News from the Valley

Summer 2019

Hello everyone, Kate and Posie here again,

Spring blew through the valley with some wild days of wind and some, oh so welcome rain, and now, rejoice!, plant and animal life in abundance!

Summer is truly magical in Tasmania, so many wonderful markets, festival and events showcasing the rich talent we have here on our wonderful small island.

At Frenchman’s River we want our guests to experience the incredible produce that we have to offer here in the state, particularly focusing on what you can find here in the Huon. We love stocking the fridges of our houses with seasonal local produce and arranging a cheese and wine platter for your arrival with some delicious Coal Valley River Brie and a lush Two Bud Spur Pinot. How lucky we are to have these cheese and wine makers quite literally down the hill.

We previously mentioned some of the excellent distilleries that you can find here and this time we would like to highlight some of the amazing wines you can find here in the valley.

We had the not -so -terrible task of sampling the wines and of course meeting the local wine makers producing these fantastic wines.

Here are a couple we want to share, but don’t worry there are more to come….

Kate Hill Wines


We had the pleasure of meeting with Kate Hill recently to learn more about her journey to the Huon and the growth of her wine business. Kate has over 10 years experience making wines, she honed her skills with Orlando Wyndham wines in the Barossa where she was an executive winemaker, helping to create award winning wines. Kate felt a pull to producing her own cool climate wines and moved to Tasmania in 2006, knowing the cool climate would produce high quality fruit. After gaining some great experience in the Tasmanian market including working with Stefano Lubino and Winemaking Tasmania, Kate went on to create her own brand in 2008, using the services of a contract winery. Acquiring an old apple cool store in 2011 found Kate and her husband Charles converting the 100 year old building into a winery. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz varities are planted at their cellar door site in Huonville. A perfect location for its proximity to Hobart and as well as it’s vine growing climate.

Kate has a love for the valley and for Tasmanian makers and has seen a slow steady rise in the great quality of wines being produced with good people creating them.

Tasmanian wines are having their heyday it seems, we are seeing fantastic small boutique wines being created and in some cases establised vineyards -reintroducing wines that we have enjoyed and had perhaps forgotten. It is wonderful to rediscover some of these older, established vineyards with new, young owners and wine makers, highlighting what Tasmania has to offer.

The Kate Hill range includes a sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, Riesling and Pinot Noir.
Their cellar door is at 21 Dowlings Rd, Huonville and is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm


Resolution Vineyard.
This lovely vineyard boasts one of the most amazing views on the Channel. Looking across the D’entrecasteux Channel out to Bruny Island and around to Mt Wellington, the Middleton location is not only beautiful but provides ideal conditions to produce the cool climate Pinot that Tassie is known for. Their 2017 Pinot won Bronze at the Royal Hobart Show in August of this Year.

Named after Captain Cooks HMS Resolution which anchored in adventure bay in 1777 the vineyard originally planted in 2003, has been lovingly maintained through family and friends of the original owners, now in the care of the Lamont family, we know this wine will continue to win awards.


Hartzview Vineyard Cafe

As you wind your way along the picturesque roads exploring the Huon Valley, the Hartzview Vineyard is a fantastic spot to stop, relax and take in a slice of true Tasmanian history. Located in Gardener’s Bay the Hartzview site was once a large fruit farm, producing gooseberries shipped off around Australia. Looking to develop the land owners Rob and Anthea Patterson discovered it was a great site for growing Pinot Noir, and in 1988 the first cuttings were planted. A family trip to France peaked a keen interest in fortified wines, a perfect match for the wonderful fruit of the Huon. Their cellar door offers wine tastings and the outside terrace is the perfect spot to have lunch overlooking the historical pickers huts.


Summer Festivals and Events

The Taste of Tasmania - a waterfront festival. Food. Wine. Music.

