The benefits of cooler grape growing regions in a warming climate have made Tasmania one of the world’s most attractive options for wine tourism, a leading global wine magazine has found.
Wine Enthusiastlisted Tasmania in its 2019 Top Destinations list for three reasons: climate change, growth in sparking wine demand and its “frontier status”.
Vintage for mainland wine growing regions has increasingly moved forwards in the year due to the earlier onset of warmer weather, shortening the hang time for fruit and making it more difficult to achieve peak flavours. Frost events have also become more severe.
Wine Enthusiast contributing travel editor Lauren Mowery visited Tasmania five years ago, when identification of cooler climate regions had started to develop.
She said this was “in light of a changing – warming – climate”.
“Tasmania represented, and still does, Australia’s coldest growing region, perfect for sparkling wine, pinot noir, and chardonnay,” she said.
“This discussion is even more relevant today as the facts of the planet’s climate problems gain wider acceptance.
“Some wine regions in the not-so-distant future may be too warm to grow these grapes or make elegant, traditional method sparkling wine.”
Visitor numbers to wineries and distilleries in Tasmania grew 4.1 per cent in 2018.
A $500,000 marketing grant to promote Tasmanian wine will also be utilised this year, aimed at mature markets in the US and Hong Kong.
Sparkling wine has doubled its market share in the US in the past decade, leading global value growth in sparkling wine.
Ms Mowery said the varieties’ popularity was pushing American consumers to find new places to explore.
“Tasmania represents a sort of last frontier in a planet combed over by every tourist, influencer and on the flip side, developer,” Ms Mowery said.
“It’s a place for curious and adventurous travelers looking for crowd-free quiet, glorious landscapes, and food and wine that convey a sense of place.”
But there was a potential downfall – affordability.
“Its status as an affordable frontier won’t likely last forever, even more so as ... climate change intensifies,” she said.