For a part of the state that accounts for barely 15 per cent of Tasmania's annual wine grape harvest, the East Coast receives a disproportionately large share of attention from national and international wine media.
Visit any one of its several dozen cellar doors and you'll find winning wines as well as winning smiles.
Tourism is vital to the health and well-being of the region's economy. Before the coronavirus pandemic, it provided direct employment for 1500 locals, as well as 600 other jobs in related business sectors.
In fact, East Coast tourism generated close to $120 million worth of economic activity during the year ended September 2018.
But life has been a bit quiet there during the past 12 months, according to Priory Ridge's Julie Llewellyn.
"We've really missed the interstate and overseas visitors," the vineyard co-owner says.
"They bring a bit of colour and movement to the industry. Tourism operators in the region are really looking forward to the Great Eastern Wine Week.
"We remain COVID-free and with beautiful spring weather on the way we hope plenty of people will come and visit us to enjoy the wonderful wines and gourmet foods of the region."
The Great Eastern Wine Week begins on Friday September 3 and runs until Monday September 13, offering visitors a veritable smorgasbord of 50 food and wine events. Around half-a-dozen have sold out already. Tickets went on sale last month.
This is the seventh year tourism operators have worked together to promote their region under the banner 'Great Eastern Wine,' and with so much on offer, the annual event has expanded beyond a single weekend.
"We are immensely proud of our achievements in promoting not only the wine but the excellent diversity of regional produce, experiences, chefs, cooks, caterers, providores, restauranteurs and communities of the East Coast," chair of the East Coast Wine Trail Association, Glenn Travers says.
The Craigie Knowe proprietor believes the success of similar events has helped make the East Coast one of Australia's key aspirational wine and food destinations.
For low-profile producers like Priory Ridge, the inaugural Great Eastern Wine Week is critically important.
"We're just outside St Helens in the Priory Valley, so we're quite distant from the wineries located further down the coast," Julie Llewellyn says.
"Before COVID-19, our cellar door trade comprised 40 per cent overseas visitors and 40 per cent interstate visitors. Only 20 per cent or so were from around the state.
"We were very well supported by Tasmanians during the challenges of 2020. Once local travel restrictions were lifted, we had really good spring and summer trading. Having people come to visit is very important for the region. They don't just come here. They go to St Helens and places like Pyengana, so business activity is spread around."
The former home economics teacher shares her love and passion for the East Coast with husband David. It's always been a part of their lives.
Julie Llewellyn is a St Helens local who grew up on the coast. David Llewellyn was born and raised at St Marys. Better known for a parliamentary career spanning almost three decades, the former Deputy Premier of Tasmania is always on home turf, no matter where he is in the state's north-east.
Priory Ridge occupies a 20ha parcel of land adjoining the George River. The Llewellyns bought it at auction in 2002, representing a new era of family ownership. The origins of their former Tarpot Farm lie with Julie's forebears, the Reid and Clifford families more than a century ago.
Today, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and a little Gewrztraminer and Siegerrebe bask in the St Helens sunshine.
"This is the only vineyard in Tasmania planted on granite-based Devonian soils," David notes.
"Although our climate and geography are quite different, that puts us on a similar footing to some renowned vineyards in Germany."
When the couple decided to add a vineyard cellar door to Priory Ridge back in 2017, their tasting room was established in a former shearing shed. Its long-held connections to local and family history make it a significant community asset as well as a warm and welcoming wine centre.
Visitors will discover a fascinating collection of local and family memorabilia, celebrating the pioneering endeavours of settlers in the 19th and 20th centuries. With such rich history and rich wines being shared in equal measure, Priory Ridge offers some compelling cellar door experiences, Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm.
Be sure to book into part of their Great Eastern Wine Week program.
Vines at Priory Ridge enjoy a bright, north-easterly aspect on the 6ha family-owned vineyard just outside St Helens.
The East Coast's glorious summer sunshine practically guarantees the property's Sauvignon Blanc reaches optimum ripeness at harvest.
Ripeness is not the only strong point of this delicious, beautifully crafted white.
The texture is as smooth as silk; the palate driven effortlessly by fine natural acidity and well-sustained flavours of lime, nectarine and honeydew melon.
Lovers of grassy Marlborough SB should look elsewhere for their drinking pleasure.
This is a ripping wine from the challenging 2020 vintage, skilfully barrel-fermented by Tasmanian Vintners.
It's not often you find such a youthful Chardonnay, just entering its fifth year of life.
Claudio Radenti has a talent for making elegant, European-inspired Chardonnays.
This is one of them. It won gold at January's Tasmanian Wine Show.
Book a Great Eastern Wine Week session at Freycinet to try this and other gems made by the softly-spoken wine wiz.
Marvel at the precision with which stone fruit and citrus elements have been woven together with threads of fine oak and natural acidity.
Then launch a few bottles on their long journey to aged perfection - 10 years in a cool cellar.
You'll be amazed.
Melrose is a short drive from Spring Vale's home-base at Cranbrook on Tasmania's East Coast.
Purchased by the Lyne family in 2007, it's been the source of an early-drinking light red for well over a decade.
Is this the best? It's got to be up there - I can't recall a better vintage.
This is a delicious mix of strawberry, raspberry and red berry character, rich and juicy, but with genuine refinement.
There's no oak flavour to compromise its vibrancy and freshness.
Palate length is impressive for a wine that spent barely three months in the winery.
Unscrew and enjoy.
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