My name is Regan Drew and if you're lucky enough to be part of the upcoming Tassie Gourmand tour, we'll get to know each other well, but if not, here's a little bit about me and Tassie.
I worked in bars, bottleshops, nightclubs and pubs for around 13 years in Tasmania from the mid 1990s. Then I landed a real day job in Sydney, but I could never shake the association with quality wine. I undertook Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 Award studies and passed with Distinction, have been an Associate Judge for the Citi New South Wine Awards in 2013, been a Steward/Assoc Judge for the Royal Sydney Wine Show. The academic side is fine, but I love the agricultural aspect and had a couple of stints helping out in the Hunter Valley during vintage with Andrew Thomas of Thomas Wines. After being exposed to all this good wine, I've contributed writing wine review content for Cracka Wines and Sunshine Coast based wine hub The Grapehunter. After starting my own blog, vinonotebook.com, I was invited to be the "Weekend Magazine" wine columnist for the APN ARM stable of newspapers, with a readership of over 500,000.
I moved back to Tasmania in 2015 after being a vocal advocate for so many years in "exile." To watch little Tassie mature, grow and expand from the laughing backwater (2 heads? Close "cousins?") to be celebrated the world over for arts, wine and food, brings a swelling ofpride in my adopted home state. All the elements were there, they needed a catalyst from which to ignite. Queue MONA, at Moorilla Estate by David Walsh and queue The Gourmet Farmer TV Series by Matthew Evans. It is my belief that these two unique individuals put a spotlight on Tassie, and immediately moths from "the Mainland" were drawn to this illumination.
The necessity for
all of Tasmania
to give the same experiences that these flag bearers were offering was a challenge that many people stood to accept.
Our wine industry has been humming away in the background for a long time, producing good wines, but suddenly investment and an influx of talented people working alongside Tasmanians have catapaulted into a state where demand for grapes outstrips supply and our grapes recieve the highest price, per tonne, of any region in the country. The realisation for Chefs and Foodies that everythnig needed can be sourced less than 2 hours away, completely fresh, (and more than likely you've traded something that you grew yourself for that item!) From Oysters, Abalone to Lamb and Beef: Tassie is a large boutique, yet accessible food bowl. (Well, maybe not bananas, although there are reports that someone local has grown a banana in their lounge room, which reminds me: the Tassie sun is very very damaging. Bring sunscreen. Yes, even in April. Bring it and use it. Trust me.)
bigger than you think. You can't simply drive around the state in a day, our diverse geography will ensure that at some stage, you'll either have to slow down for a hair pin turn on a mountain road or photograh some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
So if you're lucky enough to come down for the Gourmand tour, I look forward to showing you around just a little piece of this amazing place.
If you don't live in Tassie...here's some of the best bits of the Apple Isle you can get either delivered or at a decent bottleshop:
- House Of Arras Sparkling Wine (Vintage)
Can be found regularly, but showcases why Tassie is referred to as "Australia's Champagne"
- Moo Brew: The beer of Moorilla and MONA, one of Tassie's first "Craft Beers."
In stubbies at selected good bottle shops and on tap in quality bars.
- Willie Smith's: Took a cider to put a resurgence in Apples for the Apple Isle. In stubbies at selected good bottle shops and on tap in quality bars.
- Bruny Island Cheese:
Everyone knows that King Island are great cheeses, but Bruny Island have done more for Tassie artisan produce than most. Order your cheeses from their Cheese Club!