wasn’t darting all over the place taking photos. You know me. My eye rarely falls asleep, especially travelling. We have more stop-starts than a learner driver.
Anyway, as I said, today we’re off to Wines For Joanie. However, out of all of Tasmania’s vineyards why are we going there?
Well, the answer is simple. My mother’s name is Joan and when she was younger, she was known as “Joanie”. So, when we spotted the sign while driving from Devonport to Scottsdale via the Batman Bridge, we had to stop and buy her a bottle. To be perfectly honest, we were going buy a bottle no matter what, but, we enjoyed our tasting and bought a bottle for Mum and for Dad. Don’t ask me what we bought. My Dad’s the wine connoisseur, not me. Indeed, he considers my wine education an epic fail and he now refuses to even pour me a glass of wine, because I never finish it. I can have “some of Geoff’s”. I was much more interested in photographing the tasting, the former apple packing shed and their cottages. Wow! I’d love to stay there.
As an aside, have you ever wondered who writes wine reviews? It seems to me that most, if not all of them, are written by experts with very refined palates. That’s all very well for their own. But what you’re average Joe or Joan who doesn’t know riesling from chardonnay?
Moreover, why do wine reviewers always have to use such ridiculous language? Surely, their English teachers must’ve castigated them for regurgitating the thesaurus, just like mine did?
Whatever happened to the KISS Principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid!)?
Why don’t you ever read: “This is vinegar. Best drizzled over hot chips. Stop being such a cheap skate and buy something decent next time”. “More floral than a bunch of roses”. “Contains the ashes of my mother-in-law. Strain before use.” “More oak than an oak tree.” “Worse the cough syrup”? “The best thing since rocket fuel”.
Or, perhaps I’ve just tasted some funny wines.
I like how Paul Coelo put it:
“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”
What about you? Have you sampled any Tasmanian wines? Or, perhaps you’re from the industry and could add something useful to my mumbo jumbo? You’re more than welcome to add even lengthy comments as I am well and truly out of my depth.
PS: I was literally about to click on “post” when I had another look at the Wines for Joanie’s web site and read their story. They have actually posted a lovely “video” about their story, telling why they bought the vineyard and I chuckled to read that Prue is actually an accountant by trade. Anyway, I know you’ll love seeing this and my kids who love vlogging and have been telling me to post video, will think I’ve actually listened! The Story Behind Wines for Joanie. This really should go at the beginning but this was when I found it.