2017 Vineyard of the Year Report

2017 Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year Field Day


About 100 people enjoyed the 2017 Roberts Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year field day which was held recently at Milton Vineyard outside Swansea on the East Coast.

It was the biggest turn out in the history of the Vineyard of the Year program, which is an initiative of the Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania to encourage excellence in viticulture management – a basic requirement for producing premium quality wine grapes.

Industry representatives from both the wine and agricultural sectors heard about the techniques used at the vineyard which impressed the expert judging panel and gave the vineyard the Award.

Henry Dunbabin, whose family owns Milton Vineyard, described the frost management system used at the vineyard, soil nutrition, and the costs associated with vineyard management.

Greg Bennett from Dupont representing the major sponsor of the Award, Roberts, called on all Tasmanian vineyards to enter the program: “This is a really positive thing to do, and the industry will be better for it,” he told the field day, stressing Roberts’ interest in the environmental stewardship which the Award promotes.

Bennett’s Petroleum presented a $2,500 voucher for fuel to Milton Vineyard, and Alex Van Driel, last year’s winner from the Tea Tree Clover Hill Vineyard talked of what he called “the enormous benefits of winning this Award.

“It increases your profile; you get greater brand awareness and it increases your sales”

According to Gareth Horne from Rabobank: “The award gives vineyards valuable feedback. So tell your peers what this competition can do to help you get to the next level. It’s a great competition for the viticulture industry.”

Milton is also a long established sheep farm, and Geotas’ Chris Humes said it was  “nice to see some of the region’s old sheep farms diversifying into wine” Michael Dunbabin told the field day that vines were first planted on East Coast in the 1880’s on Maria Island.

One of the Tasmanian wine industry’s most prestigious trophies, the perpetual Richard Langdon Trophy, was presented to Milton Vineyard. It’s a bronze work by noted Tasmanian sculptor Stephen Walker.

The two hectare Bridestowe Ridge Vineyard, at Lilydale in North Eastern Tasmania, also accepted its prize after being named 2017 Best Small Vineyard of the Year. The day included briefings, a networking lunch featuring Milton wines and medal winning wines from the Royal Hobart International Wine Show, together with a vineyard tour.