Our customers: Meet the Loira Vines team
How did a school teacher and a publican from regional NSW come to run a Northern Tasmanian vineyard?
Their journey from their old home town to Tasmania was at least partly confirmed by a visit to Launceston’s Harvest Market and to the producers – and produce – it showcases.
Almost three years ago, Adrian and Mirabai Carruthers bought and moved down to Loira Vines, their 5 and a half acres of vines and apples at Sidmouth on the West Tamar.
There they’ve been building a reputation for their platters, range of wines and their hospitality.
Visit Loira Vines in full swing and you can find Mirabai busy delivering platters while Adrian holds court offering wine and cider tastings.
They have had help from a professional winemaker producing their wines as they learn on the job. They’ll make cider from their own apples and Adrian’s beloved hops will go into his own beer soon.
They’ve also got some accommodation on the property.
Although Mirabai was born at Carrick in Tasmania, both grew up in Gloucester.
Mirabai, with a background in primary school teaching, and husband Adrian, who had spent 14 years running the family pub in the small Hunter town, decided they wanted to shift to Tasmania.
They had been here several times on holidays and loved the scenery, climate and the food and wine.
“It reminds us a little of New Zealand, which is another place we love. Basically the heat and humidity of the mainland was becoming too much and Tassie is a little pocket of heaven,’’ Mirabai said.
A visit to Harvest Market at the time they bought Loira Vines helped sealed the deal on the food side.
“As a foodie, I was in heaven. I may even have teared up at some point,’’ she said.
“I couldn’t believe the amount of amazing, quality produce available from small producers in this area.
“So when we were looking at providing a food option here, I couldn't imagine a better offering: Tamar Valley and surrounds on the one platter.
“It showcases so much amazing produce and it's abundance! I am so proud of
all of the products we use and I really love the people who we deal
“Everyone has their own amazing story and it's lovely to be able to tell people about them when they come here."
So who are those producers?
Well, Southern Sky Cheese is obviously one.
Each week from last spring, Mirabai was been ordering our Aged Gruyere, Raclette, Double Cream Brie, Truffled Persian Fetta, Piquante Blue and 1kg blocks of our Vintage Club Cheddar – lots of them.
“Basically... to make a great platter I use your cheeses as a skeleton,’’ Mirabai says.
“Then I add condiments, meats and then beautiful fresh produce. It all comes together to make a bounty of beautiful hand-crafted produce on the one platter.”
But the Loira Vines focus on local producers goes much further than Southern Sky Cheese.
Adrian has been a regular sight at the market on his hunter-gathering duties, often leaving the market with daughter Adeline’s pusher loaded with 20 or 30kg of our cheese and a range of other fresh produce.
The list of supplies below, while not all necessarily from the market, gives an idea of why he probably spends a bit of time on the mobile making sure he’s got the lot.
Rocky Gardens Fine Foods: Tomato and Native Pepper relish and quince paste. Taste of TamO’Shanter: Pickled cucumbers. Sandy's Sourdough: Sourdough batards. 41 Degrees South Tasmania: Smoked salmon. Casalinga Gourmet Meats: Chorizo cabana, sopressa salami and smoked ham. Brick Oven Products: Chicken and port pate. Yorktown Organics: Mixed greens, edible flowers. Hillwood Berries: Seasonal berries. Hazelbrae: Hazelnuts. They also do vegan platters that include Artisa cheeses, another Launceston business.
Like all small businesses, the Carruthers have been facing an uncertain time in the current climate, although they are taking the first steps to returning to some sort of normality.To contact Loira Vines: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Images below (all courtesy Loira Vines): Platters for six, four and two. The Loira Vines wine range. Working on the vintage. The smallest member of the Loira Vines team, Adeline, helping with the hops.