Monday, December 17, 2012

Full moon over grape harvest

ECCENTRIC Queensland winemaker Mike Hayes will harvest some of his grapes in the nude during a full moon to revive an ancient winemaking ritual. [read more]

Friday, December 14, 2012

Michelle answers the call of the land

FOR one female Ballandean farmer, working the land is more than just an income.It is a way of life, a mind set, a passion and a personal dream. For Michelle Coelli the outdoor office of Twisted Gum Wines is the perfect place to live and work. Read more at the Warwick Daily News.

Peter explores real belter of a spot in Stanthorpe region

"When I was invited back by Granite Belt Tourism this month, I really didn't know what to expect. I had noted that some of the wineries were making their mark at national shows, but if you asked me to name three Granite Belt wineries, I would have struggled. Not so any more. The wines being produced in this region stand up among the best in the land. But it was not just the quality of the wine that won my family's heart. The rugged beauty of the Stanthorpe region with granite boulders dotting the panorama as if they had cascaded out of a giant's bag of marbles gives the district a special appeal." Read more at the Gladstone Observer.

Champion Granite Belt winery tastes the fruits of its labour

"IT IS hard to decide which tastes better for champion wine maker Ray Costanzo, the taste of his wines or the sweet taste of success. Mr Costanzo and his family's Ballandean winery, Golden Grove Estate has once again taken out the top prize of Champion Small Winery at the Australian Small Winemakers Show on the weekend." Read more from The Chronicle

Golden Grove's Stunning Performance

"THE state's leading winemaker won a further five gold medals and five trophies at a national show yesterday... In a stunning performance at the Australian Small Winemakers' Show, Golden Grove's Ray Costanzo even picked up a trophy for sauvignon blanc, defeating competitors from New Zealand's fancied Marlborough region." Read more from

Monday, December 3, 2012

Summer video

Watch our newest promo video to be shown on CityCats in Brisbane over summer. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Brass Monkeys and Strange Birds; a weekend in the Granite Belt

When most Brisbanites dream of a weekend away, the Gold and Sunshine Coasts immediately come to mind. For others, it might be a trip down to Byron Bay. For me, there’s something so liberating about getting in the car and heading over the gap of the Great Dividing Range. Shooting down the Cunningham Highway last weekend, I decided to make a winter road trip to the Granite Belt, where vineyards dissect hillsides and groups of boulders clump together.

I spent the weekend in Stanthorpe, home of the legendary Apple and Grape Festival as well as some fantastic boutique wineries. So, what is there to do here? Take a guess; they don’t call it the wine region for nothing!

The Granite Belt has all the epicurean elements to make it a premium food and wine destination. With a cool climate, fertile soil and decent annual rainfall, you can expect to spend most of your time here with a glass of delicious wine. Established by Italians, the region’s original vines were planted to make sweet wines like Muscat and Sylvaner, a variety which only exists at selected wineries today. Now, the predominant grape selection includes Shiraz, Cabernet, Verdelho and Chardonnay. In an effort to reinvent its image for producing premium wines, the Granite Belt is moving away from these standard varieties and is focussing more on its alternative types. The Strange Bird Wine Trail allows you to discover over 15 of these alternative wines from Wallangarra on the New South Wales border, all the way to Mt Cotton in Queensland. And trust me; the taste of these alternative wines will remain long after the glasses are cleared.

After three hours in the car, I arrived to a sunny, yet cold day in Stanthorpe. As I shivered, cheeky kangaroos raised their heads from the depths of long grass and bursts of wattle bloomed next to bare Liquid Ambers. Winter in the Granite Belt is known as the Brass Monkey Season and although it’s freezing cold at night, the scenery is good enough to make you swear you’ll be back next weekend!

Here are four things to do in Stanthorpe during Brass Monkey Season:

Have Dinner at Shiraz Restaurant:

20 minutes from Stanthorpe, Shiraz Restaurant sits opposite Ballandean’s ‘Fruitosaurus’ on the New England Highway. Dinner is served inside a rustic tin roof house and the heating is nice and toasty. The food is well presented and delicious, especially the Queensland Scallops with white truffle oil potato, coriander pesto, leek and caviar. Yum! Shiraz is open Wednesday to Friday, for dinner and light lunches.

Morning tea at the Bramble Patch:

At the Bramble Patch, you’ll find berries by the bucket load! It’s one of those places where you can buy perfect gifts for those who love to cook. Find raspberries, strawberries, boysenberries and more in all sorts of yummy concoctions. While you’re here, try their Ice Burger, a plump layering of mixed berry sorbet, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sponge. This tastes fabulous with a hot coffee, of course! Bramble Patch is open every day, from 10am-4pm.

Markets in the Mountains:

Held every second Sunday of the month, these markets are held inside Stanthorpe’s Civic centre and spill over into the Woolworths car park. Meet locals, play with puppies and sift through mountains of second hand clothing. Try and stop yourself from buying lemon butter, jams, soaps, silk scarves and leather bags, belts and wallets.

