Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Our FAB FEB HOT DEAL campaign starts tomorrow!

During February, Granite Belt tourism operators are offering fabulous deals on accommodation, tours, attractions and more. So grab yourself a bargain by visiting www.granitebeltwinecountry.com.au

February is the perfect month to visit the Granite Belt – our trees and vines are laden with fruit, and our vineyards and food producers begin the tradition of vintage harvest.

To celebrate FAB FEB, with Brisbane’s 4BH we are also offering you the chance to WIN two stunning holidays to the Granite Belt and a six pack of award winning wine.

Listen to 4BH’s Mornings with Pricey to win your ultimate getaway and a great addition to your wine cellar!

Visit www.4bh.com.au/competition for details.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It's Out - 2012 Granite Belt Visitor Guide + Map

Kick starting the New Year, we have launched the 2012 Granite Belt Visitor Guide + Map today, with more than 55,000 copies to be extensively distributed through core intrastate and interstate tourism channels, and online at www.granitebeltguide.com.au

It's your essential travel tool to the Granite Belt with:
  • A comprehensive visitor regional and town map
  • Must do lists and local recommendations i.e. best place to get a great brew, where to learn to cook like a pro, best camping spots, restaurants with views, unique accommodation options, top things to do with kids and more.
  • Top gongs - top industry awards and accolades received by Granite Belt tourism operators
  • Detailed contact tourism operator directory with easy to use map references
  • Sections based on your interests such as adventure and nature activities, weddings, food experiences including cooking classes, family friendly fun, and health and rejuvenation options like yoga, retreats, and more
  • New icons to help you select tourism product most suitable to your needs including pet friendly, child friendly and gay friendly icons.

You can obtain a hard copy of the Visitor Guide + Map by contacting the Stanthorpe Visitor Information Centre on 1800 SO COOL or view online at www.granitebeltguide.com.au. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Granite Belt B & B in TripAdvisor's Top 25

Diamondvale B&B Cottages and Lodge has ranked 19th in TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Top 25 B&Bs and Inns in Australia!

When planning a holiday millions of tourists visit TripAdvisor for unbiased property reviews  - it's consider one of the most, if not the most powerful and influential travel tools.

Owners and hosts, Tony and Kerrin Cridland, were estatic by the achievement.

"We were excited to be rated the top Stanthorpe B & B, to then make the top 25 in Australia was mind-blowing."

"Thank you to our wonderful guests for their support and comments."

Diamondvale consistently receive the highest of praise from guests for their friendliness, attention to detail and of course the accommodation. 

Some of the comments on TripAdvisor include: “The hosts made this one of our best girls weekends in 10 years”; “We wanted a getaway.  We found a hideaway” and “All of the reviews are true! You will not believe how wonderful Diamondvale is until you stay for a long weekend”

Set on 30 acres of bushland, Diamondvale B&B Cottages is located on picturesque Quart Pot creek and a comfortable stroll into Stanthorpe.  Diamondvale offers five individually designed and named cottages including the very popular ‘Diamondvale Lodge’.  The Lodge boasts four queen-size bedrooms, each with verandah access; full kitchen and laundry facilities; spacious central living area and generous deck with barbeque. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Celebrate Vintage at Golden Grove's Sicilian Lunch

No need to fly to Italy to experience the celebration of the beginning of Vintage, with all the traditions.

Golden Grove Estate presents a traditional Sicilian vintage lunch on the 11 February and you are invited! Bring in the harvest and join in the traditional grape crushing festivities, and enjoy a mouth watering lunch washed down with wines of your choice. Celebrations will be bigger then ever and limited tickets are available ($80 per person), so be sure to get in quick.

Once a year the Golden Grove celebrates the start of vintage with a Sicilian theme (recognising their proud heritage).

The event is a  fun-filled afternoon starting with fellowship and wine tasting with the family in the winery, followed by a buffet lunch served with some very traditional dishes.

Audience participation is a main feature with volunteers asked to carry home harvest in the form of a procession, lead by the goddess of the vineyard. The grapes are then placed into a large tub and after being blessed volunteers are called to stomp the grapes to the music of the tarantella until the juice runs free. Entertainment from local folk singers adds to the atmosphere.

So get your Vintage grape stomping actions a ready and visit www.goldengroveestate.com.au.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Opera in the Vineyard Celebrates 20 Years

On the back of a dream between two friends, Opera in the Vineyard at Ballandean Estate became a reality and now, in its 20th year, the event has stamped its mark on the cultural scene of the Granite Belt and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity.      

Opera in the Vineyard at Ballandean is magical with sensational music amongst vines.

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 events proceeds, with almost $350 000 being donated to date.

To be a part of the 20 year celebrations, you can book Opera tickets online at www.ballandeanestate.com or call the winery direct for information.  There a number of options including lunch and dinner and details can be found on the website.

