Wine book – ‘Vintage Tasmania’ by Tony Walker

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Tasmania’s modern commercial wine industry* is exactly 40 years old this year. It’s the perfect time to publish a new book on Tasmanian wine, and ‘Vintage Tasmania: The Complete Book of Tasmanian Wine’ is the most thorough work on Tassie yet published, I believe. Part of its detail stems from the fact that the core of the book is a university Masters degree study by the author, Tony Walker (pictured above).

Walker is a Tasmanian wine writer and historian who has been involved with the wine industry since he manned the crusher at Pipers Brook Vineyard’s first vintage.

Opening the book, I immediately discovered something I didn’t know about the early history: that there’s strong evidence both the Victorian and South Australian wine industries were begun with vine cuttings taken from Tasmania. Walker also researches and explains why there was a 150-year gap between the first plantings in 1823 and the beginnings of the modern Tasmanian wine industry in 1974. 

For all its excellent coverage of the history, the book’s focus is on the present. It gives us a guide to more than 50 current vineyards which are open for visitors, as well as in its main chapters paying tribute to the people who have brought Tasmania to its present position as one of the most exciting wine regions in the country, if not the world.

The book is crammed with photographs which tell their own story beautifully: I just wish Walker’s designers had put one of the superb pictures on the cover, which instead is plain white with a single rather dull graphic. An outstanding book deserves an outstanding cover.

‘Vintage Tasmania’ is 280 pages, softback. It has limited mainland distribution but can be bought from the website: www.providoretasmania.com.au at $49.95, freight-free.

*as defined by the author, Tony Walker. 

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