Situated in the picturesque town of Cranbrook, Craigie Knowe Vineyard is the oldest vineyard on Tasmania’s East Coast. With breathtaking views across the vineyard from a rustic bluestone home, this boutique property promises an intimate experience of the region’s distinctive terroir.
Established in 1979 by John Austwick, the vineyard quickly became known for its skilful crafting of Bordeaux blend cabernet sauvignon, riesling and pinot noir. John was passionate about the site, initially planting three-year-old cabernet sauvignon trunks from Moorilla, and then expanding across five hectares. He produced wine on-site until reluctantly selling in 2009. Very few vintages were produced by the new owner before it was passed on to Glenn and Sandy Travers in 2013, who lovingly nurtured the site back to its previous splendour.
Since then, the Travers family has taken a hands-on approach to ensure the utmost quality, with manual pruning and hand harvesting of their well-kept vines. Glenn and Sandy manage the vineyard alongside their son, Alex, and have worked tirelessly since taking over Craigie Knowe to reinstate its reputation as a creator of premium wines. Their goal is to create a memorable experience for each guest that showcases the unique qualities of their region and property.
While maintaining the historical splendour of Craigie Knowe Vineyard, the Travers family has planted additional pinot noir and riesling vines. Recently, the family acquired a lease of an established 1.5 hectare vineyard in close proximity to Craigie Knowe, from which they will produce chardonnay, ros. and pinot gris. They have also added an additional 11 hectares adjacent to the current site which will be developed into further vineyards with the intention of planting chardonnay, pinot gris and shiraz in coming years.
All of the grapes are picked and transformed into wines at the nearby Spring Vale winery. Their inimitable crafting by Spring Vale’s experienced winemaker, Matt Wood, showcases the distinctiveness of the cool-climate region. Harvest depends on the individual grape and ranges from mid-March to early May; however, the cabernet is always made last, ensuring the most intense flavours possible.
The grandeur of the recent vintage has not gone unnoticed, with the 2015 Pinot Noir receiving a bronze medal at the Royal Hobart Wine Show, and the 2016 Riesling taking out an elite gold medal at the Canberra International Riesling Challenge. Tastings of the entire range are held in a 1830s bluestone home, where guests are invited to indulge in cheese platters with a glass of their new favourite drop on the verandah. The home faces the spectacular vineyard, where you’ll be able to spot the original Cranbrook cricket pitch dating back to the 1930s nestled among the pinot noir vines.
Once you’ve sampled a few drops, it’s well worth taking home a bottle or two. The flagship Bordeaux Blend Cabernet Sauvignon pairs beautifully with beef or lamb, and the crisp, dry riesling is best enjoyed with seafood or pork. Meanwhile, the pinot noir elevates dishes like slow-cooked venison hot pot and the pinot gris is the ideal partner to spicy Asian curries.
The Travers family has restored Craigie Knowe Vineyard to its former glory, presenting a unique East Coast experience that celebrates the finest in cool climate wines. A visit rewards guests with more than just a bottle of wine or two – it delivers knowledge, history and an experience to remember.