Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not Quite Nigella's Granite Belt Debut

Despite her petite frame, the lady's appetite is as voracious as her work output. Not Quite Nigella (NQN)  is the alter ego of Lorraine Elliott who made her debut visit to the Granite Belt recently.  She was one of five visiting food writers invited to the Queensland wine capital by Tourism Queensland as part of a campaign to share the sunshine state's wine and food offerings with a wider audience.

So join NQN on her culinary tour of Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt region and read about her experiences, In this first edition she writes about samplings at Suttons Juice, Summit and Tobin Estates, the delights of Shiraz and Vineyard Cafe restaurants and then she bunked down in the luxury of Olive Grove Estate ...take me there now

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

T2 on the Rocks - a Stanthorpe secret

So you think T2 on the rocks is a cocktail?

Sorry chaps, it is actually code for respected freelance lifestyle writer Tiana Templeman's recent visit to 31 the Rocks on the Granite Belt.

Tiana was one of five lifestyle writers invited to the Queensland wine capital by Tourism Queensland.  Three days of eating and drinking their way around Stanthorpe was a tough gig, but the all female group was up to the challenge.  Tiana's fancy was taken by her accommodation hosts at 31 the Rocks - you can read more about Tiana's visit here

Monday, March 28, 2011

Artist Showcase on the Granite Belt

The Granite Belt has long been home to bush poets, painters, sculptors and metal workers of varying styles and abilities all of whom need a place to display their talents and creations.

Autumn and Winter 2011 showcase nature's splendid time of change - the leaves turn golden, wines mature and for beginning this year , Winds of Change blow through. New kid on the block, the talented folk at Nest Gallery have been hosting their own unique display of seasonal works from local artists.  As the curtains draw to a close on an earlier installment, Faces and Places, it is time to reveal their next contemporary collection: Winds of Change.

Opening Saturday 2 April Winds of Change will run until the end of winter with a series of art workshops being held throughout autumn and the Brass Monkey Season. For more information on this and other workshops please see the Nest Gallery website.

Staying in the Granite Belt this Autumn also puts you into the draw to win two tickets to the popular public tasting of the annual Australian Small Winemakers Show in October. For more information head over to our Granite Belt Gold page.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Shows Not Over Till...

Another season of gold has begun on the Granite Belt and with it, the annual Opera in the Vineyard. In years past Ballandean Estate has put on an iconic and memorable event filled with wine, food and of course Opera and as we know, Italians don't break tradition.

On the line up this year; Queensland Opera, Milica Ilic (Soprano), Brad Daley (Tenor) and Jose’ Carbo (Baritone). Performances include The Girl of the Golden West, Tosca, The Barber of Seville and Of Mice and Men.
“It is very exciting to host Opera Queensland this year and the artists appearing are the best of an amazing line up of performers. As usual, guests to the Opera will be treated to some amazing performances.” ethuses Angelo Puglisi owner of  Ballandean Estate.
Autumn on the Granite Belt also means great accommodation deals. Enjoy your stay with a complementary bottle of gold medal wine with participating operators, see Granite Belt Wine Country for more information or to make your booking.  The bonus is that everyone who books a Granite Belt Gold deal will go into the draw for two free tickets to the popular public tasting of the annual Australian Small Winemakers Show in October.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Azjure beds down with the nation's finest

From the architecture to the linen and everything in between Azjure Studio Retreat is not your typical bush holiday offering. And that's official according to the judges of this year's Australian Tourism Awards. 

The Stanthorpe based retreat - nestled amongst Queensland's top wineries - has twice romped home in the Queensland Awards Deluxe Accommodation category.  This year the exclusive property was also highly commended in the national final.  On present form, if they compete again next year, owners Cathryn Leigh and Ross Bloore may have to extend their trophy cabinet.  But for now they've said:  “We’re very excited to receive this recognition at the national level. The Australian Tourism Awards are the nation’s top tourism honours, so this really puts Granite Belt accommodation on the map.”  Well done you!

Granite Belt home to Golden Gumleaf artist

Stanthorpe based Jack Drake is no stranger to bush poetry or awards. He's just added another bit of bling to his collection. (Do bush poets have bling or gongs?)