Find your favourite Winter Wine:

There is an absolute treasure trove of wineries surrounding Stanthorpe and you could spend days exploring them all. The view from the top of Felsberg Winery is almost worth the three hour drive from Brisbane itself. Like a medieval style castle, Felsberg sits at the top of a hill that looks over Ballandean and into Stanthorpe. After a few sneaky tastings, I soaked up the sun from the top and looked down over the vines. Beautiful.

My next stop was Bungawarra winery, whose Strange Bird variety is the Gewurztraminer. Although it was delicious, I took away a bottle of Paragon- a spicy blend of Malbec, Shiraz and Cabernet. Yum! My last stop was Hidden Creek Winery, whose vines sit alongside a peaceful lake. I love a full bodied red wine, so I took away a bottle of Petit Verdot as my Strange Bird souvenir. There is nothing Petit about the flavour of this red, it’s delicious!

Other Brass Monkey activities include:
  • Biting into a steaming Apple Pie at Sutton’s Farm
  • Taking the steam train on the Warwick to the Stanthorpe Wineries Mystery Tour.
Escape to the Granite Belt while the Brass Monkey is still in season. Find your Stanthorpe Accommodation here.

writes for, a website inspiring people to book accommodation all over the world. When she’s not on the hunt for great food and wine, she’s people watching, shopping and dreaming of her next trip.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Good Food Good Guide

Where should we eat? It's a question we ask ourselves constantly when venturing to a new region.

The Brisbane Times Queensland Good Food Guide 2012 may be able to help you with your dilemma. Download the latest edition on-line and start your food discover journey.

In the Granite Belt, the guide recommends:

Vineyard Cafe - There is a good case for this being the best food in the Granite Belt...the welcome at the Vineyard Cafe is warm and the service attentive with a relaxed geniality of rural hospitality.

Shiraz - Nestled comfortably within the sprawling rooms of an old Queenslander, Shiraz juggles contemporary culture within the patina of the old building. It's something of a shrine to local wines and produce with a menu that changes constantly to meet the vagaries of the market's bounty.

The Barrel Room - Taking its name from the massive oak barrels that line the wall, scenting the room with glorious aromas of old fortified wines. Think Merlo coffee...homemade pasta, local fruits and vegetables and cured meats through to char-grilled sirloin, confit duck and saltimbocca.

The Singing Lake Cafe - It's wine fare through and through, inviting a lazy couple of hours on the spacious deck sipping Channon wines and gazing across the lake that gave rise to the moniker and the vineyards beyond.

Cellar Door Cafe - Have a tasting or settle in for a light or long lunch...with seasonally changing mains made with local produce.

And their favourite cellar doors include:

Summit Estate - A glass of one of Summit's winemaker Paola Cabezas Rhymer's award winning reds won't go astray.

Golden Grove Estate - The Costanzo family have been here since the 70s producing not just the usual sav blanc and chardonnays, Italian and Spanish varietals as well.

Hidden Creek - Beside a small man-made lake, this pretty little winery with attached cafe serves up a menu from a cheese-platter to a leisurely lunch.

Granite Belt Days Enjoyed by Qwine

Steve from QWine ventured to the Granite Belt on the June long weekend.

His latest blog notes: The recent long weekend was spent on the Granite Belt, two and a half to three hours south west of Brisbane. A magical weekend spent in the company of great friends, spectacular food and some outstanding wines.

Most would enjoy a quiet time relaxing with family; not Qwine. He was on a mission to visit as many Granite Belt wineries as possible.

The result is an impressive review list of more than 40 wines. So if you need some advice for your next wine purchase, check out his blog for some great advice.

To wet your taste buds here are a few......

Ridgemill Chardonnay 2011: This is some funky business. Winemaker Peter McGlashan excelling here. Wild ferment (my attention gained immediately!) with six months in oak. The wine was taken off lees to remove any buttery characteristics which may be imparted. Clever move as this is not your regular Chardonnay - the one some people steer clear of. This is funky and classy (12.8% abv). An intriguing nose of mustard seeds, oyster shell and toasted almonds. A delicious palate well weighted and the fruit leaping to the fore. Bottle age will help these flavours and characters develop further more. Lovely development in the ten minutes it sat in the glass. Fill your boots! $25 

Boireann Shiraz Viognier 2011: Shiraz and 5% Viognier co-fermented. A dirty yet attractive bouquet I thought with distinct minerality and pepper. These two characters flowed onto the palate coupled with juicy dark fruit flavours. A savoury element kicks in to add more interest with a long finish leaving a grip which will settle in the bottle in years to come. I'm a big fan! $35  

Summit Estate Queensland Cabernet 2009: A terrific blend made very well. Thrown in the mix with Cabernet is Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Once again, a very good colour with fragrant violets prominent. Intense concentration of blackberry fruit on the palate. A big wine yet classy with a long, lingering finish. Delish! $40  

