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TAS Country : May 5th 2011
16 Friday, Ma Farm Feature Derwent Estate Wines HIGHLY PRIZED: Freshly picked pinot noir grapes at Derwent Estates Wines at Granton on the River Derwent. Pictures: JENNIFER CRAWLEY NERVOUS START: Pat and Trevor Hanigan HERITAGE: The 1830s home where Pat Hanigan's 91-year-old mother, Mary, still lives. land THIS Jennifer Crawley Derwent drop our best noir DERWENT Estate owners, the Hanigan family recently finished harvesting a vintage they think will be one of their best. ''We have been really lucky not to have got too much rain,'' one of the sons Andrew Hanigan, said. ''It was just enough to delay us rather than cause any damage.'' The decision his parents, Trevor and Pat Hanigan, made to switch from sheep to grapes almost 20 years ago was ''a big accident,'' Andrew said. A couple of big wine companies who recognised the site's potential approached the family to buy or lease the property but the Hanigans did not want to sell. The more the family thought about it the more they wanted to be the ones to plant the grapes. ''Hang on, maybe this is something we can do,'' Andrew said. The north-facing, gently sloping site on the banks of the River Derwent is a fertile mixture of clay and limestone --- a well recognised trait for vineyards. The first cutting for the first block of riesling grapes at Derwent Estate came from Morilla. Morilla founder, the late Claudio Alcorso told Trevor and Pat that if Hobart had been settled by Europeans instead of the English it would have been wall-to-wall vineyards. ''Imagine that,'' Pat said. ''We'd have been like the Rhine Valley.'' The local dry climate works in the Hanigan's favour, Andrew said. ''It can be painful during summer when we need to irrigate but this season we have had good, steady rain, not the deluge the North and the East Coast and the rest of the mainland have had,'' he added. ''We've been really lucky, really lucky.'' Derwent Estate is a moderately sized commercial vineyard of 10ha. Trevor, Pat and Andrew work in the vineyard planting, pruning and picking. They use a contract crew of about 20 university students and backpackers during picking season. The property has been run by Pat's family, the Rathbones, since 1913. ''It was not always in our ownership but my family have always been on the property,'' Pat said.
April 28th 2011
May 12th 2011