The Complete Visitors Guide for Pipers River Wine Region

 

An easy drive from Launceston or Devonport, Tasmania’s Pipers River wine region is full of fantastic vineyards and cellar doors for visiting wine lovers. Often lumped in with its larger neighbour the Tamar Valley - this region is worthy of a day of exploring the individual cellar doors.

Pipers Brook Vineyard Platter and Wines

The Complete Visitors Guide for Pipers River Wine Region

Although often lumped in with its bigger, better-known neighbour, the Tamar Valley, Pipers River deserves to stand alone as one of Australia’s and Tasmania’s best wine regions. Conveniently located a short drive from either Launceston or Devonport, the area has some fantastic wineries and cellar doors to visit. Read on for everything you need to know....

 

How to get to the Pipers River wine region

Located just 50 kilometres northeast of Launceston, the Pipers River wine region is easy to reach by car in under an hour, passing through the eastern Tamar Valley region along the way. If you’re driving from the ferry terminal at Devonport, it’s about 1 hour and 40 minutes away.

Typical Pipers River Grape Varietals

The marine-influenced, cool climate of Pipers River combines with rich volcanic soils (both rich red ferrosol soils and shallower, well-draining ironstone gravels) to make it uniquely suited to a few certain varieties. Above all, Pipers River is arguably Tasmania’s (or Australia’s?) hub for superb sparkling wines, most of them done along the lines of the classic, northern French Champagne and other cool-climate styles. A large number of vineyards also capitalise on Pipers River’s rolling (particularly north-facing) hills, and areas of mid- to higher-altitudes, to produce varieties that enjoy cold night-time temperatures without freezing. As a result, the region has been renowned for excellent Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs for a while, as well as a growing reputation for crisp, high quality Rosés and other varietals in recent years.

The best Pipers River wineries and cellar doors to visit 

Clover Hill 60 Clover Hill Road, Lebrina

Restaurant & Cellar Door: 11am-4:30pm, Wed-Sun

Any classic sparkling wine-lovers visiting or arriving into northern Tasmania won’t want to miss a trip to Clover Hill. These guys are all about Sparkling, producing only 100% méthode traditionelle, Champagne-style vintages, and using only the typical, traditional Champagne-region grape varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier). This dedication to tradition – albeit one adapted to a distinctive Tasmanian style and climate – has been rewarded with many awards since setting up on an old dairy farm in 1984, including twice winning Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year and being inducted into the “Australian Sparkling Hall of Honour” in 2017. The complex, clean, pure fruits of such labours can be enjoyed over breathtaking Lebrina Valley views at the restaurant and Cellar Door.

Clover Hill Modern Winery

The Ridge North Lilydale 106 Browns Road, North Lilydale

Cellar Door: Sundays 10:30am-5:30pm, October-May

Set up by locals Susan Denny and Harry Rigney after they returned to Tassie after 30 years away, the altitude of The Ridge (1,000 ft above sea level) and its north-facing vineyard combine to provide perfect, frost-free conditions for making classic sparkling wines, with grapes full of both acidity and sweetness come harvest time. Try the refreshingly crisp, dry sparkling Rosé with just a tinge of honey sweetness, or the completely un-oaky, all-fruity Chardonnay, which has a lovely helping of citrus acidity. You can do a guided walking tour of the vineyard and winery, or book a tasting at the Cellar Door from where you can enjoy views out across to Bass Strait and, on a good day, all the way inland towards Cradle Mountain.

Delamere Vineyards 4238 Bridport Road, Pipers Brook

Cellar Door: 10:30am-4:30pm, Fri-Mon; Tue-Thur by appointment

A 100% family-owned vineyard overlooking rolling green hills, Delamere produces a solid range of both sparkling and table wines. The Cellar Door has a number of ‘Tasting Flights’ to give you a taste of it all, from a complex, traditional Sparkling done in the classic méthode champenoise style (and left to ferment in the bottle for up to 10 years), to a firm and fruity Chardonnay or a well-cellared Pinot Noir with a hint of oak atop a delicate, light-fruit nose. The Cellar Door also has some superb food options that consciously showcase local suppliers and producers throughout the seasons, from Bay of Fires cheese and Coal River Farm dairy to boutique, locally cured meats.