Pyramids Road Bernies Blend 2009: An ever changing blend using the best barrels of that vintage. A barrel each of Mourvedre and Cabernet, and one being a Shiraz/Cabernet/Merlot/Mourvedre blend. Big dark fruit flavours. This blend works and then some! Not only does the fruit tie in nicely, but the mix of oak from the various barrels all play their part. Fleshy and gutsy with great length. Get some. $35 

Symphony Hill Viognier 2009: Wild ferment with two months in older oak. A bouquet of butterscotch, fleshy fruit on entry with some buttery characteristics lingering well. Not the soupy apricot nectar type of Viognier commonly found on the shelf. Very good. $30  

Hidden Creek Verdelho 2010: Stand up and take note! Fresh. Clean. Good acid. Refreshing tropical fruit with good length. Yum. A no nonsense type at a top price too. $18  

Golden Grove Barbera 2011: Very easy drinking style. Light to medium body. Some sour cherry kicking in on a soft palate with a little mouth warmth. Load this up with a pasta dish or pizza. Happy days. $20 

Ravens Croft Pinotage 2011: This is Mark's second vintage with only 600 bottles produced. Very little Pinotage is grown in Australian, whereas Pinotage is king in Mark's native South Africa, so you can see where his passion stems from. The bouquet awakens the senses. Stewed berry pudding, toffee, butterscotch and raspberry jam. Wow! A lighter palate than expected (14% abv) with soft fruit including strawberry. Grippy tannins which will soften in time but still complement the wine nicely. Well made and definitely one to keep an eye on as vintages progress. $35

Monday, June 18, 2012

Regional Romance in the Granite Belt

The latest edition of Australia's most romantic magazine, Holidays for Couples, ventures to the Granite Belt for Regional Romance.

Journalist Tiana Templeman urges us to experience the perfect mini getaway in Stanthorpe.

Queensland’s wine capital provides a welcome escape from the big smoke with plenty of cellar doors and stellar dining at country prices. Food and wine is the main attraction here so bring your appetite! 

Wine tasting is a delight at Stanthorpe as the winemakers themselves hold court at most cellar doors. Amateur aficionados can take their passion one step further at the hands-on Winemaker for a Weekend course at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism, a training college which also has an excellent restaurant specialising in local produce. 


ED note: the accommodation image is 31 the Rocks

A Second Delicious Awards Finalist Nomination Gains Attention for Mallow

For the second year running, Granite Belt's Mallow Organic Lamb has gained the attention of leading chefs and foodies, scoring a highly acclaimed Delicious Magazine Produce Awards finalist nomination.

On learning of this outstanding achievement food journalist, Fiona Donnelly, went in search of the fourth-generation wool producers, Andrew and Helen Ferrier, who are taking the organic lamb market by storm.

Quality matters at Mallow. Unlike some farms, the Ferriers don't buy in lambs so they are in complete control of the chain from conception, which assures them of quality.
Helen says even she has been surprised by the taste and tenderness of the lamb meat raised on nutrient-dense pastures.

Their distribution network is also growing. Initially it was just private orders through word of mouth and a stall at the local markets. Now their lamb is being stocked at organic butchers on the Gold and Sunshine coasts. Several Granite Belt restaurants feature the meat on their menus. The farm will also make drops to Brisbane on request.

This year's Delicious Magazine Produce Awards dinner will be held at Aria Brisbane on July 16. So keep your fingers crossed they take out the top gong!

In the meantime, Andrew tells us what to look for in organic lamb.
  • Organic pasture-fed lamb fat should have a yellow tinge and not be too white. White fat can mean the lamb has been grain-fed.
  • Lamb flesh shouldn't be too pale. If it's pale it may be "watery". If the meat is very dark it could mean you're buying hogget rather than lamb, which should be cheaper and has a stronger flavour.
  • Fat is necessary for flavour and keeping meat moist and tender while cooking. On loin chops it should be 6-8mm thick. If it's 10-12mm it's a sign the lamb is over-fat. Lamb legs need to have a decent fat cover for best roasting results.
  • You may not be able to poke at plastic-covered lamb cuts at the supermarket, so Andrew suggests buying meat from a specialist butcher where you can build the trust. Texture-wise there should be some resistance to your finger but not too much.
  • Look at the rib bones on a rack or cutlets. They should not be too thick on premium cuts - no more than 8mm in width. If they are 10mm it's a sign you could be buying hogget rather than lamb.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wendy Hall of the Courier Mail Visits Us Again

One of our favourite journos, Wendy Hall, recently visited us again. In last weekend's edition of the Courier Mail, Wendy told readers about her trip.

"It's a picture-perfect time to turn the phone off, rug up, sip some local wine by a roaring fire and fill the car boot with an assorted dozen or two. For wine lovers, this glorious little ritual is becoming as Queensland as hitting the beach in summer."

During her stay Wendy discovered Tobin Wines, who is knocking back Sydney and Melbourne restaurants because he can't keep pace with the demand for his limited edition wines...Tobin's Isabella semillon has won approval far and wide and been rated above some of the iconic Hunter labels.

