JOHN Pooley knows his wine and knew he was on to a winner with his 2011 pinot noir.
Pooley Coal River Pinot Noir 2011 took out The Douglas Seabrook Single Vineyard Trophy and The Dan Murphy's Trophy for Best Pinot Noir at last week's Royal Melbourne Wine Show.
The pinot noir is made from 27-year-old vines on the banks of the Coal River just north of Hobart in Tasmania.
Pooley Wines produces all its wine on the estate, with lots of help from family members.
"We knew this was a very good wine,'' John said.
"It has good structure, is very well balanced and is a benchmark Tassie pinot noir.''
Before he got into winemaking, John was a luxury car dealer in Hobart, as was his father, who bought the vineyard after he retired.
"My father needed something to do after retirement and this winery made him live another few years,'' John said.
John's mother Margaret was still running the vineyard at 93.
Until recently daughter Anna worked at nearby Treasury Wine Estate and won Young Winemaker of the Year in 2010.
She's now coming home to work at Pooley Wines.
Pooley Wines has two vineyards, 25km apart in Richmond (4ha) and Campania (10ha).
Last year they supplied a third of the grapes used for last year's Jimmy Watson winner, Tasmania's Glaetzer-Dixon 2010 Mon Pere Shiraz.
"Tasmania makes up 0.5 per cent of national production and we have latitude, not altitude, but we make good wine,'' John said.
"We have amazing soil and long daylight hours.
"Big companies are now buying up in Tassie because of the great pinot noir and sparkling wine we produce.''
In John's opinion, the region has the potential to produce better sparkling wines than France.
John's son Matthew Pooley was last week awarded the prestigious Nuffield Scholarship, which will allow him to travel overseas and investigate sustainable wineries.
As viticulturalist and manager of the family wine business, Matthew would like to investigate the opportunities for reuse of winery waste products and recycling water.
Eventually, Pooley Wines hopes to establish a best practice winery facility that will become a model for small-scale cool climate wine production in Tasmania and beyond.
"I'd like to look at initiatives being trialled or implemented overseas, including passive heating/cooling, gravity-fed production systems and greenhouse gas emission reduction in the small-medium winery bracket,'' Matthew said.
Matthew's wife Shelley manages the Pooley Wines cellar door and wine club.
- Visit pooleywines.com.au