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TAS Country : January 24th 2013
8 Tasmanian Country Friday, January 25, 2013 News Grapes interest ONE of Europe's most respected wine trade websites, The Drinks Business, has applauded the quality of Tasman- ian vineyards, describing the state as one of the most fashionable sources of grapes. The Drinks Business daily newslet- ter has more than 10,000 subscribers throughout the world, a readership that Tasmanian Irrigation chief execu- tive Chris Oldfield says can only spark fresh interest in irrigated vineyard investment here. In its latest assessment of Australian wines, it examines ''the fast-growing interest and investment in Tasmania''. ''In keeping with Australia's con- tinued search for yet cooler regions and leaner wine styles, its southernmost state, Tasmania, is becoming one of the most fashionable sources for grapes,'' it said. The newsletter said the similarity of Tasmania's climate to New Zealand's meant that pinot noir was a particular attraction to growers,. ''The newsletter goes on to examine the burgeoning interest in acquiring Tasmanian vineyards,'' Mr Oldfield said. ''It is further testimony to the econ- omic wisdom of Tasmania continuing to expand its irrigation network in areas of potential high cropping. Experts h-ale our brews ROGER HANSON Beers, ales and ciders among best CHEERS: Seven Sheds co-owner Willie Simpson. Picture: RICHARD JUPE TASMANIA has entered a renaissance period for handcrafted beers, ales and ciders, says a leading tasting expert. Phil Laing, who is the wine convenor of the recent Taste of Tasmania, says the state is producing excellent cider, ales, beer and wine product. The cider is value-adding Tas- mania's juicy apples and pears, and the natural beers and ales are from locally grown hops. The Taste, for the first time, judged 21 ciders and 21 beers, all employing the paddock-to-plate philosophy. ''All of them are local. Couple of the beers were sold out by the time of judging, and judges were really im- pressed by the overall quality of ciders and beers,'' Mr Laing said. Seven Sheds Brewery and Meadery at Railton is the first brewery in the North-West in more than a century. It has a strong paddock-to-glass ethos with its natural ale and mead crafted from hops grown on-site. The brewery also uses local barley, water and honey, all directly from local producers. Owned and operated by Willie Simp- son and Catherine Stark, Seven Sheds Brewery and Meadery received gongs from the beer/ale judging. The top pear cider was from Frank's Cider from Franklin in southern Tas- mania and the top apple cider award went to Small Players from Holm Oak Vineyards in northern Tasmania. Willie Smith's Organic cider, from the Huon Valley, replicating the tra- ditional Normandy ciders, boasts an international reception with the prod- uct being picked up in an international blog dedicated to cider. Mr Laing held four tastings a day during the Taste so visitors and locals could sample the variety of wines, ciders and beers on offer. ''We will be doing this again next year,'' he said. Showtime for organic quinoa GRAEME STEVENSON GAINS IN THE GRAIN: Lauran Damen and the crowd of visitors in the quinoa crop at the Kindred Organics open day. KINDRED Organics, which is the first farm in Australia to grow organic quinoa, opened its doors last weekend to show their crops with a difference. The 237ha farm in the North-West has been certified organic since 2006, and produces other crops including adzuki bean, buckwheat, spelt and quinoa. Quinoa is a South American grain that is finding favour in Australia, particularly for those who are gluten intolerant. The organic quinoa is grown, har- vested, cleaned and polished on the family farm. The open day, run with the help of Organics Tasmania allowed 200 cus- tomers interested in knowing where their food comes from to meet farmers Henriette and Lauran Damen. The Damens won three awards in 2012 including the Organic Farm- Business Innovation Award, the natio- nal Organic Consumer Choice Award, and the Central Coast Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Award. They also grow some non-organic crops, brussels sprout and poppies, as part of their risk-management strategy to ensure cash-flow during conversion to organic and development of new crops. They produce, process and pack their own product, and sell mainly to local wholefood outlets. Before a farm walk the Damens talked about their move from the Netherlands to Tasmania in 2001, their cautious approach to organic farming and their dedication to a truly sustain- able farming ethic. First stop was to look at the success- ful, and luxuriant, crop of buckwheat standing waist-high and in full flower. Buckwheat is a member of the rhubarb family. It is their first commercial attempt at growing the crop. The Damens are the first organic quinoa growers in Tasmania and have been on a steep learning curve. Quinoa is closely related to the common weed fat hen, and the manage- ment of this weed, primarily by hand chipping, was one of the main topics. The Damens showed their spelt grown in windrows for harvesting, adzuki beans and their organic strip grazed Angus cattle. Talks on the preparation and cook- ing of quinoa, spelt and buckwheat were given by Mrs Damen and nutritionist Dr Michelle Towle. Food made from the Damens' prod- ucts were available and women from the Kindred Community Hall assisted with the catering. Dr Graeme Stevenson is from Organics Tasmania.
January 17th 2013
January 31st 2013