Fat Pig Farm - Matthew Evans from Fat Pig Farm/Gourmet Farmer and Nick Haddow from Burny Island Cheese will be hosting the Community Breakfast Sunday Dec 30 from 8 to 10am. Matt and Nick will be cooking up their favorite breakfast bbq dishes, served mess-hall style.

The Pickle Party - A free event looking at waste reduction and preserving. Join Hannah Maloney from Goodlife Permaculture and Michelle Crawford stylist and photographer, for a long table pickle party. Bring your jar and excess produce and they will provide brine and spices for a day of preserving.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Taste of Tasmania, with a record number of stall holders, free events, workshops for all type of foodies and endless entertainment, it is a truly wonderful event for everyone!


Australian Wooden Boat Festival - February 8 - 11 2019
Held across Hobart’s beautiful waterfront this 4 day festival showcases the largest collection of wooden boats in the Southern Hemisphere. The festival includes entertainment, music, and food along with displays and demonstrations and of course the beautiful wooden boats.

Mona Foma- Launceston 13 -20 January

Mona Foma takes over Launceston this January. This amazing festival includes not just art and music, but dance, theatre and the visual arts.

Le Weekend Cygnet February 16 -17 2019

A two day cultural event celebrating Cygnet’s rich French history. This lively festival is a delight with music, food, cabaret, art and more! Join Senator Nic McKim and Mayor Bec Enders in the Cygnet Town Hall as the open Le Weekend at 2pm on Saturday 16th February. The prgram for the weekend is full of wonderful activities for everyone, face painting for kids, Petanque in the park and French Films at Pagan Cider. The Cygnet Centre car park will have vintage and modern cars on display, you can hear delicate French love songs at Huon Art and don’t forget the French Breakfast at the Cygnet Sailing Club on Sunday 17th.

Allez tout le monde!

A Taste of the Huon - 10 & 11 March 2019

A festival showcasing the Huon and Channel region’s incredible produce, now in its 27th year the Taste of the Huon is a celebration of food, wine arts and crafts. There is entertainment for everyone, so bring your deckchairs and rugs and settle in for a day of fantastic food and fun.

News from the Valley

Spring 2018

Welcome to  'News from the Valley', a seasonal update from all of us here at  Frenchman's River, Cygnet.

Let us introduce you to the people, events  and places you might like to experience as Spring rolls through the exquisite Huon Valley in Tasmania's pristine South. 


Spring at the farm. Take a stroll around, so much new life to see. Or saunter to the dam in the big back-valley. First thing, or at last light, you might meet a platypus.
(Gumboots? Definitely.)

Feel like a longer walk? Wander down the hill to Cygnet. Great coffee. Friendly locals. Intriguing little shops. Or just light the fire (it's still cool this time of year) and do absolutely nothing.


Something very new indeed!


We're delighted to let you know that we are now able to offer an exclusive wine-tasting experience here at Frenchman's River.

Renowned food and wine writer and international wine judge, Winsor Dobbin. (, ) will exclusively offer our guests the choice of two bespoke, immersive wine appreciation experiences.

This spring, Winsor will present "Taste Test Tasmania".

Over one and a half hours, you and up to five other people (of your choosing)  will taste 6 interesting wines - reds and whites - of differing styles.

The aim? 

To compare and contrast "mainland" wines with similar styles grown in Tasmania.

And, as the weather warms, Winsor will offer the "Refresher Test": a selection of wines geared to showcasing Rose and lighter whites.

As a bonus, at the conclusion of the formal tasting, Winsor will share his encyclopedic knowledge of wine with you as you play the "Mystery Wine Game". And, the mysterious bottle of truly excellent wine at the heart of the game is up for grabs...

Email us for details and prices (EFT, VISA & Mastercard accepted)  at

Or call Kate or Posie on 0466 790 142

One small caveat:

Winsor travels extensively so it's wise to talk with us when you make your accommodation booking (just to make sure he'll to be in town when you're staying at Frenchman's River.)