Semantics aside, Jack's CD ‘Australian Bush Poetry Classics’, won a Golden Gumleaf Award at the 2011 Tamworth Country Music Festival.  for Album of the Year 2011.  Great timing as there's more gold on offer in the Granite Belt this autumn - gold medal wine that is:

Granite Belt Strikes Gold

The former tin mining town of Stanthorpe has not actually struck gold, but local tourist operators are offering gold (gold medal wines) to visitors who book a short break during autumn. Read more or...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Opera Queensland kicks off the concert year at Robert Channon Wines this Saturday March 26 when their Young Artists kick up their heels with an afternoon of favourite opera and music theatre. These are the rising stars who develop successful careers in opera houses around the world. At just $20/adult for concert and a glass of wine it's got to be the best value this autumn!

Book now 4683 3260 and extend the pleasure with lunch in their  Singing Lake CafĂ© and enjoy chef Leisa Gillham's new Autumn menu.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Granite Belt seeks new Director of Marketing

Granite Belt Wine & Tourism (GBWT) today announced they're looking for a new Director of Marketing. Four years after creating the Granite Belt Wine Country brand the self-proclaimed brand Nazi - Michele Cozzi - plans to return to the UK to settle in Gloucestershire.

It's time for a younger, newer model is how Michele presents the opportunity of a great challenge with a great group of people. Working in the coolest place in Queensland with their top boutique wine and food producers is not all bad she says.  Learn more about the vacancy online but be quick because applications close 5pm March 25 2011 see Granite Belt Wine Country

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Elevated Taste from the Granite Belt

It's only 10th March but good news of Granite Belt wines - the whites in particular - is coming in thick and fast this month. 

First cab of the rank was Robert Channon Wines whose highly acclaimed Verdelho recently made it to the top table at a parliamentary lunch in the nation's capital. Then news that at 35,000 feet you can now enjoy Ballandean Estate's Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (SSB) which has just been included on the in-flight menu of Qantas. Across the road today at Golden Grove Estate, they're also toasting their SSB (the 2010) which has just picked up a cool 5 stars (or 94 points) from James Halliday in his March tasting.

These and other great Granite Belt wines will be available at Granite Belt Flavours at South Bank this Sunday 10-4.

With the whites gaining such recognition, looks like Sommeliers Queensland are in for a treat when they host their special taste of the Granite Belt in Brisbane next month.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Heaven is a placed called Stanthorpe

The Granite Belt's first and only bodycare, facecare and soap producer is now smack bang in the middle of town.

Pure Heaven was established in 2003 by Maria and Justin Heaven, producers of boutique organic beauty products.  The business was located on the Stanthorpe bypass but the success of the venture means the Heavens have had to relocate the business to new premises at 145 High Street, Stanthorpe.

The former florist shop has been reinvented as a slice of Heaven where visitors can test all Pure Heaven’s locally made body care, face care and soaps, seven days a week.  Image courtesy Stanthorpe Border Post.

Granite Belt's Road to Recovery

Floods may come, droughts may go, but for Stanthorpe the show goes on in the world of tourism destination marketing.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Take your tastebuds on a tour at South Bank

It is not every day you can take a walk in the park and bump into a Master of Wine, but that's the rare treat for wine enthusiasts at South Bank next weekend.

Andrew Corrigan MW will present four free sessions throughout the day as part of the Granite Belt Flavours event at South  Bank on Sunday 13 March.  Andrew's wine appreciation marquee will 30 others showcasing Stanthorpe's top wine and food producers. Product sampling and sales, plus live entertainment will add to a good day out on the lawns of Little Stanley Street.

Get on your bike, catch a bus or ferry and see you there 10am to 4pm. Check out the full list of participants for Sunday 13 March.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Foodies enjoy last of the summer wine

Five food writers crossed the Great Dividing Range to work their way through more than a dozen Granite Belt menus and wine lists last weekend.

It was a tough job but those up for the challenge were Kerry Heaney, Tiana Templeman, Lorraine Elliott and Jenna Cairney (L to R here) with Vineyard Cafe Chef David Black and winemaker Adrian Tobin. Out of range was Wendy Hall.

The visit provided a fitting end for the last weekend of summer in the Queensland wine capital. The group spent three days criss crossing the Granite Belt and by all accounts returned home well fed and watered with memory chips full of images.  The food writers famil to Stanthorpe was organised by Tourism Queensland as part of its current publicity push to let Australians know we are open for business.  I'll drink to that!