Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Strange Bird lays again

Eighteen months after Strange Bird first left the nest to create the Granite Belt alternative wine trail, there's been another hatching.

Three new wineries have joined the trail and the total number of alternative wines has passed the 50 mark. Making their debut on the trail are wines from Felsberg and Rumbalara just south of Stanthorpe, and from Heritage on the northern approach to the Queensland wine capital.

Strange Bird has captured the imagination of wine consumers and media alike...a hit in print and on the small screen. Starlets which appear on the updated trail include Cabernet Franc and Jacques. Learn more about who is on the trail, what is on the trail, and how to get to Queensland's Granite Belt visit http://www.granitebeltwinecountry.com.au/pages/strange-bird/

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Buon Appetito

A professional Italian pizza maker, turned back-packer, has given the Mountview Wines new wood-fired pizza oven the thumbs up.

For eight years Sasciaj (Sasha) Cozzi enjoyed a formidable reputation for his pizzas and foccacias at Del Borgo in Milan. Then with his Scottish partner Jenna Cairney he travelled to Queensland, to pick apples in Stanthorpe. Sasciaj heard that Mountview’s oven was open to the community, so he put on a pizza party for his newfound “family” and friends. They shared fresh pizza and several bottles of Mountview's Bloody Good Red.

The Granite Belt’s multi-cultural community meant Sasciaj could get all the traditional pizza and foccacia ingredients. He said, “I couldn’t believe it – right here I was able to buy Molesini 00 flour, my favourite yeast and malt and really good olive oil. I can tell you, I didn’t find that when I stayed with Jenna’s family in Scotland!”

Interestingly Sasciaj (pictured) had never before used a wood-fired oven, and in Liguria he had never made round pizza. But he adapted easily and the only lament of his appreciative audience is that the young couple has now hit the road to travel north to soak up some Queensland sunshine.

Use of the facilities is free, simply contact David or Angela McGrath on 0418 985 393 and bring your pizza bases, toppings and friends along.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Is it a train? Is it a house?

Actually it's a trainhouse and it overlooks Harrington Glen's nine acre vineyard just south of Stanthorpe.

This makes a great addition to the boutique accommodation on the Granite Belt. The carriage hails from Melbourne and was one of 20 originally purchased from Victorian Railways by a Molong man. In 2007 Harrington Glen's Harry Ireland was taking his grandson to Dubbo zoo....they took a detour and saw this carriage. Harry bought it and has spent two years lovingly restoring and converting it. It now it provides tourist accommodation for those wanting a very different room with a view in the Queensland wine capital.
The trainhouse opened in May 2009 and features three en-suite bedrooms, plus a fully equipped kitchen. The autumn views at the moment are spectacular and when you alight the train you can sample the wines from their Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Verdelho, Voignier or White Muscat.

Monday, May 4, 2009

See us on telly

The latest media to be intrigued by the Strange Bird story is Postcards Australia. A crew toured the Granite Belt recently for a segment to be broadcast on Win TV/Channel Nine in June. This self-drive tour through the vineyards of producers of alternative grape varieties has captured the imagination of virtually every wine commentator in the country.

Next week it is Nude Food which is attracting the interest from the Great South East - the popular travel and leisure programme broadcast by Channel Seven.

Nude Food has taken the fancy of Des Houghton who previewed the planned 2010 calendar by Granite Belt foodies in last weekend's Courier Mail. But as Des rightly records, Nude Food is natural. It's all about food that is in region and food that is in season. Nothing rude about at all! The calender is themed Strange Bird meets Nude Food on the Granite Belt.

Participants of these two self-drive trails will be packing up their produce and travelling to Brisbane next month for a spectacular showcase at South Bank on Saturday June 13th. We'll tell you more shortly.