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chef Fast Ed coming to the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival

‘Fast Ed’ Halmagyi, one of Australia’s favourite chefs, is joining us for the famous Apple and Grape Harvest Festival (2-4 March).

On Saturday 3 March, Fast Ed will cook up a storm for Celebrity Chef in the Park and the Food and Wine Fiesta.

It is something not to be missed; his work on Better Homes & Gardens – the TV show, the radio show, the magazine and online – has seen his recipes served on millions of Australian dining tables every week.

Ed is passionate about food and its influences on the community life.

"Food is a prop - designed to bring life to conversations, stories and the occasional arguments which occur around a dining table," he says.

"Cook with passion, eat with love!"

And since we love food and passion in the Granite Belt, we are certain he will enjoy his stay!

More than 40 000 attend the FREE bi-annual Apple and Grape Harvest Festival so book you accommodation now.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

School Holiday Fun - An Attraction with Bite - an Australian First

This school holidays we invite you to meet Kai - one very talented dog!

Kai is a part of Australia’s first privately-owned working dogs training kennel open to the public, Lawdogs Australia in the Granite Belt.

A unique attraction with bite, Lawdogs Australia provides a rare and very real insider pass to the training of security and police dogs. 

Visitors can get up close and personal, while seated behind a safety fence, and see specially bred puppies and adult dogs go through training including future arrest scenarios, controlling suspects, finding hidden scent, working around agility equipment, developing bite skills, and barking on command.

There are up to nine dogs at the facility from young puppies learning the basics through to a retired patrol dog. 

Lawdogs owner Matthew Hibberd (image - holding Kai) said, “This is not a circus performance - live training content changes from week to week as different dogs start and finish their training and move into working roles in law enforcement. 

“But we encourage visitor involvement and children can often pat a puppy.”

So come and meet the dogs that play a very important role in protecting Australians. Not only is it fun and exciting, Lawdogs Australia represents a very worthwhile educational experience for adults and children.

Public shows run for one hour at 11am and 2pm every Saturday and Wednesday, and every day through the Queensland school holidays (until 21 January).  

At $10 entry for adults and $5 for students and children it is an affordable and very unique holiday experience. 

For more information on Lawdogs Australia visit www.granitebeltwinecountry.com.au.  


Friday, January 6, 2012

Summer Days with Breakfast in the Vineyard

We love these gorgeous summer days in the Granite Belt. Bliss!

The prefect start to a summer day is breakfast in a vineyard. On Sunday15 January, the Barrelroom Café at Ballandean Estate will host their annual Breakfast in the Vineyard, a relaxing morning under the trees with a truly spectacular view of Sundown National Park.

Join the café for a sparkling buffet breakfast featuring the traditional favourites of freshly cooked bacon, herbed chipolatas, and velvety scrambled eggs with the option of having your poached or fried eggs cooked to order, crisp hash browns, baked tomatoes and roasted field mushrooms.

Or does smoked salmon, shaved ham, and abundant tropical fruit platers tickle your fancy? You can also enjoy freshly baked pastries and Danishes, along with a selection of breakfast cereals, toasts and local jams. 

After your complimentary sparkling orange juice on arrival, sample a traditional Sicilian breakfast treat of coffee granita and homemade brioche.

Book your place amongst the vines today +61 (0)7 4684 1326.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Granite Ridge Top Block Drop

In our last blog post we spoke of Winestate Magazine's Wine of the Year special edition. Another reason to grab a copy of the publication is for the Queensland Regional Tasting results.

Tobin Wines, Robert Channon, Sirromet, and Jester Hill caught the esteemed judges attention.

But stealing the limelight was Granite Ridge's Top Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, scoring a massive 5 stars.

"Excellent depth and purple hues. Lovely brambly, blackcurrant, plush, rich fruit on the nose and palate. Very stylish with some hints of spearmint to accent."

And with a RRP of $25 it's a bargain and a wine you should be including in your cellar now!

Strange Birds in my Backyard

Welcome to 2012 blog followers! After the hardship of 2011 it's time to get outdoors and have some fun.

Why don't you discover the Strange Birds in your backyard. Byron-based sommelier David Stevens-Castro certainly believes it's a great idea.

David has sung the praises of the Granite Belt and our Strange Bird Alternative Wine Trail in Winestate Magazine's popular Wine of the Year Special Edition.

"The Granite Belt is a treasure trove of passionate winemakers from all over the world, confidently experimenting with exciting varieties in an exceptional environment that has huge potential. It is unlikely to remain a secret much longer, so now is probably the best time to find your favourite strange bird."

Grab a copy of the latest edition to read more or you can view David's journey through the Granite Belt and interviews with our local winemakers at Vimeo.