Tasmanian winemakers sparkle amid ongoing champagne shortage

BUBBLY BOTTLENECK: Michele Round with her collection of Tasmanian sparkling wines at the Pinot Shop in Launceston. Picture: Joshua Peach
BUBBLY BOTTLENECK: Michele Round with her collection of Tasmanian sparkling wines at the Pinot Shop in Launceston. Picture: Joshua Peach

A national champagne supply bottleneck has left many this holiday season reaching for a less familiar glass of bubbly, providing a potential boon for celebrated local producers to fill the gap.

Champagne, much like dozens of other commodities this year, has become hampered by protracted shipping delays under the pandemic.

Those supply constraints have been further heightened by a difficult growing season, and yo-yoing demand for sparkling wine over the last two years. The global bottleneck in French champagne reached a bursting point earlier this month, causing major retailers like Dan Murphy's to place a per-customer limit on brands like Moet or Pol Roger.

One retailer who remained unaffected by the shortage, however, was Michele Round who runs Launceston's Pinot Shop in Tasmania

As an independent wine merchant who favours local and small producers, Ms Round had many bottles to hand for customers looking for something to replace the big name champagnes which are often sought this time of year.

"Lovely as some of the big names are, if you spend the same amount of money on something Tasmanian you're going to get something really special and unique," she said.

And according to Ms Round, the choices available to someone hunting for a bit of bubbly from within the state are better than ever.

"Our range of Tasmanian sparkling wines has grown probably more than any other area in the shop over the last few years," she said.

The shop's handpicked sparkling selection bloomed to a full shelf two years ago, and Ms Round believes the range covers everything one could want in a successful New Year's Eve tipple.

"They all sell really well, everything from a tiny producer out of Lilydale, to those very-well-known brands like Janz," she added.

Ms Round also went on to note producers like Pirie Tasmania - founded by Andrew Pirie of Pipers Brook fame - and Stefano Lubiana as two other sparkling choices much-loved by her customers.

For those looking for something at the luxury end of the market, Ms Round brought attention to a relatively new producer in the state, Henskens Rankin of Tasmania, which commonly retails above $100 a bottle.

With all that said, when asked what bottle she would pick out for her own New Year's Eve celebrations, Ms Round didn't hesitate in pointing to a bottle of Bellbonne vintage rosé - which recently won Best Sparkling Rosé at the 2022 Halliday Wine Companion Awards.

"It's sumptuous and there's notes of Turkish delight. It's like smelling roses."

This story A champagne shortage? On New Year's Eve? Enter Tasmania first appeared on The Examiner.