Josef Chromy’s upbringing was very different to those of most Australian winemakers. He immigrated to the country in 1950 as a penniless 20-year-old, having fled his war-torn Czech village and eleven years of Nazi and Soviet occupation. He suffered five-months of misery, escaping across borders guarded by minefields, dogs and soldiers, before reaching the safety of our shores.
Today, Josef Chromy OAM has been instrumental to the development of the Tasmanian Wine Industry, having owned and developed some of Tasmania’s leading wineries including Rochecombe (now Bay of Fires), Jansz, Heemskerk and Tamar Ridge. His latest venture, Josef Chromy Wines is located at Relbia, just 10 minutes south of Launceston. It includes a 150-acre vineyard and newly completed state-of-the-art winery.
What style do you think characterises the pinot of your region?
Tasmania is very diverse, however all the wines have purity and line. You can see the bones. You will not find many fruit bombs here, but rather more delicate, structured pinots.
Tell us three things we need to know about your region?
- Our site had one of Australia’s first vineyards. It was established by the illegitimate son of King George the IV in 1928, with a variety called Black Cluster… which turned out to be Pinot Meunier.
- Josef Chromy has owned and developed many of the regions leading wineries, including Rochecombe (now Bay of Fires), Jansz, Heemskerk, Tamar Ridge Wines and now Josef Chromy Wines.
- Our postcode (7258) is also the item number for LEGO Wookie Attack… okay, I was struggling and googled that one.
What’s the one thing we simply must do in your region?
Try a scallop pie (from Exeter bakery). Tasmania has the best scallop pies in the world. I also think we have the only scallop pies in the world.
If not you, who else should we try?
The other Tassie guys, of course! Although Yabby Lake (VIC) and Craggy Range (NZ) are also doing some great stuff.
What song should we listen to when driving to the winery?
What song should we listen to when driving away and onto the next one?