Mo for momentum
An on-farm cellar door showcasing family history has proven a smart move for a NorthWest vineyard as it now accounts for most of the sales. Karolin MacGregor reports
When the first grapevines were planted at the Prickly Mo vineyard 25 years ago, Tasmania’s wine industry was just getting started.
Nowadays the vineyard’ s quality wines and laid-back atmosphere is proving popular with tourists and locals alike.
The vines were originally planted by John and Alieen Lynch on a small property at Eugenana in the state’s North-West.
Now the business is being run by the couple’s son Tim Lynch.
After a number of years living in Melbourne, Mr Lynch decided it was time for a change and returned to Tasmania and the family property.
“After working in a retail background I didn’t really know anything about growing grapes.
“I had to learn quickly and that involved reading a lot and asking a lot of questions as well,” he said.
“That’s one of the great things about the Tasmanian wine industry, everyone is happy to help and share information.”
There are 1.5ha of grapes on the property, including a mix of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris varieties.
Another 0.5ha is being replanted and Mr Lynch has also managed to save some Merlot vines that had been partially removed.
Because of the vineyard’s small size Mr Lynch recognised early on that just selling their grapes to other winemakers was not going to be a viable business option.
“The soils that grows good apples seem to grow good grapes as well and that’s what we have here,” he said.
With its location and favourable micro-climate, Mr Lynch said the property does produce top quality wine, so he came up with a plan to use this and the farm’s family history to create a new business.
The result is the Prickly Mo vineyard and on-farm cellar door.
Using a shearing shed built by his great-grandfather about 120 years ago, Mr Lynch has transformed the historic building into a totally unique cellar door.
The original building features large timber beams and walls made from corrugated iron.
A large wood heater has been installed in the middle and the bar has been made using large wooden beams that were salvaged from the old Melrose Creek bridge.
Part of the building was added on about 45 years ago.
Mr Lynch can still remember when the shearing shed was last used.
“It’s quite simple and very rustic but that’s what people seem to really like about it,” he said.
“Sometimes when you go to some of the bigger vineyards for wine tasting it can almost be a little bit intimidating, but here we like to keep things very relaxed and casual.”
The cellar door regularly has live music and visiting food vans, which Mr Lynch said were enjoyed by visitors but also quite a few locals.
About 95 per cent of the Prickly Mo wine is now sold through the cellar door.
Mr Lynch said the vineyard had also hosted a number of weddings for couples who wanted a more laid-back venue.
This year’s harvesting at Prickly Mo has now started. The vineyard yields between 8 and 12 tonnes of grapes a year.
This year Mr Lynch is also began leasing the Blustery Banks vineyard near Pardoe.
As well as giving them access to more grapes, Mr Lynch said he hoped being able to combine fruit from the
The soils that grows good apples seem to grow good grapes as well and that’s what we have TIM LYNCH
two different sites will also allow them to further develop the flavour profiles in their wines.
Wine for Prickly Mo is made at the Delamore Vineyard.
As well as their usual varieties, Mr Lynch said they were also making rosé, which is proving very popular.
“We’ve been making some rosé and each year we make more, but it keeps getting sold out,” he said.
For the first time they are going to experiment and make a sparkling rosé.
As well as being the main source of their wine sales, Mr Lynch said an onsite cellar door had other advantages.
“It means you’re really at the coal face, so we’re talking directly with our customers and getting feedback on what they think of the wines straight away.
“We find out straight away whether they like the wine they have just tried or not and that’s really helpful information when you’re operating a business like this,” Mr Lynch said.