Tolpuddle Vineyard was established in 1988, named for the Tolpuddle Martyrs: English convicts transported to Tasmania for forming an agricultural union
As the story goes, the leader of the Martyrs, George Loveless, served some of his sentence working on a property near Richmond, part of which is now Tolpuddle Vineyard. The vineyard is now planted with mature Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines, facing northeast, sloping gently up from Back Tea Tree Road. The soil is light silica over sandstone and of moderate vigour, ensuring well-balanced vines producing grapes of great flavour and intensity. Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith MW acquired the property in 2011, fully committed to seeing Tolpuddle recognised as one of Australia's great single vineyards. In 2006 Tolpuddle Vineyard won the inaugural Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year award, reflecting the performance of this unique and distinguished site.
Located about 20 minutes drive from Hobart, in Tasmania's southeast, Coal River Valley has established a reputation for growing exceptional quality grapes. With a climate that is at the cool extremes for viticulture in Australia, it is no surprise that Chardonnay and Pinot Noir perform so splendidly. An anomaly for such a cool climate is that the rainfall is significantly lower than many of Australia's other cool climate regions, with an average of approximately 500mm of rain per year. This cool but relatively dry climate allows the grapes to ripen slowly in autumn, without disease pressure that heavy rainfall can bring.
Early in his career Martin Shaw worked at Petaluma and in Bordeaux, prior to setting up the Flying Winemakers network in France, Spain, Italy, Chile and New Zealand. In 1989, he established Shaw + Smith with cousin Michael Hill Smith. Martin is Joint Managing Director of Shaw + Smith and Tolpuddle Vineyard and he oversees all aspects of grape growing and winemaking.
Michael Hill Smith was the first Australian to pass the rigorous Master of Wine examination. In 2008 he was awarded an Order of Australia for his contribution to the Australian Wine Industry. Featured on Decanter Magazine's power list 2009, 2011 and 2013, Michael is an international wine judge, wine consultant and strong advocate for Australian fine wine both within Australia and internationally.