Friday, June 26, 2009

Granite Belt to Rival Barossa & Margaret River

While locals have long argued that the Granite Belt has the potential to rival other wine super-regions, others are quickly catching on. A recent feature article by wine guru Max Allen in The Weekend Australian listed the Granite Belt as Australia's "Future Region" for wine making.

Allen's observations that the Granite Belt has terroir in spades, delighted those in the Queensland wine capital in and around the main town of Stanthorpe.

The article highlighted the cultural and geographic uniqueness of the region as becoming more and more attractive to Australia's increasingly savvy wine market. Matched by growing specialisation by regional winemakers, the Granite Belt is set to become recognised nationally for quality, uniqueness and historical value.

Check out our website to find out more about unique wines on the Stange Bird Wine Trail and the history of the Granite Belt.

Eat, Drink and be Merry in Xmas in Winter

Who says Santa only comes once a year? Maybe it's the cold weather, or the likelihood of snow this year, but Santa is making the Granite Belt home this winter.

And for good reason. A variety of Christmas themed dinners at The Rocks Restaurant, Felsberg Winery, Whiskey Gully Wines, Claudia's Country Restaurant, Murray Gardens, Giardino Cafe and Queensland College of Wine Tourism plus Market in the Mountains, looks set to make the Granite Belt THE place for mid-year yuletide celebrations in July and August.

With temperatures regularly below zero and fireplaces already burning, this winter could see a repeat of last year's sleet and hopefully of snow. Yes snow in Queensland! The prospect of snow re-inforces Stanthorpe's reputation of not only being the coolest place in Queensland, but also the best place to bring family and friends this winter. For a full list of upcoming events, look online for events calendar for July and August and Stanthorpe accommodation bookings.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nude Food Calendar - July revealed

From the coolest place in Queensland that brought you Strange Bird, and then Nude Food....Stanthorpe is about to combine these two quirky identities into a 2010 photo calendar.

Each month is themed, and the recent community photo competition organised by Granite Belt Wine & Tourism Inc (GBWT) called for images that reflected that theme.

Photos taken in Queensland’s Granite Belt have been judged with the top 12 finding a place in the new Strange Bird meets Nude Food on the Granite Belt calendar which is now in production. Strange Bird is the name for the region’s alternative wine trail, and Nude Food for its self-drive food trail.

GBWT has revealed only one winning photo, the remainder will be kept under wraps until the calendar launch on Sunday 23rd August. July was themed Brass Monkey Season and it the winning photo has been revealed. Stanthorpe is known as the coldest place in Queensland and Brass Monkey Season® is the successful winter tourist promotion which runs each year in June, July and August. Photographer Dennis Marsden has given the Brass Monkey a little winter cheer, with an award-winning bottle of Granite Belt Shiraz.

The calendar will be available for sale at the launch and from the Stanthorpe Visitor Information Centre with all proceeds being reinvested to promoting the Granite Belt.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jamie Oliver's Fifteen to Tour The Granite Belt

The big smoke is heading our way. The 'Fifteen' Melbourne, a foundation started by global superchef Jamie Oliver that trains troubled youth to become world class chefs, will be visiting the Granite Belt as the competition nears its finale.

The final three will tour Stanthorpe and surrounds as part of the foundation's paddock to plate learning experience. The visit will culminate in a five course charity dinner at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism on Wednesday, July 22. Ballandean Estate, The Bramble Patch, Symphony Hill and Heritage Wines will feature amongst regional producers providing the ingredients for the chef's signature dishes.

This is the first time 'Fifteen' Melbourne has ventured outside its home state of Victoria and the tour is organised by the area's regional tourist organistion. It allows the ambitious chefs the opportunity to learn about the variety and quality of produce available from the Granite Belt. See the College at

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First Saffron Harvest at Robert Channon Wines

Robert Channon will be keeping his saffron plants as comfortable as possible during Stanthorpe’s cold winter months. And for good reason. Saffron rates as the most expensive spice in the world. 75,000 flowers and 20 hours of labour produce a mere 450 grams of saffron threads. The first crop of saffron from the new crocus plantation has been lovingly hand-picked by a team of careful labourers. Early estimates put the crop at just under 25 grams. It is hoped that this will increase sixfold in the next year of production.

The crocus plantation adjoins the new oak forest, which Robert and Peggy Channon hope will shortly be producing their first truffles. Another first for the Granite Belt.

To enjoy the fragrant and colorful delights of saffron infused cooking, come to ‘Spain on a Plate’- fare with flamenco flare by Tony Southgate, at the Singing Lake Café at Robert Channon Wines on Saturday July 25 ($39 per person). The mouth-watering menu, including the new saffron in the paella, visit

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

She's Apples

Amongst Queensland's iconic top ten events is the Stanthorpe Apple & Grape Harvest festival. It's official and was announced by Premier Anna Bligh during Queensland Week in what is Queensland's 150th birthday year.

The Apple & Grape has been around 44 years and age has not wearied her. The bi-ennial festival takes the form of a giant three day street party and it's on again 5-7 March 2010. Learn more

If you can't wait until then to see Bella (grape) and Jonno (apple) then watch the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers parade in Toowoomba on 19th September.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Food and Wine with Peter Howard

The Regional Flavours at South Bank this Saturday (13 June) includes a series of cooking demonstrations with celebrity chef Peter Howard (right). From 10am Peter will produce a number of dishes using Granite Belt produce, and each matched with a Granite Belt wine. These include:
  • Granite Belt Venison Sautéed with Bramble Patch raspberry vinegar glaze and spiced pears.
  • Harslett’s Asian Slaw with Sutton’s apple syrup dressing and chicken skewers
  • Fish broth with fish and Ecoprama’s tofu
  • Char grilled Mediterranean vegetable salad with Sandmill’s pesto dressing and Granite Belt Dairy Farmhouse Pepato cheese
  • Hawker Brother’s Italian pork sausage and braised Borlotti beans

Accompanying these dishes will be wines from Pyramids Road, Casley Mount Hutton, Heritage Wines, Sirromet, Ridgemill, Golden Grove and Granite Ridge.

Demonstrations will be held at 10, 10.30, 11, 12noon, 12.30pm and again at 2pm at Little Stanley Street.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Wine with Latitude

STOP PRESS... vinegar and verjus supremo LiraH has just picked their Nebbiolo grapes a whole four days after the official start to winter in Stanthorpe.

No vinegar here, this variety LiraH will be bottling as wine - I'll drink to that! Founder Ian Henderson says these are probably the last Nebbiolo grapes to be harvested in the Southern Hemisphere this year. In Barolo (Italy), the ancestral home of Nebbiolo they pick “Christmas Day” Nebbiolo. Ian heard of this so in 2005 he left the fruit on the vines till June, harvested it and made a dry red wine.

Ian makes the Nebbiolo in collaboration with Warren Smith of Pyramids Woad Wine. The fruit's distinct characteristics come from the Granite Belt region's latitude - it's northerly situation provides plenty of Queensland sun to enable the fruit to ripen fully. Get the full story on You Tube or the website

If you are in Brisbane on Saturday 13 June you can taste LiraH and other great Granite Belt produce at Regional Flavours at South Bank 10am-3pm.