Why go to France when you have the Ta­mar

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - DESTINATION TASMANIA - RENATA GORTAN

Truf­fle farm­ing is a high-risk, long-term in­vest­ment. Seven­teen years ago, John Baily con­vinced his part­ner’s mother to take a gam­ble and plant 3000 oak trees on her prop­erty in Tas­ma­nia’s Ta­mar Val­ley.

It was five years be­fore they found the first perig­ord truf­fle grow­ing amid their trees, and 10 years be­fore Ta­mar Val­ley Truf­fles – 15 min­utes out of Launce­s­ton – pro­duced an in­come from the prized black fungi, which sell for $1000-$8000kg.

At Ta­mar Val­ley Truf­fles, which is open for tours by ap­point­ment, man­ager Mar­cus Jes­sup says Aus­tralian truf­fles are as good as the Euro­pean ones, but there’s still the snob fac­tor.

“It’s a bit like cham­pagne,” he says. “The Span­ish are the big­gest grow­ers of truf­fles, but the French sell the most.”

The cli­mate in Tas­ma­nia is sim­i­lar enough to France to grow truf­fles, but that’s not the only par­al­lel. The north­east cor­ner of the is­land is so like the Cham­pagne re­gion that French cham­pagne house Louis Roed­erer was a part-owner in the Jansz vine­yard from the late ’80s to the early ’90s, and even sent one of its vi­gnerons to teach the Aus­tralians how to make sparkling wine.

Jansz Wine Room man­ager Max­ine Har­ris says the cli­mate was so per­fect and the de­mand for Tas­ma­nian sparkling was so great that the orig­i­nal own­ers pulled out their other vines and re­placed them with chardon­nay and pinot noir. On the top of the hill on rich red soil, they get full sun and good drainage. You can see Bass Strait in the


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