With the oldest shiraz and semillon vines in Queensland, planted in the 1960s, and an immaculately managed vineyard, we understand why!

Wendy also suggested you should also add Pyramid Roads, Symphony Hill, Boireann and Summit Estate to your list when you visit. Or enjoy great Granite Belt wine at a wine event including a Symphony Hill wine dinner at Sofitel Brisbane Central on June 14 ($149, phone 3835 3535); a food and wine matching masterclass at the Barrel Room Cafe at Ballandean Estate on June 23 ($70, ph 4684 1326); and on June 26, the last chance to taste Robert Channon's early vintages of verdelho, as well as the first public tasting of the 2012, in a dinner at Brent's the Dining Experience, Toowong ($100, ph 3371 4558).

After a 'hard day' wine tasting Wendy retreated to the Vineyard Cottages and Cafe.

At the Vineyard Cottages and Cafe , you'll be sipping wine by the fire in the lounge bar before sitting down to hearty homestyle fare - think salmon and dill chowder and an earthy mushroom risotto - in the cafe housed in an old church.

The cottages, set in beautiful gardens, are just a short drive from Girraween National Park for those who want to walk up an appetite before hitting the nearby wineries for the afternoon.

Thanks Wendy...join us again soon.

For more information on the Granite Belt visit

Friday, June 8, 2012

Granite Belt Selected As A Top 20 Australian Short Break

Time poor? A short-break is the perfect way to escape the everyday.

Australian Traveller Magazine has identified the Granite Belt as one of their top 20 short breaks in the June/July edition!

Ideal for a Food and Wine short-break, journalist Alissa Jenkins says you should definitely visit the 'Gourmet Granite Belt' soon.

Why? Australia's newest food trail produces all kinds of gourmet delights: cheese, chutney, chocolate...and wine. Stop for fresh jams at The Bramble Patch in Glen Alpin, Sutton's Juice Factory and Cidery in Thulimbah and Heavenly Chocolate in Wyberba. There's the Granite Belt Dairy for cheese straight from the pasture to the plate. 

Stay in Stanthorpe's (Ed note: Ballandean) Azjure Studio Retreat's luxe studios, each with a log fire, king-size bed and reclining spa bath for two. The region's two leading restaurants, Shiraz and Vineyard Cafe, are within a two-minute drive.

Book your short break to relax, rejuvenate, reconnect...and of course indulge in food and wine now!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Prof. Tim Coelli (left) and Prof. Boris Bravo-Ureta from Chile inspect the wine cellar at Casa de Santar in Dao, Portugal.
We get so excited when our operators achieve outstanding results. Today was no exception, after the receiving the news that Tim Coelli, from Twisted Gum Wines (who is still in a mild state of shock) scooped the award for the best research paper at the 2012 Annual Conference of the European Association of Wine Economists (EuAWE).

The 29th annual conference was held in the city of Viseu, in the beautiful wine region of Dao in Portugal last week (May 30 to June2).  (Ed note - sounds wonderful!)

The title of the award winning paper was “The Technical Efficiency of Wine Grape Growers in the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia”, which was joint work with Orion Sanders from the Australian Bureau and Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES).  The study was motivated by a desire to look at the capacity for these irrigated wine grape producers to improve their performance in the face of the growing pressures from reduced grape prices and increased water prices.

The study uses ABARES survey data to estimate statistical production frontiers so that they can measure the technical inefficiency of wine grape growers (performance gaps between average and best producers), scale economies (to determine the best farm size) and the degree to which water is being used in an economically optimal way. 

Tim, an Adjunct Professor of Economics at the University of Queensland, takes a very 'hands-on' approach to research. With wife Michelle (an agricultural scientist), he owns and operates Twisted Gum Wines, a boutique Granite Belt wine producer that specializes in the production of single vineyard, dry grown (unirrigated) wines.

Their vineyard management features the extensive use of mulching and careful canopy management, which has begun to reap dividends with their wines receiving a number of awards in recent years, from Winestate Magazine and the Royal Queensland Wine Show, among others.

Passionate about continually improving viticulture methods, Tim spoke highly of the EuAWE conference.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to hear up to date and informed insights from speakers from many of the top wine producing countries, including France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Chile and the USA.  Plus the study tour to Dao vineyards and wineries was of particular interest to me, since the Dao region is very similar to the Granite Belt region in Australia, with high altitude and granite soils producing stylish food friendly wines in both regions,” he said.

For further information, see

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Warm Up With Stunning New Red Wine Releases

Wow, it's cold.

To keep you warm today, we bring you a range of stunning new red wine releases. They'll warm the cockles of your heart!

2010 Boireann Le Cima Granite Belt Barbera: Boireann has certainly lifted its skirts with this very different, a la mode label design; the grapes come from the Golden Grove Vineyard; the wine matches the label, bright, lively and juicy, with pure red cherry fruit, intriguing acidity, and the finest possible tannins. Absolutely ready to go. The points are given within the context of the style. 94 points - James Halliday Wine Companion Magazine June/July 2012.

