Willie Smith’s Distillery Experience
it only takes 2 minutes
- Activity Duration
- 1 hour
- Activity Location
- Grove, TAS
Willie Smith’s Apple Shed is located only 30 minutes’
drive from Hobart, at Grove in the Huon Valley, Tasmania. Here you will
find the Charles Oates Distillery where Fine Apple Brandy and Eau de vie apple
spirits are made from Willie Smith’s organic apple cider.
Spend 1.5 hours as a special guest of the distiller, in the Willie Smith’s
Distillery. You will learn about the French art of cider distillation
using a Charentais Alembic Still. See how Charles Oates apple spirits are
made and aged to make Australia’s first Fine Apple Brandy (known in France as
Calvados) made using traditional French techniques. Be guided through a
tasting of the Charles Oates spirits matched perfectly with a food plate and
cheese platter designed by the Willie Smith’s Apple Shed Head Chef.
Groups for the distillery experience are set at a maximum of ten people so that
you will be given the best opportunity to talk with the distiller and enjoy
your time learning about and tasting the Charles Oates spirits.
Apple Farming History
The Smith family have a long history within the apple industry in the Huon Valley,
Tasmania, dating back as far as 1888 when William Smith secured his first plot of
land from his father-in-law, Charles Oates. As part of the tour you will
learn more about this history and about Andrew Smith, the current 4th
generation apple farmer who grows the beautiful organic apples used to make
Willie Smith’s Apple Cider and Charles Oates Fine Apple Brandy.
The Charles Oates spirits are made using a Charentais Alembic Still, the only one of
its kind in Australia. This beautiful still was hand made by craftsman
Peter Bailly, who is responsible for making over 100 stills for distilleries in
Tasmania and Australia. The design of this still is based on those developed
in the 16th century to make Cognac, and which are still used to this day in
France to make Calvados, the French equivalent of Fine Apple Brandy.
Visitors on the experience will learn how the still works and the process of
making spirits from apple cider to barrel to glass.
Tasting with the Distiller
Whilst in the still room the distiller will walk guests through a tasting of the Cider
that first goes into the still, the low wines from the first distillation run
and Charles Oates Fine Apple Brandy and Eau de vie. This is complemented
with a perfectly matched tasting plate and cheese platter.
A memorable experience for anyone with an interest in craft spirits and the
There is a maximum of 10 people in each tour and each guest receives a complementary
glass of cider on arrival, a serving of two Fine Apple Brandy’s, an Eu de vie,
their own personal tasting plate and shared cheese platters with another drink
of their choice at the end of the tour.
The Willie Smith’s Apple Shed is also the home of Willie Smith’s Cider. Here
you can also sample cider, peruse the apple museum and learn about the history
of apple growing in the Huon Valley. The Apple Shed café has a delicious
menu made from local and seasonal produce.