The first member of the Fogarty family to emigrate from Ireland arrived in Tasmania in the mid-1800s. Six generations later, the Fogarty family has returned to its Tasmanian roots with the purchase of the historical Lowestoft homestead and adjoining vineyard near Hobart – overlooking David Walsh’s Mona museum and Moorilla Winery and Lowestoft Bay on the Derwent River.
Lowestoft was built circa 1850 on land acquired by Thomas Lowes in 1830. He arrived in Hobart from England as a free settler on the ship Thalia in 1823 and planned to establish the first distillery but on arrival found others were already in production. However, Lowes later erected a distillery and malt house, became a politician and also had connections in banking, horse racing and cricket. He was known to entertain and hold large events at the Lowestoft homestead.
Lowes was one of the first to plant vines in or near Hobart and in 1848 won first prize at the Hobart Horticultural Society Show for two wines he produced near Lowestoft.
In the late 1800s most of the vines in Tasmania were pulled out as conditions were considered too cold for wine grape production and vineyard workers left Tasmania for the Victorian gold rush. It wasn’t until the mid-1950s that Claudio Alcorso restarted the Tasmanian wine industry in the south by planting 90 Riesling vines obtained from David Wynn in South Australia. In 1976 Alcorso and the Pirie brothers planted the first Pinot Noir.
In1986 the then owner of Lowestoft, Bernard McKay, was asked to plant vines and supply fruit to Alcorso’s Moorilla Winery, located on the current Mona site, opposite Lowestoft. The 3 hectare site was planted to 100% Pinot Noir sourced from Moorilla cuttings. When Moorilla was sold, viticulturist Fred Peacock began purchasing some of the Lowestoft grapes for use in his Bream Creek Reserve Pinot Noir with the rest sold to Treasury Wines and others.
In January 2019 Fogarty Family Wines acquired Lowestoft from Bernard McKay having first approached him to purchase the site in 2017. The property is located 15 minutes north west of Hobart in the Derwent Valley subregion. The rainfall is low at 400–500mm with the cool temperatures allowing a long even ripening of the outstanding fruit.
The Lowestoft Brand
The Lowestoft name was then chosen as the brand for our luxury Tasmanian wines in recognition of Thomas Lowes, his magnificent homestead which he named “Lowestoft” and the site overlooking Lowestoft Bay. The crest on the label, which forms part of the brand, is derived from the original Fogarty family crest which dates back to early Irish history and one of the Kings of Ireland (O’Fogarty, King of Ely, County Tipperary, 1072). The crest acknowledges our first forebearer to arrive in Australia, Patrick John Fogarty, in the mid-1800s, who is buried in Strahan, Tasmania.