The Retirees in Tasmania – Go West Young Man

Having been to the coast we decided on our last day to go west into the hills behind St Helens and see what we could see.

Yesterday we had seen a sign to Priory Ridge Wines and decided that looked a good place to go. So after a hill climb we came upon the winery and cellar door.

Located in the small settlement of Priory, and just 3kms from the town of St Helens Priory Ridge winery is a family owned boutique winery. We found our way to another shack this time representing the cellar door. The door was open but no one in sight. We looked here there and everywhere not a soul could be found. Puzzled we were about to get back in the car when Julie Llewellyn came across from the vines pushing a wheel barrow full of cuttings. She was surprised to see us just as we were to encounter her. We shared a laugh and Julie then wiped her brow washed her hands and welcomed us to Priory Ridge Wines Estate #Priory Ridge Wines Estate.

Julie explained that she and her husband David had developed the vineyard on 20 hectares with ideal north facing slopes to maximise sunlight. The soil is Devonian granite rich in mineral content, transferring a unique “terroir” to the wine. Formally known as Tarpot Farm, the property has been in the ownership of Julie’s family (Reid/Clifford) for over 120 years. Julie’s Great Grandparents settled at Priory in 1889 after migrating from England in 1880.

Before its conversion to grapes the property was mainly used to graze sheep as an adjunct to a much larger property, grazing sheep, cattle and some cropping. Priory Ridge has the George River as its Northern boundary and the vineyard draws its water from a small dam on the property.

The shed was full of electic bits and pieces as well as wines. Kerry found some labelled plastic glasses which she purchased for our picnic set and a memory of our visit. I am pretty sure we also purchased a bottle or two.

We spent some time at the winery but hunger finally tore us away. So we returned to St Helens for lunch and decided to visit the sandhills behind Steiglitz/Akoroa. We were winding down to return to Hobart tomorrow so we were not looking for too much activity but come on the fact that the word includes “hills” should have told us what to expect. So we drove up to the starting point for the walk through the sandhills. Beautiful views and a convincing argument that all we needed to do was look grab some photos and go home and put our feet up.

That evening we packed and prepared to return to Hobart and our family. Our excursion to Tassie was coming to an end. A few days with the family and back to Brisbane and reality.