ROLLING OUT THE BARRELS
Gill Christian and Todd Goebel bought their vineyard in the Coal River Valley 17 years ago and since that time not only has their own enterprise expanded but the whole area has surged in popularity, writes SHAUN McMANUS
COAL Valley Vineyard owners Gill Christian and Todd Goebel are all set for a corker of a weekend when the Southern Tasmanian and East Coast vineyards throw open their doors next week.
The couple has been participating in the vineyards open weekend for about two decades, and have organised a guitarist to play on Sunday afternoon especially for the event, which always brings a strong crowd to the Cambridge vineyard.
The husband and wife team bought the vineyard in late 1999, and since then it has gone from strength to strength.
“We were enthusiastic anyway but we bought this place and had a hectare of vines, which was enough to manage just as a beginning,” Gill said.
“That was 17 years ago, and it’s just gone from there.”
Their vineyard predominantly produces pinot noir, while riesling, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and tempranillo are also grown.
Even before they became established in the Tasmanian wine industry, Gill and Todd were destined to make a formidable winemaking team.
Todd, a chemical engineer, has always had a passion for making wine, while Gill studied biology at university and was interested in growing.
Gill has seen the Coal River Valley surge in popularity among winemakers in recent years, with the region’s climate ideal for producing a top drop.
“Back then it was sort of all just starting, but 17 years later it’s really happening, I think Coal River Valley’s a great spot, it’s quite a lot drier and warmer than even Hobart. Everybody’s expanding out here if they can,” she said. That’s not a bad thing for Gill, who loves being involved in the local wine community. “The people in it are ... prepared to be a bit adventurous, I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the Tasmanian wine industry,” she said.
The Coal Valley Vineyard has grown physically over the past two decades, but it has also expanded in terms of variety. “We now make different styles of pinot, whereas we never would have thought of doing that in the past,” she said.
With her vineyard producing so much pinot noir, it is no surprise that it is one of Gill’s personal favourites.
“It’s elegant and goes with most foods, I just love the variety of pinots that you can get ... heavier ones and lighter ones, the fruit flavours that come through, [and] the structure of the wine,” she said.
Such is their passion for winemaking, Gill and Todd are both in it for the long haul, with no plans to leave the industry any time soon. In fact, they may even look at growing their operation.
“There’s no more room for expansion at this physical site, we’ll have to go and get grapes from somewhere else, but we’re up for that,” Gill said.