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

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - COVER STORY -

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.

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