lutruwita - Frying Pan Island, Derwent River Valley, Tasmania
Moorilla was the second commercial vineyard ever planted in Tasmania. An Italian textile merchant named Claudio Alcorso chose for his vines Frying Pan Island, a pint-sized island in the Derwent River, just northwest of Hobart. The vineyard was planted in 1958, to riesling, among the island’s wind-strewn
silty clay and sand soils.
Alcorso stayed at the helm of Moorilla for over 30 years, acquiring a second vineyard in Launceston in 1993 (St Matthias vineyard), but the winery fell on hard financial times soon after. In 1995, David Walsh, an eccentric Australian businessman, professional gambler, and art collector purchased the winery and set about building a proper home for it: MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art).
MONA is one of the most spectacular museums on earth, its walls hugging the Derwent River, allowing visitors to ascend directly from a ferry. Its art is even more arresting than the setting, with the subject matter famously centered on either sex or death.
Vineyards line the sides of the museum’s driveway, with the original estate vineyard nestled behind a light-based art installation called Amarna by James Turrell. Moorilla’s tasting room sits in a stunning building alongside the museum’s main restaurant, where guests can sip on fine Tasmanian wines on
one of the ‘living tables’ – tables planted to plants and herbs, where special serviceware allows guests to dine and drink amongst the shrubbery.
Despite all the hubbub surrounding the museum, no one at Moorilla has lost site of the true aim: to make world-class Tasmanian wine. The care for the winery’s two vineyards – the estate vineyard in Derwent Valley and St Matthias vineyard in Tamar – are the foundations for the quality of Moorilla’s
offering. And Canadian transplant Conor van der Reest, who David Walsh lured to Tasmania with the only instruction being ‘make stupendous wines’, has done just that in his time as winemaker. Under his care, Moorilla has risen to become one of the most important and acclaimed wineries in Australia.
What Jane and Jon Have to Say…
Moorilla wines are a fantastic experience on every level. They are wines that offer pure enjoyment, combining a lushness of fruit with enticing savory notes and structural freshness. They are also wines that offer plenty of complexity, site specificity and nuance for those who want more than a good drop. And, if you ever get the opportunity to enjoy them in situ, at MONA in Tasmania, it is truly one of the most unique and extraordinary wine tasting experiences available in the world.”
“There is fierce determination here – not just to make exceptional quality wine, but to future-proof all Moorilla’s operations through what is now a decade-long set of meticulous, best-practice plans, covering everything from clonal selection to vineyard biodiversity.”
-Dom Sweeney, Gourmet Traveler Wine