2009 Sirromet Wild Granite Belt Nebbiolo: Has the usual light colour; can only be appreciated in the context of Nebbiolo, tasted blind most likely to be castigated for premature development and lack of fruit, in fact it has rose petal and spices and a silky smooth and long palate, tannis barely perceptible. 90 points - James Halliday Wine Companion Magazine June/July 2012.

2010 Boireann Granite Belt Shiraz Mourvedre: Good colour, although not as intense as that of the Shiraz; the typically fragrant bouquet leads into a medium-bodied palate, Shiraz and Mourvedre taking turns to express their respective personalities. Gives every indication it will flourish in the years ahead. 94 points- James Halliday Wine Companion Magazine June/July 2012.

2009 Ridgemill Estate Pedigree Granite Belt Cabernet Malbec Merlot: A huge, inky style with masses of oak, powerful ripe fruit and high level of acid. Cellar for 5 years. Three stars - Winestate Magazine May/June 2012.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Your Winter Escape - Be Cool and Join us for Brass Monkey Season

It's here! Winter is colloquially our Brass Monkey Season; frosty mornings, beautiful crisp clear days, the bare trace of winter trees trimmed with frost, and cosy evenings with a glass of red in front of an open fire.

Stanthorpe is the coolest (make that coldest) place in Queensland, and it’s the winter chill in the Granite Belt that has earned the season its nickname.

June, July and August is the busy season in the Granite Belt and Stanthorpe, as visitors come to enjoy a crackling log fire, slow cooked food, and sensational winter reds. Plus, there is always the prospect - or hope - of snow and the first reports bring media and visitors flocking to the region.

Our new Winter Guide provides a plethora of Brass Monkey activities for you to experience. It's about relaxing, reconnecting, and rejuvenating. So be cool, and join us in the Granite Belt this Brass Monkey Season.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Boireann Named in James Halliday's 20 Great Reds

Boireann, another vintage, another accolade - this Granite Belt winery continues to shine on a national scale.

The latest James Halliday Wine Companion Magazine (June/July 2012 edition) has sung its praise, selecting their 2010 Shiraz in James Halliday's personal list of 20 Great Reds.

In choosing these 20 red wines, I was not attempting to combine a list of the greatest red wines that have been released in the last six or so months, simply 20 great wines. You will also see they come from many different regions including Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, Geographe, Granite Belt, Heathcote, Hunter Valley, Margaret River, McLaren Vale, Mudgee and the Yarra Valley.

The 2010 Boireann Granite Belt Shiraz was described as:

The vivid purple-crimson colour does not deceive; this is yet another beautifully balanced, beautifully structured shiraz from Boireann, astute selection of fruit from across the Granite Belt conjured by the inspired winemaking of Peter Stark into a wine sitting comfortably with the best wines of the southern and western states.

With only a limited quantity of this superb wine available, be sure to secure a bottle or two soon. For further information visit our website.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Taking on Barolo - Lirah's Nebbiolo Shines

In the words of wine writer Ken Gargett, "who would of thought that a small patch of dirt on Queensland's Granite Belt could come up with something that great producers in Barolo find mythical?"

That is exactly what Ian Henderson of LiraH, son-in-law of Angelo Puglisi (the Godfather of Queensland wine), has achieved.

Known in the southern hemisphere as Christmas wine (the grapes stay on the vines until Christmas), late-ripening Piedmont grape Nebbiolo is an exceptionally rare and eagerly-sought wine.

Since 2005, after a trip to Europe, Ian has tackled the challenge of producing a winter harvest Nebbiolo with excellent results. So impressive, one rep from a Barolo winery mistaken believed that it was made by his employer, and told that them how pleased he was with it.

Congrats Ian. Read the full article in the April/May edition of Gourmet Traveller Wine.

Leading NZ Wine Journalist Comes in Search of the Strange Bird

Our little Strange Birdie has stirred the interest of journos since its inception five years ago. Last week was no exception, with leading New Zealand wine journalist, John Saker venturing to the Granite Belt eager to sample our Strange Bird alternative wines.

John has all the credentials - not only the head wine writer for NZ's Sunday Star Times, he is also a columnist for the acclaimed Cuisine Magazine. And in his spare time John is a wine judge and author, with his book Celebration of and Guide to New Zealand's Pinot Noir a required read for the wine aficionado.

Invited to Noosa Food and Wine Festival by Tourism Australia (thank you!), John insisted part of his stay included a visit to nearby Granite Belt Wine Country.

Jim Barnes (our wine chair) met up with John at Shiraz Restaurant to discuss the formation of Strange Bird, and the growing popularity of alternative varieties in the region. (pictured left)

John's stay also included a visit to Boireann, Summit Estate, Tobin Wines, Symphony Hill, Golden Grove and Ballandean Estate, plus overnight at the Vineyard Cafe and Cottages where he enjoyed more Strange Birds.

Stay tuned for his article, as we look forward to more visitors from the land of the long white cloud.