We love to support and highlight the amazing artisans creating the gourmet experiences of the Huon Valley.

Recently we have been visiting our regions wineries, farmers and creators - the visionary makers here in the valley.

And, we thought you might like some suggestions so you can enjoy the same lovely experiences that we have had while researching this blog post.
(yes, a tough assignment, but someone has to do it)


Tas-Saff Growers Own Saffron Gin - Located in beautiful Glaziers Bay, this family owned award winning business have been producing the highest quality saffron grown in Tasmania for culinary, general health and lifestyle uses since 1990. Their Growers's Own Saffron Gin is distilled on site at the farm and infused with saffron twice, once as a botanical in the initial stages and again at the end for the colour. The farm shop is open to the public nearly all year round, but visit in April and early May and you might just see the beautiful Crocus Sativus flowers in bloom.

Willie Smith's Apple Brandy - Take a tour of the Apple Shed and learn about the French art of Cider distillation. Using a Charentais alembic copper still the master distillers at Willie Smith's are producing Calvados style aged apple brandy and a lighter apple spirit, Charles Oats apple blanco. Uniquely Tasmanian spirits from Huon apples.

Hartshorn Distillery Vodka and GinThis new Tasmanian micro distillery have created award winning vodka and gin from sheep whey. With small bottle batches and hand painted labels this sheep whey vodka has just won Worlds Best Vodka at the World Vodka awards 2018. (we have tasted it and its fantastic!)  Located at Grandvewe Cheesery in Birches bay we recommend tasting the incredible sheep cheese they create along with their award winning spirits.



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If there's one thing the Huon is renowned for, it's magnificent local produce. We can suggest Providores and seasonal farm-gate sales from which you can gather some of the freshest  local produce on offer in Australia. 

And of course, there are weekly markets to explore - not just in Cygnet (first and third Sunday of every month), but Franklin, Huonville and Woodbridge as well. Nothings' more than 20 or so minutes from your door at Frenchman's River; and driving there is always a joy.

And,  as you prepare that first meal in either of our well-equipped kitchens, you'll find one of our very own custom-made Frenchman's River aprons available to use. Shopping? A Frenchman's River shopper tote bag will be available soon (single-use plastic bags are hard to find in the valley.)

We like our bags and aprons a lot, and hope you do too; you'll be able to purchase either if you'd like to take one home.



As the weather warms and the days breathe out, not only the farm but the bays and beaches and river-banks of the region offer so many pretty spots to explore. Maybe it's time to slow down and enjoy a gourmet picnic.

Our houses are both equipped with excellent picnic baskets (thermos and picnic blanket included.) 

And, If you'd like us to assemble a collection of special local treats plus something interesting to drink, just let us know.

We offer a range of prices depending on what takes your fancy - and can cater for special dietary requierments as well. 




Steam Age Ida Bay Festival 2018
29th  - 30th  September, 1st October -  Southport

Ida Bay Railway have teamed up with SteamFest Tasmania to present a family friendly festival celebrating Southern Tasmania's unique railway heritage. Enjoy working steam engines, steam age exhibits, stalls with local products and journeys in the little red train as far South as any railway goes.


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Fat Pig Farm Afloat - The Yukon at Franklin

From 28th October 2018 join the Fat Pig Farm team for a Sunday lunch cruise down the mighty Huon river  aboard the 80 year old Scandinavian tall ship the Yukon.

Learn of the ship's amazing history as you savour a gourmet picinic of farmhouse Fat Pig goodies, local wine and cider and enjoy the views.

Visit for more details



The Great Huon Valley Festival
10th  - 11th  November -  Franklin

This brand new event will feature local Huon Valley and Tasmanian musicians, comedy acts and other performing arts, as well as artisan stall holders offering local craft, art, food, wine, cider and spirits! Unique to this festival there will also be adventures and historic attractions, such as short tours to local tourist attractions, boat rides and more!