A NEW wine processing facility has begun operations in Cambridge, filling a void in the market by helping smaller producers take their grapes from vine to bottle to customer.
Dr Island has been formed by James Broinowski, of Small Island Wines, and Peter Dredge, of Dr Edge, to provide equipment, know-how and accessibility to smaller-scale producers and wine makers to get their products made and bottled.
Mr Broinowski said since he founded Small Island Wines in 2015, and as they grew alongside the Tasmanian wine industry, he noticed that processing became harder to find on the small scale.
“We identified a bit of a niche, a lot of Tasmanian farmers are diversifying, putting in vineyards, and then the vineyards becoming a key part of the business but without the downstream facilities to process their product, to turn in to wine, because the ones that exist already are full,” Mr Broinowski said.
“The idea is people can have their wine made by us. They send down their grapes and we take over from there, all the way to the bottle.”
“We are focusing on a lot of smaller producers, we can give that attention to a lot of small, individual vineyards.”
They currently cater for about 200 tonnes of product from around 20 Tasmanian producers ranging from two to 80 tonnes. But they have begun to expand their operations towards the 500-tonne mark, with the aim of reaching up to 900 tonnes.
The facility bottles the wine at a rate of 1000-1500 bottles per hour.
“In December, this was a patch of dirt, we’ve gone pretty hard at building over this year to open for the upcoming season, but we’ve already started working.”
Down the track, Dr Island also has plans to add a cellar door to their operations, to offer an avenue for customers to directly access the produce of smaller Tasmanian vineyards.