Ed note: a special thanks also to Tourism Queensland and the RTO

Monday, May 28, 2012

We can talk about our love for the Granite Belt every day..make that every minute of every hour!

But nothing we say can ever come close to an unbiased opinion from one of our recent visitors. That's why we love Tripadvisor!

“Very Pleasantly Surprised”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2012

Last visited the Granite Belt ten years ago and to be quite honest the wine was very average and there were only a few quality places to eat.

We visited again recently and I can honestly say that I was astonished at the changes. 

So many quality wineries with first class wine. Restaurants abound with tasty choices and beautiful locations. The fresh produce was outstanding.

Can't wait to return.

Why don't you discover what our gorgeous region has to offer

Getting Married?

Spend your special day in the stunning Granite Belt wine region.

Our new 72-page guide offers brides and grooms-to-be a comprehensive planning companion for a fairy-tale wedding.

Inspirational photography showcases the unique opportunities available, seamlessly revealing all that is magical about the Granite Belt and why it is the perfect destination for a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.

The new wedding guide allows you to see a sample of what this captivating, intimate region has to offer, and provides a plethora of ideas for the perfect day.

Our award winning vineyards create an amazing backdrop that is not easily forgotten.

The Granite Belt Wedding Guide includes the following information for brides- and grooms-to-be:
  •     traditional and alternative wedding venues
  •     regional produce, restaurants and cafes
  •     vineyards and wineries
  •     honeymoon options
  •     accommodation
  •     group stays
  •     flowers, stationery and more.

It is available online in flipbook format or pdf download at

This is where elevated memories are made!

Stunning Granite Belt thanks to photographer Cory Rossiter

Monday, May 21, 2012

Getting Photographic - Autumn Capers

Last week on the Granite Belt we were busy capturing the last days of Autumn!

Local children showed us how much fun it was to play in fallen golden leaves, while the adults savoured fresh produce and wine amongst the vines at Bungawarra Wines in Ballandean.

Images by fabulous local photographer, Cory Rossiter.

Don't you wish you were here!!!

(PS - A big thank you must also go to our fantastic models)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Granite Belt on par with Barossa!

We are loving a recent Noosa Grapevine article by Martin Field, Noosa Today Newspaper.

Quote: Before moving from Melbourne to Noosa in 2007 I had rarely tasted Queensland wines...... A trip to the Granite Belt introduced me to the produce of Queensland's most famous wine region and I thought some of the wines there, especially the reds, were easily on par with classic styles from the Barossa and Victoria's Bendigo region.

His favourites wineries include - Summit Estate, Sirromet, Hidden Creek, and Robert Channon Wines!

Thanks Martin

Friday, May 4, 2012

David Costello of the Courier Mail went food fossicking in the Granite Belt recently. His favourite finds included:

Sue Ingall uses a food processor to get the tiny, diced vegetables that make her zucchini relish famous throughout the Granite Belt and beyond. The ingredients are lightly cooked and still firm, which adds a lovely texture on the palate. Serve with ham, cheese or stir through scrambled eggs. Another Ingall special is greengage plum jam made from a closely guarded tree in a secret location.

Granite Belt Dairy
Roscoe and Karen have split the jobs at their Granite Belt dairy. He tends and milks the Jersey cows while she makes rich, golden cheeses. This Brass Monkey Blue uses both standard cultures plus "penicillium roqueforti", which give the cheese its blue-green hues. The result is a creamy, complex product with a pleasant finish.

Heavenly Chocolate
Alba Conti makes clay pots and delightful chocolates at Wisteria Cottage near Stanthorpe. She got the chocolate bug while visiting her Argentinian homeland ski resorts a few years back. Conti uses Belgian couverture and local ingredients to make elegant pralines, including cabernet truffles and Heavenly lemon myrtles. (Ed note: closed until further notice)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Ultimate Granite Belt Food + Wine Mag Is Now Online

The must-have guide for Granite Belt food and wine lovers is here!

The Granite Belt Food + Wine Magazine showcases the very best food and wine product in the region.

Discover what's on offer in the Granite Belt from the paddock, pantry and plate in a fun, easy to read, and enticing way.

Learn about the Granite Belt's organic producers; one of Australia's largest, premium vinegar producers; the region's European influences; and a stunning Shiraz that took Royal Melbourne Wine Show's top gold.

It also includes some mind-blowing recipes, from scrumptious apple muffins to the decadence of Cavolo Nero. The recipes use local ingredients, offering quality that won’t be appearing on supermarket shelves any time soon.

The Granite Belt celebrates life by the seasons, and this magazine will show you how to be a part of that from Spring-time Primavera, to the famous upcoming Brass Monkey winter season.

Read the online flipbook or download the 118 page annual magazine at

Monday, April 30, 2012


We've turned pink for May to celebrate Opera in the Vineyard's 20th year, and of course Mother's Day.

Opera in the Vineyard, 6 May, is one of South East Queensland's premier cultural events, and the jewel of the Granite Belt's social calendar.

