A rare blend: A helicopter tour of three Tasmanian wineries

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7 min read
fairly easy
Props and drops: This tour gets up in the air for a taste of Tasmanian wine
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The risk when a helicopter is in the mix is that the mode of transport might overwhelm the other elements of the tour. That scenic bubble delivers the best available views, not to mention the drama of the entrance, where you have the attention of everybody within hearing distance.

Fortunately this tour and its destinations are equal to the transport. The helicopter wine hop, organised by James Welsh, co-owner and sommelier of Stillwater, the Launceston restaurant and boutique hotel, visits Sinapius and Apogee vineyards in the Pipers River region before landing for lunch at Ghost Rock in Tasmania's north-west.

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"We chose three producers close to Stillwater's heart," Welsh says, another reason being they were producing "some of the most exciting wines on the market."

After a briefing from pilot Jack Smith, we lift off and within minutes the city slips away and we have views over the bush and ranges, all the way out to Bass Strait with Flinders Island and the Furneaux Group islands in the distance.

SINAPIUS

Our first stop would have been about a 40-minute drive from Launceston, but we're there in what seems like 10 minutes. Smith finds some flat ground and soon we're greeted by Linda Morice who created this vineyard with her late partner, Vaughn Dell.

Their vines of pinot noir, chardonnay and seven other varieties run down the hills in rows so tight, Dell imported a skinny vineyard tractor from Europe to help out, but a lot of what goes on here seems to happen by hand.

There's a rustic cellar door, the obligatory vineyard dog and, even though it's time I'd usually be taking coffee, out comes the big spittoon and in come the white wines. Even to my novice palate, these are very good. Then comes the estate-grown, Austrian-style La Peau d'un, created from grüner veltliner grapes.…
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