Friday, December 24, 2010

Shake rattle and bowl your way through summer showers

Things are looking a little damp outside this summer but that's no reason not to go out and have fun with your mates or the family over the holidays.  

Not every wine region can boast one of these little beauties. As the name suggests,
Shake Rattle n Bowl has ten pin bowling, but they also have an indoor play area and pool hall...and the chance to refuel with a wood fired oven pizza or something from the cafe.   It all happens in the heart of Stanthorpe town, which in itself is surrounded by dozens of wineery cellar doors - and some great national parks.  Shake Rattle n Bowl is open daily 8am-10pm but phone ahead on public holidays 07 4681 0051.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Max Allen's Future Makers include the Granite Belt

Described on Amazon as groundbreaking new work by respected wine writer Max Allen, this book will redefine Australia’s wine landscape for the new century. In his tour around the country, Max introduces you to the areas and the people shaping Australia’s wine future, including those in the Queensland wine capital.

The 400+ page hard cover book provides detailed explanations of why a region’s wines taste the way they do: a portrait of soils, climate, grape varieties and cultural influences that contribute to the singular qualities of Australia’s diverse wine styles. Max has previously described Queensland's Granite Belt as having "terroir in spades" and the chapter in this latest work shows his appreciation is undiminished.  He is also clearly a fan of the Strange Bird alternative wine trail, created by Granite Belt winemakers in 2007.

Published by Hardie Grant Books - a valuable addition to any wine library and a beautiful gift. ISBN: 9781740666619

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pruning punishment

Granite Belt vignerons have spared a thought for these poor French vineyard workers.  This photo records the plight of those pruning the vineyards of Eperney in the Champagne region this month. Photo taken by John & Denice Arlidge of Whiskey Gully Wines....from the comfort of their warm touring hire car!  Meanwhile closer to home Granite Belt grapegrowers are hoping for a somewhat dryer end to the growing season here before vintage begins in the Stanthorpe begins - typically in February.

Bush Tucker takes off in Granite Belt

Visit Stanthorpe in January where The Aussie Beef Steakhouse is introducing a special Aussie Taster plate influenced by native bush tucker.   The entree includes :
  • Grilled Crocodile skewers with Desert Lime Chutney
  • Herb crusted seared emu steak with grilled field mushrooms
  • Kangaroo, bush tomato and mountain pepper sausage with tomato relish
  • Braised wild goat and onion pie.
The steakhouse adjoins the High Street Motor Inn, both run by the Cox family. Your hosts will regale you with the story behind Akatjurra, the bush tomato harvested by the Alyawarra Aboriginal tribe and the Mountain Pepper plus all the other bush goodies.  Tucker and its tale for just $16 - this entree portion is perfect for curious tastebuds and patriots when dining on the Granite Belt.  While in the region, pop into Castle Glen and try their bush tucker in a bottle - ask for the wild plum liqueur.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

APN Gets Behind the Granite Belt

Almost 15,000 Gold Coast Mail homes will today be introduced to a little Granite Belt culture, courtesy of a new feature publication being inserted into APN newspapers.

The 16-page full colour magazine is packed with ideas for the summer holidays, for families as well as couples looking for a romantic short break in the Queensland wine capital. 

An initiative of APN's Warwick Daily News, this edition has involved collaboration with Stanthorpe based Granite Belt Wine & Tourism (GBWT). It has been distributed through Burleigh Heads, Tallebudgera, Burleigh Waters, Palm Beach, Elanora and Currumbin Waters.

GBWT's Director of Marketing Michele Cozzi has worked closely with the APN family in the past decade, saying "APN can be a very powerful promotional ally for a not-for-profit community group like ourselves. We are happy to provide the APN network with travel story ideas and images, and to host a writer who has a feature travel story commissioned." 

Stanthorpe enjoys a reputation as being the coolest place in Queensland, not surprising therefore that visitors looking to learn more can phone 1800 SO COOL or jump onto

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tune in this Saturday to 7 at 7pm

The flavour of the Granite Belt and South Burnett will star on the small screen this week in Episode 3 of Off the Eaten Track.

This four part TV feature series is a collaboration between the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) and Tourism Queensland and explores the diversity and abundance of Queensland produce.

This week features Granite Belt producers Ballandean Estate Wines, Boireann Wines, Sutton's Farm and Symphony Hill Wines, plus DPI Applethorpe viticulture specialist Mark Deegennaars. 

The four part series airs on Channel 7 and is hosted by Alastair McLeod of Ready, Steady, Cook fame, and executive chef at both Bretts Wharf restaurant, Hamilton and Tank restaurant in Brisbane.  Airing of the first two episodes have drawn strong audience tune into 7 at 7pm this Saturday to see highlights of the Queensland wine capital this week.

Encore du vin

Whiskey Gully Wines owners John and Denice Arlidge are taking advantage of the strong Aussie dollar to explore wine lists of France.You know the rest - it's a tough job but someone's got to do it!

A former ABC journo, John records their travels and their samplings on his travel blog from which you'll see they are fortifying themselves against the frosty conditions with the odd drop of vin rouge.  Meanwhile back in the land down under daughter Emily is minding the store at Whiskey Gully just south of Stanthorpe. She can't complain - Emily returned from a gap year in France earlier this year.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New gateway to the Granite Belt a Christmas Bonus

Launched in time for the start of the summer holiday is major website update to Queensland’s premier wine region.  The new site Granite Belt Wine Country provides improved functionality features include:
  • On-line booking widget and social media widget on every page
  • Most popular search categories on four main buttons
  • All visitor information on left hand navigator
  • Trade and industry information accessible from top menu
  • Front page button to find out the latest news on relevant roadworks when travelling to Stanthorpe.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Choose a Queensland gift this Christmas

Looking for something a little different this Christmas?  Here are a few home grown ideas from the Queensland wine capital. The bonus is you don't even need to leave home to make your selection from these Granite Belt goodies. Click to view and purchase.

Road Work Ahead

Traveller safety is always important and unseasonally heavy rains mean some disruption to road services will occur at Cunningham's Gap.  Main Roads is working on this section of the highway between Brisbane/Gold Coast to the Granite Belt during December.

To assist our visitors we have updates on and use the icon (right) to find further information. You'll find there: regular updates, plus an alternative route map and a link to register for free SMS updates from Main Roads on these important works.  Apologies for the inconvenience but do visit us in Stanthorpe soon where the summer fruit is in full season!

Bush tucker turned international liqueur a winner

Food Magazine’s 2010 Food Challenge Awards has awarded Highly Commended to a new product from Castle Glen Australia. The new drink adapts ‘bush tucker’ to an exotic liqueur and earned it a place in the finals for the second successive year in the alcoholic beverages section.  

Based just north of Stanthorpe, Castle Glen believes their Ooray Fermented Plum Liqueur is perhaps the first true product to originate from this endangered variety of native plum, ‘Davidsonia Jerseyana’.  This Australian indigenous fruit is sourced only from organic, sustainable growing resources with plantings increasing each year.  

The alcoholic beverages section included breweries and large corporate alcohol and beverage companies, so recognition for Castle Glen is a great achievement for the relatively small Granite Belt producer. 

Castle Glen sees strong export potential, particularly to Japan, Korea, Taiwan where the plum is much revered for its digestive qualities.