This year, the program looks amazing and Opera Queensland is proud to announce the artists as Ms Emma Matthews, Mr Virgilio Marino and Mr Andrew Collis, all of whom have performed extensively around the world.

Once again, the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane will be one of the main beneficiaries of the event's proceeds, with almost $350 000 being donated to date.

Why not make this your year to experience the wonderful and magical Opera in the Vineyard at Ballandean!


As the temperature begins to drop in the Granite Belt the action heats up, with an array of other events also on offer including:
  • Barrel Room Cafe's Opera Eve Degustation Dinner - 5 May
  • Art in the Mill - 4-7 May 
  • Robert Channon Wines Bold as Brass Concert - 5 May
  • Stonemasons Workshop at Girraween Environmental Lodge - 7-10 May
  • Ravens Croft Wines 1920s World Class Wine Dinner - 12 May
  • Graphite Stone and Wood Exhibition - until 24 May.
You can also spoil your mum for Mother's Day (13 May) with a range of options on offer:

Tempt mum's tastebuds with a three-course Mother's Day luncheon at the Vineyard Cafe. Featuring Ballandean mushroom risotto, saltwater barramundi and Granite Belt apple tart, the sumptuous lunch menu includes wine and is just $65 per person ($55 for seniors). Contact

You can also celebrate Mother's Day with a scrumptious seasonal menu at the Cellar Door Cafe. Breakfast from 9am or lunch from 12.30pm. Receive a handmade Washpool Farm Soap gift from Mum with each booking.

Hidden Creek Winery is offering a special 3-course Mother's Day lunch for only $36. Enjoy succulent parmesan rusted lamb cutlets and more.

Or enjoy a luscious lilting lunch of lazy tunes and jazzy croons for Mother's Day with Aperitif and Teri Welles in the Singing Lake Cafe, Robert Channon Wines. $10 cover charge per person with lunch.

Click here to read more!

So this May, make sure you enjoy great music, wine, art, and of course, great mothers!

Monday, April 23, 2012

This May, Create Your Own Masterpiece in the Serene Surrounds of Girraween!

Always wanted to have those fantastic stone creations in your garden; an amazing creative stone carved path, stone water feature or a beautiful hand-carved piece?

In the serene surrounds of the Granite Belt bushland, near Girraween National Park, spend your days learning the artistry involved in the ancient craft of stone masonry.

Girraween Environmental Lodge, a four-star luxury resort, is offering a 4-day course with renowned Stonemason, Daniel Gill.

With his exceptional training skills, Daniel is able to show and guide you into being able to create your very own masterpiece to take home and continue to create at home.

Your exclusive package includes:
• 2 full day workshops & 2 half days
• All equipment and tools for workshop
• 3 Nights Accommodation at Girraween Environmental Lodge
• 3 Dinners including transfers to & from restaurant
• Morning and Afternoon tea facilities
• Breakfast baskets for duration of your stay
• Full use of the resort and facilities including our beautiful outdoor spa & plunge pools + few additional extras

Date: 7-10 May 2012
Cost: $1990 per person (any additional guest staying with a workshop participant stays accommodation FOC) Or $1440 per person, twin share


Learn more here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Granite Belt + Shiraz Restaurant Receive More Accolades

When most of us take break, we switch off and do nothing! But not the ultra-professional, Des Houghton, of the Courier Mail.

We caught up with Des, when he was holidaying with family, and his mind couldn't stop thinking about work. And for that we are very grateful; because the result is a fabulous review in last week's Qweekend magazine.

When describing Ballandean in the Granite Belt, Des exclaims, "I can't keep away from the place. It is a meandering food and wine trail set among vineyards, orchards, streams and weird prehistoric rock formations. It's Queensland's very own Tuscany or Alsace."

During his stay Des paid a visit to Shiraz Restaurant + Wine Bar; a place he believes is worth a visit for its wonderful wine list alone. But the food also caught his attention!

"We devoured quality plates of food from a disciplined kitchen that knew exactly what it was doing."

Thanks Des. Next time you visit we promise we won't make you work. But then again, is enjoying wonderful food and wine actually a job!

Monday, April 16, 2012

This Weekend Ryn and Cordie Join Us Elevated Taste - Grazing the Granite Belt

Ryn and Cordie are joining us this weekend for Elevated Taste - Grazing the Granite Belt. Have you got your tickets?

A progressive-type long-lunch through the region; seven of the Granite Belt's leading wineries will offer signature dishes perfectly matched with wine including:

  • Spicy lamb cutlet w/ warm Greek salad + Moroccan couscous matched w/ 2011 Jester Hill 2 Fools Cabernet Rosé
  • Duck + venison sausage w/ vine-ripened tomato salad + onion jam matched w/ 2006 Whiskey Gully Rep Red blend
  • Prosciutto wrapped, baked local Amiens figs stuffed w/ goat cheese served over balsamic dressed rocket matched w/ 2009 Robert Channon Pinot Gris
  • Decadent white chocolate + poached pear torte w/ raspberry coulis + vanilla ice cream w/ 2005 Ballandean Estate Late Harvest Sylvaner

It doesn’t matter where you start or finish; you can visit one winery or seven.

