When Sydney corporate couple Neville and Vanessa Bagot purchased Barringwood vineyard in the north-west of Tasmania in 2012 they were sticking their toes into the water.
Now they are going the whole hog with plans to plant 33 hectares of vines at Evandale, south of Launceston, in September – and the potential for 30 hectares more on a former Gunns site that extends over 160 hectares in total.
“We will probably sell some of the fruit but we also want to significantly lift production,” said co-owner Vanessa Bagot. “It is all very thrilling.”
The new vineyard will be planted mainly with pinot noir and chardonnay, along with some riesling and pinot gris.
The site was earmarked for vineyard development before Gunns went into receivership and is described by the Bagots as “a beautiful site with lovely slopes and its own large dam”.
While the first vintage is four years away, the Bagots have a master plan in place for a cellar door to open in 2018 or 2019, as well as for a restaurant, a winery and intimate outdoor entertainment space.
The Bagots purchased the site 18 months ago and have since closed their Barringwood cellar door, citing a lack of traffic.
“The new vineyard is incredibly exciting, but the downside is that we will have to remain based in Sydney for another two or three years to pay for all of this,” Vanessa said. “In the long term, however, the whole family will be moving from the big smoke.“