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Josef Chromy

This is a real success story based on hard work, self-reliance and self-belief. In 1950, when he was a penniless 19 year old, Josef Chromy fled his native war-torn Czechoslovakian village, escaping with two friends who were unfortunately captured. But Joe sped on across borders, enduring five months of privation before emigrating to Australia and settling in Tasmania. There he used his family skills as a master butcher to build a business, Blue Ribbon Meat products, which became one of the islands biggest brands. In 1993 Blue Ribbon was floated on the Australian Stock Exchange and Joe used the proceeds to invest into Tasmania's fledgling wine industry, and went on to own and develop some of the island’s leading wineries, including Rochecombe (which would become Bay of Fires), Tamar Ridge, Heemskerk and its sub-brand Jansz. Then, in 2007 at the age of 76 when most people are thinking about retiring, if they haven't already done so, Joe embarked on his own label, Joseph Chromy Wines. It had always been is dream to establish his own winery and within a very brief time had amassed 14 trophies and 170 medals; in short, one of the most successful launches in the history of the Tasmanian wine industry. Joe produces an impressive selection of both still and sparkling wines from his state-of the-art winery in Relbia, where 61 hectares are under vine, just south of Launceston. Tasmania is a cool climate wine region where cool winds from the Pacific, Indian and Antarctic Oceans imbue the grapes with a delicacy and elegance of flavours, and the wines are supremely aromatic. Joe grows Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, on black alkaline crackling clay soils, and shallow stony neutral brown soils over an ancient dolerite base. The Chromy style shows a real sense of place, showcasing the expressions of the terroir to their full potential. This Czech refugee who escaped from his occupied homeland speaking not a word of English has been tremendously instrumental and influential in the Tasmanian wine industry. On the bottle labels you will notice the famous lion logo that is synonymous with Josef Chromy wines – this recreation of the logo was born from a sovereign ring that was bought for Chromy by his grandson. The ring was created to represent the famous Chromy logo, but once it was pressed the lion “popped out” and took on 3D qualities – so the Relbia Estate lion was born.