Three states, three wine region maps - Tasmania, the Barossa and Western Australia
By Robyn Lewis
Planning to visit a wine region? You may have researched where to go using our VisitVineyards.com itineraries and various wine books, perhaps found a place to stay near the vines and picked out a restaurant or two, but now you need a map to get around. (Our iPhone app isn’t quite ready yet!)
Do you turn to Whereis or use a GPS, or do you just want a good, old-fashioned printed variety? And do you plan ahead, or wait until you get there and pick one up in a local visitor centre?
The answer to the last question probably depends on how familiar you are with the region – if you’re from interstate, or haven’t been for a while, some advance planning is usually beneficial. The answer to the former depends on how much you want to explore – not all vineyards and wineries, restaurants or other places you might want to visit are on GPS maps or even Whereis.
Some regions have their own wine and food maps of course – the Mornington Peninsula has two (produced by the MPVA and mpGourmet respectively); both are excellent, as is the Hunter Valley’s.
However quite a few regions don’t have a wine map, so to fill the gap a little, three quite different examples have recently been produced. We look at all three:
Following the publication in 2008 of a Victorian wine regions map, cartographer Martin von Wyss has produced a similar version covering Tasmania. Titled Tasmania Wine and Gastronomy Map, this is a wall-sized map that is perhaps more of general than navigational use. Tasmania is officially one wine region, but its grape-growing areas are divided into four or five main clusters spread around the north, east and south of the State, as the purple grape bunches on the map indicate.
Three of these sub-regions, the Lower Tamar Valley in the north, the Coal River Valley and the Huon Valley/Channel in the south have their own enlarged map sections with individual vineyards marked. Breweries, distilleries and sources of fresh produce are shown around the State and its waters by symbols of various types: seafood, honey, cheese, various fruits, game and even trout, although the latter is far from comprehensive (if you want to go trout fishing, get the range of excellent maps from the Tasmanian Inland Fisheries Department).
Should you be tempted not to put this on your wall, the reverse of the map has some quite detailed information on grape-growing and wine making in the cool climate sub-regions of Tasmania, provided by wine and food writer Graeme Phillips, with statistics from the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries and Water. Growers and producers are listed with addresses and phone numbers.
There’s also a map sequence showing how Tasmanian agriculture has transformed from the 1800s through to the 1980s. If this were extended to 2010 it would be clear that Tasmanian apple growers have become a critically endangered species, and Tasmania is now perhaps better described as the Cool Climate Wine Isle.
If you’re planning a gourmet trip to the former Apple Isle, this map will be useful for advance planning, but it would be difficult to use in the car, for which the Tasmanian Wine Route booklets (for north and south) are probably better designed.
The Barossa is perhaps Australia’s best-known wine region, and one of our oldest, so it’s something of a surprise that a Barossa wine map is a novelty. Produced by Carto Graphics with assistance from the South Australian wine industry, the Barossa Topographical Map takes a bird’s-eye view like that employed by Tyson Stelzer in his excellent overview (literally) of Burgundy. Indeed it is used by Stelzer in his Barossa Wine Traveller handbook to illustrate the layout of the Barossa.
The Barossa map is about a third of the size of the Tasmanian map (the region, even including the Eden Valley, is much smaller) and is definitely not intended for navigational use, but to provide a visual snapshot of where Barossa vineyards are located, and to some extent to show the different terrains that the Barossa covers.
However the map has town but no vineyard names – as there are around 150 they may not all fit, but the locations of at least a few of the larger and/or iconic ones would be of more than passing interest to intending wine travellers. Without these or road names the vineyards are simply red squares on a green background – pretty but not very useful after the first look, unless you are a in a light aircraft.
The Barossa Topographical Map features an altitude transect, with Kaiser Stuhl the mountain dividing the lower Barossa Valley in the north-west from the higher Eden Valley to its south-east, clearly demonstrating why the latter is cooler and more suited to the growing of Riesling. Matching climatic data is on the reverse.
The nearby Clare Valley is obviously ‘out of region’; even its direction is not indicated, a futher oversight from the visitor’s point of view, who usually cares little about zones, regional and local political boundaries and who might instead want to know the relative location of the Barossa, or could be approaching by road from the Clare, instead of the perhaps more usual route from the Adelaide. Even for the latter, the unnamed roads lack a basic ‘to/from Adelaide x km’ sign – a few things to consider for a later edition, perhaps.
The map reverse gives some interesting information for the intending wine traveller including an explanation of the ‘Barossa old vine charter’ which classifies vines as older than 35 (‘old’), 70 (‘survivor’), 100 (‘centurion’) and 125 (‘ancestor’) years respectively. However the base year is not specified (not the fault of Carto Graphics); the earliest reference I can find to it online is dated 2007, so presumably the classification will soon require updating.
None of these venerable vines’ locations are marked on the map, so we’re none the wiser where they might be found, even though they are some of the oldest vines in production in the world and would be worthy of a wine-lover’s pilgrimage, and at least a telephoto shot.
Due to the risk of the introduction of phylloxera, the ferociously named plant bug that attacks vine roots and which if introduced would kill even the ‘ancestors’, you aren’t allowed to walk on Barossan vineyard soil (certainly not without permission and washing your shoes) so perhaps this is deliberate.
The history of the region on the reverse of the map is good, but overall, if you’re planning a wine visit to the Barossa, you’ll need another navigational aid.
So it’s refreshing when we get to Ray Jordan’s 2010 WA wine guide wineries map (‘the WA wine map’), published by West Australian Publishers and sold together with the author’s 2010 WA wine guide (see separate review). This is a map that I could confidently use when visiting a wine region.
Like Tasmania’s, the WA wine map also large, but the overview map is in the top RH corner and the focus is on the enlarged maps of each wine region: Margaret River with its large number of vineyards and wineries taking pride of place, with Great Southern, Blackwood Valley and Pemberton on one side, and Geographe, Peel and the regions surrounding Perth (Swan District, broken into two parts, north and east, and Perth Hills) on the other. It’s not as pretty, but it’s well designed, and it works.
Apart from allowing region-by-region planning, the map can also be folded and used in the car so that your wine navigator can see details of the relevant region and instruct the designated driver. There are grid references, road and town names, plus winery and vineyard names and locations, and each map has a scale. If your GPS fails away from Perth, you will be able to give ‘turn left about a km past the next junction’ instructions with a considerable degree of confidence using this map.
The WA wine map lists wineries by region with their individual map and grid references, and provides a handy list of regions Visitor Centres should further assistance be required. There are also symbols for some of the cafes and restaurants (those located at wineries/vineyards), accommodations and disabled facilities. In summary, this map is useful and perhaps better meets the expectations of intending wine visitors (or those already in the region) when considering a wine region map.
Tasmania Wine and Gastronomy Map with Breweries and Distilleries with text by Graeme Phillips is published by Martin von Wyss, Australian Wine Maps, Melbourne, Victoria, 2009. RRP A$14.95. Available online from Australian Wine Maps and in select Tasmanian food and wine outlets.
Barossa Topographical Map is published by Carto Graphics, Unley, South Australia, 2009. The front of the map can be downloaded here. No price is quoted.
Ray Jordan’s 2010 wa wine guide wineries map is not sold separately but is included in Ray Jordan’s 2010 wa wine guide published by West Australian Publishers (sc; 264 pp, Perth WA, 2009). RRP A$19.95. Available from WA booksellers, wine retail outlets and select cellar doors.
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