We produce cool-climate wines. The fruit is grown in our Tamar and Derwent Valley vineyards. Winery, vineyard, and cellar door on the site of MONA - the Museum of Old and New Art. David Walsh’s vision for Moorilla has developed in tandem with MONA under the governance of winemaker Conor van der Reest: in its emphasis on the production of wines designed to mirror MONA’s overall philosophy, and importantly, encourage visitors to engage all senses – sometimes unexpectedly.
Our Cellar Door sits beneath John Olsen’s The Source, surrounded by views of the Moorilla vineyard, Mt. Wellington and the Derwent River.
- We produce cool-climate wines.
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In 2009, Moorilla presented Conor with the opportunity to work from the ground up on the rebuild of our winery, and to regain affinity with our vineyards. Originally drawn to Australia for its freedom of expression, Conor jumped at the offer – and has been with us since.
Until the sale of the site to David Walsh in 1995, the Alcorsos worked tirelessly to establish Moorilla as a leader in the cool climate wine industry – later acquiring a second vineyard, St. Matthias, on the banks of Launceston’s Tamar River.
Practices & Techniques
Estate Vineyards / AVA
The Moorilla vineyard is located in Berriedale – 15km north of Hobart, Tasmania. It sits upon Frying Pan Island, a peninsula on the Derwent River at 42.8° south and only one metre above sea level.
Our soil is diverse, ranging from four metres plus deep, silty clay, to risen siltstone bedrock on only a few centimetres of sand. These conditions see not only a massive difference in vine size, vigour and fruit composition, but also very different yield sizes; we also need to tailor our harvesting times, setting them two or three weeks apart.
Tasmania’s cool climate and Moorilla’s close proximity to the ocean sees our vines kept cold at all times, and with reduced risk of frost or fungal diseases. Additionally, the climate facilitates a long ripening process and promotes complexity.
We have two diverse vineyards: Moorilla, in the state’s south, and St. Matthias in the north. Moorilla is typically more complex; fruit, floral and spice abound whilst St. Matthias is riper and fruitier.
St Matthias Vineyard:
Our north-east facing St. Matthias vineyard – named after the St Matthias Church (circa 1842) at Windermere – is situated on the west bank of the Tamar River, 15 kilometres north of Launceston in Rosevears, Tasmania at 41.3° south.
Our St Matthias vineyard sits upon super-fertile, ancient volcanic soil. At its lowest point – 10 metres above sea level – the St Matthias clay is generally deeper and siltier than Moorilla. A westerly rise of 115 metres leads to shallower clay loam soils and granite stone outcrops, with the total vineyard area measuring 15.5Ha.
As we move west up the slope we rise to a height of 115m, we find shallower clay loam soils and an ever increasing amount of granite stone and outcrops. Total area is 15.5Ha under vine.
The meso-climate of this site is as variable as the soils. The combination of slope and water proximity provides excellent natural frost protection. The blocks located lower and closer to the river (where we have most of our Shiraz and Cabernet) typically ripen up to three weeks faster than the same varieties at the highest altitude. Facing east, on the west bank we get full sun that is tempered by near-constant cool breezes. Essentially, these are perfect conditions for producing a range of fruit-driven, acid-balanced wines.
These wines show more fruit flavours and aromas than our Derwent vineyard. They can be both racy and mineral, yet retain the vital, delicate, natural acidity that is the trademark of cool climate wines. As autumn progresses, we tend to see morning fogs with afternoon sun and breezes, creating the ideal environment for the growth of the noble rot, Botrytis. It gives us the flexibility to make intense sparkling and white wines, medium-full bodied reds and naturally sweetened dessert wines.