There are two Granite Belt Graze pass options available; Self Graze ($58) or, for those who don't want to drive, the Grazing Bus ($93). On Saturday, the Grazing Buses will pick-up (and return) from Stanthorpe and the main villages in Granite Belt, visiting each venue approximately every 35-45 minutes.

Both passes include a Granite Belt elevated tasting glass, food tasting plate vouchers and wine vouchers.  Event goers will also receive a Grazing Passport - make a purchase at any participating winery cafe, get the grazing passport stamped and go into draw to win a mixed dozen of Granite Belt wines.

We promise award winning wine, gourmet local produce and fabulous entertainment; so get some friends together and experience a weekend you won’t forget!

Book your tickets here!

This event is part of the A+ Australian Wine Celebration - a unique occasion for Australians to celebrate the great wine created in their own backyard, as well as the people and places whom provide an authenticity and diversity unlike any other wine producing nation in the world.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Australian Traveller Magazine names Granite Belt A Wine Region You Must Visit Now!

The Granite Belt, Mudgee, King Valley, Great Southern, and Clare Valley are wine writer for Australian Traveller Magazine, Greg Duncan Powell's, choice for wine regions you must visit now!

Duncan Powell notes, "'s become a favourite getaway for Queenslanders who want to pretend they're Victorians and experience the exquisite thrill of wearing an overcoat while tasting a hearty red."

We are not sure we Queenslanders want to pretend to be Victorians but we certainly enjoy experiencing the winter chill and a fabulous red!

"...Cabernet Sauvignon is brilliant but don't forget to try the Mourvedre Shiraz."

His favourite wineries in the region included Golden Grove, Hidden Creek, Symphony Hill, Just Red, Boireann, Robert Channon and Rumbalara.

For further information visit or pick up a copy of the mag from your local news-agency now!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Shiraz Restaurant + Wine Bar Makes RM Williams Outback Magazine Top 25

The secret is out! For the past four years, Granite Belt locals have known about the delectable fare served at Shiraz Restaurant + Wine Bar in Ballandean. This knowledge has now gone national with the restaurant selected as one of RM Williams Outback Magazine's Top 25 Great Australian Outback Food Adventures.

Outback is probably pushing the description, but there is no doubt that owners John and Jen Rogers operator one of the region's leading restaurants.

Journalist Cathy Finch notes, "Four years down the track, John and Jen's hard work is reaping rewards in their 40-set restaurant Shiraz. Surrounded by rolling hills and heavily laden vineyards, Shiraz is loved by locals (Ed note: yes we agree!) and tourists alike. John is known for embracing a simple, modern Australian style and utilising an abundance of local produce."

In the four page article, John sings the praise of our local produce; its consistency and taste described as phenomenal.

Readers will also enjoy one of his signature recipes - Organic Rack Lamb (Mallow Organic Lamb, of course!), with Fresh Figs and Potato Rosti (using Lirah Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar). And John suggests you serve it with a Pyramids Road Shiraz.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Granite Belt wineries make Gourmet Traveller's Top Cellar Doors' List

This month, Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine discovered Australia's Top Cellar Doors (see April/May edition). Included in the illustrious mix were three Queensland wineries; Granite Belt's Robert Channon Wines and Summit Estate, plus Granite Belt wine producing Sirromet.

Robert Channon was described as, "this boutique winery has gone from strength to strength, establishing a reputation for Australia's best Verdelho, from their immaculate vineyard." Standout wine: 2011 Robert Channon Verdelho

Not to be outdone, Summit Estate earned praise with, "Recent years have seen the winery take on a special feel, with winemaker, Paola Cabezas Rhymer, making some of the best wines in the region." Standout wine: 2009 Summit Estate Alto Tempranillo.

Closer to home, recently the Courier Mail selected the Best five wineries of southeast Queensland. Scoring a top gong was the latest winner of Queensland's Best Cellar Door Award, Ballandean Estate; and once again, Sirromet and Summit Estate.  

CM Life wineries cover 650
The Granite Belt will be the scene of some exciting mototrials action on the May long weekend (6-7th) when the Logan River Mototrials Club come to town.

The two-day event, to be held on a Nundubbermere Rd property near Stanthorpe, will include riders aged seven to 82 years.

It's all about finesse and love for the lightweight bikes.

For further information visit Stanthorpe's Border Post

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Granite Belt Vines Go Aerial

Over Easter the lucky got to witness some awesome dirt biking skills from Tyrone and Jed.

We love how all these fab images from Justjack72 have the vines in the background. It's certainly a unique view!

To see more visit Justjack72 on Flickr.

Thanks Jack!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

This Easter Discover Girraween National Park

Easter is about the great outdoors, camping, nature and of course, lots of chocolate.

Girraween and Wyberba in the Granite Belt offer all of  the above and much more. Check out these images by local photographic guru Cory Rossiter for inspiration!