Waterton Vineyards first caught my eye in 2011 when they had just won the Canberra International Riesling Challenge with their 2009 Riesling. I’m not sure who was more surprised – Peter Cameron at getting an enquiry from Singapore the day after the announcement, or me in actually getting some of their incredibly small production.
Since then, I’ve made many visits to Rowella (about 45 minutes north of Launceston) and the magnificent property that is Waterton Hall, set on the west bank of the Tamar River. It’s such a special spot, and the hospitality of Peter and Jennie Baird so welcoming that when I led the Country Holidays “Wine Tour for the Connoisseur” last year, it was an obvious choice to spend our last morning in Tasmania.
Just up the road from Waterton Hall is Chartley Estate which won the most recent Canberra International Riesling Challenge. There must be something about the soil and climate of Rowella that results in two vineyards, a little over a kilometer from each other, winning such a prestigious event. Both wines, by the way, were made by Winemaking Tasmania as neither has their own winemaking facilities.
Sadly, I learned late last year that Peter & Jennie had decided to sell Waterton Hall and the label “Waterton” has not been acquired by the new owners. There’s still some stock of Shiraz and even some yet-to-be released 2015 Riesling, but for now, this is all that remains of their great 2013 Riesling. Just 8 bottles. And for the record, Waterton’s wines were never commercially exported – only customers of Tiger Wines have had a chance to buy these wines outside of Australia.