Delamere Vineyards Cellar Door

Apogee 1083 Golconda Road, Lebrina

Cellar Door: By appointment, during summer

Taking the lead from some of northern France’s classic cool-climate wineries, Andrew Pirie has earned a reputation as one of Australia’s best wine-makers since developing this superb Pipers River vineyard in the 1970s. Known for outstanding sparkling wines, Apogee’s deep (and very scientific) dedication to expressions of terroir shines through most of all in its Deluxe Brut vintages, which emulate traditional Champagne Deluxe Cuvées in production, but have a few local and artisan twists not possible in large-scale Champagne production. The results are typically nicely complex, but not too fruity. Other standard releases include a beautiful Rosé with surprising Pinot Noir richness, and a round, soft Pinot Gris that goes superbly with grilled fish or mussels when on offer.

Sinapius 4232 Bridport Road, Pipers Brook

Cellar Door: 12-5pm, Sat-Sun; 11am-5pm Mon, Thu-Fri

A pioneering vineyard, set up in 2005 by Linda Morice and her late partner Vaughn, Sinapius are committed to sustainability and use only 100% single estate-grown grapes. For a relatively small, family-run operation, Sinapius produce an impressive range of wines, from subtle reds through light pinks to punchy, fruit-heavy whites. A point of difference here is a number of unique, German-style releases – inspired by Linda’s ancestors, who settled in Australia from Prussia in the early 1800s – such as the snappy Grüner Veltliner. Sinapius’s quaint, wooden-framed Cellar Door is surrounded by trees and vines in the heart of the vineyard. They usually close for a winter break between June and July, but you can inquire by phone or email to check.

Where to stay when visiting the Pipers River wine region

  • Weymouth: Attractively poised at the Pipers Rivermouth estuary, opposite Bellingham. With beautiful golden sands and consistent waves stretching out from its doorstep, this otherwise sleepy little town hums when surfers, anglers, and wine lovers arrive, particularly during the summer!
Weymouth Tasmania
  • Lulworth: Another beachside gem on Tasmania’s north coast – with far fewer visitors – that is protected from Bass Strait winds by Black Point Rock, Lulworth is a great option for any travellers wanting a quieter, more laid-back base for exploring the Pipers River wine region. You still get an outstanding beach here, as well as a top-class golf course and lovely small-town vibes. 
  • Lebrina: Situated a bit further inland with superb rolling-hill surroundings, Lebrina is a quiet rural community that provides an excellent base for exploring the Pipers River wine region. In fact, a few wineries are located right in (or on top of) the valley!
  • Launceston: If you’re not fussed about staying right in the heart of the action, then it’s only a 45-minute drive from Launceston to many of the Pipers River wineries.

What else is there to see and do in the Pipers River wine region?

Fancy filling your day(s) with something other than wine tastings? There’s plenty more to explore in and around Pipers River. Here are just a few options:

Pipers River Boardwalk 

The best way to immerse yourself in the rich natural habitat of this region, Pipers River Boardwalk takes visitors up-close-and-personal through the bush and winding waterways to discover some of northern Tasmania’s unique local native and rare species (including, if you’re lucky, a platypus or a jumping trout!).

Windy Park Alpacas and Farm Experience 

A great one for wine-loving families – or wine-lovers visiting Tasmania with kids who might get a tad tired of being dragged around cellar door tastings – this is a great way to cheer up little ones with a day of patting friendly alpacas, seeing how a local working farm operates, or simply

Bridestowe Lavender Estate

Before wine production exploded in Pipers River – and somewhat unsurprisingly, given the similarities with northern France and its cool-climate production – the region was relatively well known for its many lavender farms. Some locals have committed to reviving (or maintaining) this heritage, and Bridestowe is a fantastic place to get an idea of how it all works. Or just to enjoy the views, and snap some seriously photogenic, velvet-blue hills!

Bridestowe Lavender Fields

Cataract Gorge Reserve 

A naturally stunning combination of canyons, rivers and native bushlands, Cataract Gorge is a favourite destination for climbers, hikers, mountain bikers and anglers. However, if adventure sport and activities aren’t your thing, it’s equally as enjoyable as a place to soak up the scenery in peaceful serenity, or as a beautiful picnic spot.

For more information on visiting the Pipers River wine region – as well as the rest of Tasmania – have a read through First Light Travel’s Tasmania blog. You’ll find guides to other major Tasmanian wine regions there, as well as topics covering everything from what the weather’s like in Tasmania during winter to where to find the best whisky in Hobart. If you have any questions about planning your trip, feel free to contact FLT’s travel advisors, who can help answer any questions and provide advice.

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David Mckenzie
By
David Mckenzie
: 18 Jul 2022 (Last updated: 18 Jul 2022)

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