Meadowbank’s vineyard is one of the most important in Tasmanian wine; a whole host of the best quality and most interesting Tasmanian wine brands source fruit from it. The label and winery itself has had a bit of a hiatus but renowned winemaker Peter Dredge has teamed up with the Ellis family to kick things back into life. CAMPBELL MATTINSON

Although The winemaking fortunes of the Meadowbank label have, as Mike Bennie puts it in The Wine Front, “ebbed and flowed” over the years. In late 2015, all that changed with the arrival of Peter Dredge. The quality of the Ellis family’s Derwent Valley vineyard has never been in doubt. Planted in 1974 at Glenora, near the top end of the Derwent River, Gerald Ellis, with his wife Sue, purchased the property in 1976. Since that time the couple have overseen four major vineyard expansions, the most recent a 10-hectare planting of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Gamay in 2016. Moderated by the river, Meadowbank’s vines are rooted in loose sand and sandstone overlying dark brown, coffee rock, rich in iron oxides and organic matter. It’s what our gumbooted wine grower friends might call “quality dirt”. It’s a terroir that has developed an impressive fan base, ranging from Kate Hill, Domaine Simha, Glaetzer Dixon and Ministry of Clouds, to larger producers such as House of Arras and Bay of Fires.

Peter Dredge’s relationship with Meadowbank goes back to 2010 when he was the man at Bay of Fires/Arras. At that time Accolade leased a walloping 32 of Meadowbank’s then 42 hectares. Five years later, during the 2015 vintage after Dredge had left Accolade to downsize, (establishing his own Dr Edge wine label and his consulting company) he took a call from Gerald Ellis. Ellis wanted to resuscitate the historic Meadowbank label and he wisely wanted Dredge to run the show as a part owner/winemaker. The plan was to utilise the best vines in the vineyard and to do something special. It was an offer that was impossible for Dredge to pass up.

When the news of the partnership broke in 2016, Campbell Mattinson wrote, “Peter Dredge at Meadowbank? Now that should be interesting.” He wasn’t wrong. Regardless of what has come before, you can expect something completely different from this point forward. As most of our clients are well aware, Peter Dredge brings an enormous level of industry respect with him into the relationship. This is not misplaced. His first set of Meadowbank wines are seriously impressive and helped him to scoop the 2017 Young Guns of Wine People’s Choice Award. They have also received a range of glowing reviews from the critics. BIBENDUM