A LEADING international wine magazine has named Tasmania the second best place in the world to invest in the industry, strengthening a government initiative to grow viticulture in the state.
The Drinks Business identified China as the best place to invest, followed by Tasmania, putting it ahead of places such as France's Languedoc region and the Italian island of Sardinia, in its article Top 10 Vineyard Investments.
``We're absolutely thrilled with the recognition. It's a pretty extraordinary achievement to get that sort of wrap from a publication that sits in the heart of old-world wine producing regions, such as Europe,'' Wine Tasmania chief executive Sheralee Davies said.
Earlier this year Professor Jonathan West, who is part of federal Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean's advisory council, said the state's wine industry could easily double in size with the right investment.
``The wine industry in Tasmania is extremely small at the moment - it's less than 1 per cent of Australia's production - but we have a lot of opportunity for growth at the top end of the market,'' he said.
``Wine could attract new players as well as building on existing ones. We have about 170 vineyards in Tasmania, but about 130 of those sell all their product in Tasmania.
``I think if we can build an industry that gets the kind of recognition that it needs to be able to sell its wine with the cost we have, it will then need new players to be attractive and new commitments to doing that kind of marketing.''
Ms Davies said Tasmania was beginning to see that interest from investors.
Two major players have already bought into the state's wine industry.
In 2010, century-long wine producer Brown Brothers bought the Tamar Ridge vineyards - its first investment outside Victoria.
And last year, Adelaide Hills's Shaw + Smith Wines bought Tolpuddle Vineyards in the state's south.
``So we're seeing some well-respected mainland producers coming in and investing in Tasmania,'' Ms Davies said.
``And we already have a very large number of mainland producers buying fruit and we're really looking to build on that.''