Thursday, January 28, 2010

Apples & Grape

Produce from Queensland's apple capital will hit shop shelves next week. Stanthorpe’s Royal Gala variety is the season opener, which is followed by Red Delicious, Granny Smiths and Pink Ladies amongst the favourites.

Stanthorpe’s apple harvest continues throughout autumn and is marked by the iconic Stanthorpe Apple & Grape Harvest Festival. There are just 36 days to go until the three day festival on 5-7 March which draws tens of thousands of visitors to the coolest place in Queensland.

Apple grower David Sutton said they began harvesting in mid January, with tourists relishing the chance to pick your own at his Thulimbah orchard on the northern end of the Granite Belt. Suttons has made a name for itself in recent years with a range of high quality value-added apple products which include juice, cider, syrup and liqueurs.

Across the region grape harvest (vintage) began earlier than usual during January and apple picking began in earnest on Australia Day. Stanthorpe apples represent virtually all of Queensland’s apple production, with the sunshine state accounting for one third of Australia’s apple production. Wine grapes from the Granite Belt region account for more than 60% of the state’s wine production and produce Queensland’s most awarded wines.

Recent hot and dry weather has produced intensive flavour in 2010 apples and grapes. Tourist operators in the region are sharing the goodwill by offering tourists special deals in February through the Fab Feb campaign. Learn more with a visit the official tourist website Image courtesy Granite Belt 2010 Nude Food Calendar and Jo McLellan

Monday, January 25, 2010

Winelander - All Aboard!

Fancy a weekend of wine - on the rails?

Book your place on the Queensland Winelander, departing Brisbane on Saturday 21 February for two days of wine tasting to the Queensland wine capital.

Return trip to Stanthorpe includes rail travel, accommodation and all meals, plus coach transfers ....all for $425 per person. Great value with bonus discounts for group bookings of ten or more.

The Queensland Winelander heads to the Granite Belt just twice a year with capacity for 130 passengers. Wine on the rails? Learn more now, download the Winelander Brochure and Booking Form. Email your enquiries to:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Queensland's Best

Queensland's Courier Mail has just published a list of the state's top 100 travel spots. Included in the list were three right here in the Granite Belt:
  • Best wine district - Stanthorpe
  • Best winery - Ballandean Estate
  • Best hill walk - The Pyramids, Girraween National Park

And while we aspire to having all the best things, you can come via Goomburra Forest Retreat for what list author Phil Hammond describes as the best breakfast. Our chefs have their knives out! Only joking....

Friday, January 8, 2010

Vintage Short Break in Queensland Wine Capital

The annual wine grape harvest is now underway on the Granite Belt and visitors are winners. A big fat "Fab Feb" welcome mat is being rolled out to visitors to Stanthorpe next month.

Participating Fab Feb operators are providing a few incentives to lure people away from the coastal heat in Feburary. Visitors can access a hot deal through the official website. They will also have the chance to share a personal "money can't buy experience" during February. And to cap that all off everyone who books a Fab Feb deal online will go into the draw to choose from one of three Granite Belt prizes.
Vintage is an exciting time to visit a wine region. This is when you see the grapes being harvested and to take a look behind the scenes of the new vintage.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010 Vintage Begins on Granite Belt

The first pressing of 2010 wine grapes on the Granite Belt began this week at two Ballandean wineries as part of their contract winemaking services.

On Tuesday Golden Grove Estate pressed Verdelho from Harrisville, west of Brisbane. Today, across the road, Ballandean Estate is pressing Sauvignon Blanc grapes which have been trucked in from vineyards at St. George.

Golden Grove will pick the first of the 2010 Granite Belt fruit in the third week of January. These white Muscat grapes will be made into their popular Muscadean wine. Ballandean Estate's first pick of their own grapes will be the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon in mid February.

Despite late frost and a series of hail storms earlier in the season, which have affected crop levels in some vineyards, quality is looking excellent. Across the Granite Belt veraison is occuring in the red grapes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Visitors to Granite Belt Buck Trend

A 22% in numbers through the Stanthorpe Visitor Information Centre in 2009 confirms that the impact of the Global Financial Crisis did not harm the Queensland Wine Capital.

In all, more than 43,000 people walked into the Centre last year, which represents approximately 10% of all visitors to the Granite Belt.
What's the big attraction? View the virtual tour here.