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NESTLED in the Coal River Valley is Tasmania’s
only permaculture vineyard with one of the oldest
cellar doors in Australia set against an historic
Permaculture, now a worldwide movement aimed
at sustainable, environmentally friendly agriculture,
was founded in Tasmania.
For Dr Andrew Palmer and his wife Esther the
principles of permaculture are fundamental to their
philosophy for producing wines that explode with
full bodied flavour.
Their label Roslyn 1823 is named after their
historic property on White Kangaroo Road,
Campania. Flavours nurtured in the Roslyn 1823
vineyard are captured in each bottle of their pinot
noir, riesling, chardonnay and pinot gris.
Dr Palmer, who is the vigneron, studied
permaculture for more than 10 years and has a
He planned and set up the family-run vineyard
in 2015 on the design principles and ethics
of permaculture which is integrated into their
Including the vineyard, they run sheep using
rotational grazing techniques, ducks and chickens,
grow lucerne and permanent pasture grass hay.
Permaculture is a design system based on the
concept of “permanent agriculture”, a term first
used by J. Russel Smith in his book Tree Crops: a
permanent agriculture published in 1929 and further
developed at the University of Tasmania by David
Holmgren and Bill Mollison, who was from Stanley
in the far North West, in the 1970s.
“We believe working in harmony with nature to
promote biodiversity and regenerate our bountiful
earth,” Esther said.
“Permaculture aims to regenerate the earth rather
than degrade it, as often happens in conventional
“Our single vineyard, cool climate boutique wines
are made exclusively from premium hand-picked
grapes, expressing the unique terroir and history of
The property was founded in 1823, the heritagelisted Roslyn Estate’s emblem is inspired by
sightings of Tasmanian Tigers on Roslyn during
the time of the first indigenous contacts in the early
In 2019 they harvested their first Roslyn 1823
vintage of chardonnay, riesling, pinot gris and pinot
“Our winemaker Robbie Drew employs his 30
years’ experience to ensure that the flavours nurtured
in the Roslyn 1823 vineyard are captured in each
bottle,” Dr Palmer said.
Dr Palmer said their viticultural approach was
guided by the three main ethics (earth care, people
care and fair share) and 12 principles of permaculture
(observe and interact; catch and store energy; obtain
a yield; apply self-regulation and accept feedback;
use and value renewable resources and services;
produce no waste; design from patterns to details;
integrate rather than segregate; use small and slow
solutions; use and value diversity; use edges and
value the marginal; creatively use and respond to
“We use organic compost and mulching, a range
of biological fertilisers, chickens and ducks for pest
control, and sheep and alpacas for weed control
to complement our standard viticultural practices.
Irrigation is kept to a minimum, ensuring true
flavours the reflect the nature of our terroir.
“At harvest time, the grapes are hand-picked,
selecting only the highest quality bunches go into
producing our premium quality wines.”
The Campania district of the Coal River Valley
has a Mediterranean climate, made up of warm dry
summers, cooler autumns, and cold, wet winters –
ideal for the cool climate grape varieties that grow on
“The long cool ripening season leads to more acidic,
less sweet and fruity wines typical of cool climate
regions. Our vineyard lies in the rain shadow of the
Wellington Ranges and the brooding mountains of the
South West of the Tasmanian wilderness.”
The farm has an average annual rainfall of 450mm,
which is less than half of the rain that falls in Hobart.
“Some years we have had less than 250mm of rain,
which would categorise us as a desert if this occurred
over several years. This low rainfall, coupled with
our predominantly light loam sand soils, means that
we must make the most of any rain that falls on our
“Due to the unreliable rainfall in the area, made
worse over the last two decades by global warming,
we supplement our water harvesting with irrigation
water from the Coal and Derwent rivers.
TASMANIAN BUSINESS REPORTER, November 2020 9