Thursday, April 29, 2010

Red Carpet for Postcards Australia

Hot on the heels of a recent film crew from Queensland's premier travel TV programme, this morning Postcards Australia flew into Stanthorpe aerodrome.

They are the latest media to run with the story on the new fly-in tours to the Queensland wine capital being offered by Sunshine Aviation out of Archerfield in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

Moments after the red carpet was rolled out again, Granite Belt Wine & Tourism's Michele Cozzi popped the cork on a chilled bottle of local sparkling Chardonnay.  The activity was all to celebrate the landing of Win TV's top rated national travel show.  The film crew were here to film a six minute segment for series two of the hit show.

This was the first visit to the Queensland wine capital for presenter Susie Elelman, who said the ground temperature made her realise why the Granite Belt has a reputation as the coolest place in Queensland. Shortly after the aircraft landed Susie did a telephone interview with a Brisbane radio station who were also keen to report the new charter air service.

Susie and the film crew, together with pilot Cheryl Arentz were whisked off by tour bus for a day's filming throughout the region.  The story will broadcast nationally later in the winter.  [pictured from left: Michele Cozzi, Cheryl Arentz, Susie Elelman and Martin Weaver]

Thursday, April 22, 2010

David Dines with Goliath

The University of Queensland chose hand-crafted wines from a boutique Stanthorpe producer to celebrate its 100th birthday.

In choosing wine from Twisted Gum Wines, the grand old dame of higher education in the sunshine state appears to have recognised that good wines, like a good education, combine technical excellence with a passion to perform.

The Granite Belt winery was asked to supply their 2009 Chardonnay and 2008 Shiraz/ Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wines were served at a special lunch on 16th April as part of the University's Centenary Celebrations.  More than 300 guests joined the Vice Chancellor and the Governor of Queensland for the occasion.

The Granite Belt winery owners Tim and Michelle Coelli said the inclusion of their wines "provides an excellent example of how the quality of Queensland wines is now widely accepted."  The wines can also be found in Brisbane restaurants Cha Cha Char and Hillstone and in Toowoomba at Veraison and The Downs Club.

National First For Wine College

In establishing a training program for indigenous trainees, the Queensland College of Wine Tourism (QCWT) has created another industry first.

With support from State and Commonwealth governments, trainees from the Granite Belt and South Burnett regions will undertake a Certificate II in Food Processing [Wine] whilst working with a host employer.

The college offers the rare combination for a training facility with its own vineyard, winery and cellar door; the Banca Ridge Bistro plus a conference and function centre.  The college is situated just outside the Stanthorpe CBD in the Queensland wine capital.

This particular program is believed to be a national wine industry first and offers the ten trainees with real experience with specialised training in a relatively short time. For information telephone Tim Pellatt on 07 4685 5050.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Early interest in new flight service

Within hours of the first charter service into Stanthorpe aerodrome yesterday, the phone has been ringing from those wanting to avoid road travel.

Brisbane and Sunshine Coast residents wanting to take to the skies are seen as the obvious target market for a short break holiday.  But there's been early interest in the corporate sector - within the space of an hour two calls were received by medical profession.  They see the 35 minute flight time from Archerfield as being a much more cost-effective way of sharing expertise with the Granite Belt, than having someone sit behind the wheel for hours at a time.

Granite Belt locals too are keen to make use of the service to fly out for a short break of a different kind so early indications are that Sunshine Aviation's initiative to provide a charter service to the Queensland wine capital may prove profitable for all.

The first TV film and media crew visited this week on the first flight. The story will now air on Channel 7s Queensland Weekender programme on Saturday 5 June.  Chocks away!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fly In Wine Tours

It's hard to keep a secret in a country town, but we managed to do just that prior to the arrival of flight one this morning into Stanthorpe.  Sunshine Aviation today launched its charter air service into the Granite Belt.  The secrecy surrounding the first passengers was lifted when a film crew and travel writer stepped onto the red carpet.  They were greeted with a chilled glass of sparkling wine - Granite Belt wine of course!

The company anticipates its new charter service from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast will appeal to holiday makers wanting to take a short break in the Queensland wine capital.  Local business people expect the service will benefit more than just the tourist sector with prospective tree change investors being amongst those who will likely use the service.

The first flight from Brisbane's Archerfield airport touched down at Stanthorpe Aerodrome just before 10am today Wednesday 14 April 2010.  The media party will spend two days in the region, living through what would be a typical two day fly-in fly-out short break.  The visit marks the first of a series of media famils. intended to spread the word about the new service.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Grand Old Dame of Ballandean Turns 100

It has been a shop and a suite of flats, but for the past 13 years of her life, she's been a much loved guesthouse for visitors to the Queensland wine capital.  Nestled in the rolling vineyards of the Granite Belt, the buiLding now known as Ballandean Lodge celebrates her 100th this month.

Originally located at 61 Wood Street in Warwick, the traditional Queensland tongued and grooved building was a feature for shoppers to Warwick during the 1900s. For grocery shopping, it was either the last shop, or the first shop in the town, depending on which way you were travelling. 

Then the building made a journey of her own and today she's all about pleasure.  The house was moved 80kms south to its present site in 1997 and lovingly restored to provide three en-suited rooms for visitors.  It changed hands again in 2006 when Seattle residents Steve & Rebecca Trow found it online as ideal for an international tree change.  The couple has developed a successful tourism venture - the perfect Stanthorpe accommodation, which co-habits alongside Steve's mistress - his onsite sound recording studio.

Happy 100th birthday Ballandean Lodge!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Booze Bus Rocks into Town

Wine and dining in the Queensland wine capital has never been so easy.

A complimentary bus service is the latest item on the menu for diners at The Rocks Restaurant just outside Stanthorpe. It's the obvious way to get around any wine region - particularly after a day of wine tasting. The restaurant, which adjoins Honeysuckle Cottages, has also just imported new chefs Paul White and Deb Thurlow.

From 1st April, visitors to the Granite Belt can have free door to door service between their Stanthorpe accommodation and The Rocks Restaurant which is gearing itself up for the tourist influx during the peak Brass Monkey season.

Originally from the UK Paul has extensive international experience, most recently in New Zealand before moving to Ballina in Northern NSW. His partner Deb trained in Sydney and will focus on front of house at The Rocks, ensuring a warm and friendly atmosphere in the restaurant nestled amongst the granite rocks. Paul is keen to incorporate local wine and food produce into the menu.

The Rocks Restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday, bookings essential for bus transfers. And if that's too much trouble you can always stay onsite in the Honeysuckle Cottages.