Premium, craft cider and wine, naturally made in the South of Tasmania.

Our interview

Originally published on 5 April 2022.

Tasmanian craft cider is in good hands at Simple, a cellar door, an arts and community hub, a place to listen to local music, a place to meet friends for a drink.

Huge street art murals line the outer and inner walls of the building with pieces by James Cowan, Ryan Davidson and Jasper Kelly line the walls of this once derelict factory, creating a warm, inviting space filled with shiny new cider vats and rows of wine barrels.

“We are primarily a production space but we also want to be a creative hub for Hobart, we want to give local artists a space to show what they can do, have workshops, classes, exhibitions, small music events,” says Patrick Meagher, who started Simple in the Huon Valley with his partner Emilly.

As a wine and cider maker Patrick has the credentials that matter, honing his trade in Spain, New Zealand’s famed Marlborough region and Australia’s Hunter Valley.

“I just love making drinks. I love making cider, wine, other types of fermenting like making pickles, but my first passion was making wine,” he says.

And his ciders are something special too.

“We want to do as little with the fruit as possible, we are after a natural drink.

“We use granny smith apples, which is a little unusual. The apples were available to us on the farm in Franklin and when we experimented with the apples we found they blended really well with ginger.”

Full of lime and grapefruit, tart and crisp, granny smith apples are not a natural fit for a cider, but Patrick says the ginger naturally softens the acidity and bite of the apples.

“We have a cider made from Cox’s orange pippin apples, a British heritage apple, and a wild cherry drink, as far as we know the only fermented cherry drink in Tasmania.

“Orange Pippin’s are an amazing eating apple, the juice is phenomenal, but it fell out of favour with supermarkets because it doesn’t get to size and bruises easily, so people just don’t grow it anymore.”

Patrick is also working with other heritage apple varieties such as Kingston blacks, the Yarlington Mill and Somerset Redstreak to produce unique, small-batch heritage blend ciders.

“Tasmania is ahead of the game in cider making, we grow a lot of really fine apples and makers like Willie Smiths have led the way in developing a uniquely Tasmanian cider brand,” says Patrick.

Simple is also dabbling in wine making, and has a pinot noir and sauvignon blanc for tasting and sales.

Patrick says the sauvignon blanc has a balance of tropical passionfruit flavours balanced out with cut green grass. The pinot is a lighter, Beaujolais style red wine, and, wait for it, you can chill it slightly before serving, giving the wine a softer flavour profile.

A riesling, rose and pet net are on their way later this year.

Spirits are also in the mix, and Patrick is working on a European-style drink made from distilling a cherry wine base to create an aperitif that has a lovely, soft marzipan nose.

All of the ciders you drink or buy at Simple are made onsite, and on Friday nights you can swing by after work for a drink next to a warming fire.

Saturday Sonic sessions have just started up, and usually kick off in the afternoon with live music, food and of course, wine and cider.