Handpicked had been making Pinot Noir in Tasmania for some years, working with first rate growers, but we knew that to fully realise our ambitions in terms of quality, organics and site-specific wines we needed to have our own vineyards.
“Tasmania is the new mecca for cool climate winemaking. Tasmania has always been important to Handpicked as one of the world’s great Pinot Noir regions; our Tasmania Pinot Noir has always been a central part of our regional Pinot Noir range. It made sense to expand from there and have our own vineyards, in keeping with our focus on great vineyard sites and the way that impacts on special wines.” Pete Dillon.
Auburn Road And Native Point Vineyard
On the western bank of the Tamar River, not far from where it feeds into the surging waters of Bass Strait, is a patch of untamed paradise where north-facing hills spill into a lake surrounded by native forest dense with wild peacocks and turkeys, black swans and pademelons. The healthy ecosystems, spring-fed dam, remarkable soils and room for expansion were among the things that attracted Handpicked to Auburn Road Vineyard, our first Tasmanian vineyard, purchased in 2018.
Handpicked had been working with Sheena and Tim High, founders of Native Point Vineyard, for several years before the property joined Handpicked's family. We loved the vineyard, one of very few on the eastern side of the Tamar Valley, the quality of the fruit and Sheena and Tim’s uncompromising approach to quality and sustainability. When the vineayrd became ours in 2019 we knew it was well positioned to convert to organics. With its north-east facing hills collecting warmth from the sun and reflected off the river, Native Point is one of the warmest sites in the valley and a perfect counterpoint to Auburn Road Vineyard.
Handpicked’s first action as owners of Native Point and Auburn Road was to introduce a full organic program and both vineyards are now in conversion to organic certification. We have already expanded both vineyards; new plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are going in this spring.
Our first Tasmanian Riesling and Sparkling wines
We are blown away by the quality of the 2019 wines, including our first single vineyard wine from Tasmania – 2019 Auburn Road Pinot Noir – and the 2020 wines look exciting too. Our first Tasmania Riesling, off Native Point Vineyard, was made in one of our French concrete egg fermenters and will be released under our Trial Batch label. And our very first sparkling wine, Handpicked Tasmania NV Cuvée, will be released later this year.
“The wine industry in Tasmania is extremely buoyant and dynamic. It’s exciting to be expanding there and planting new vineyards in Tasmania,” said Pete Dillon.