Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Granite Belt wines now on the menu at Gardens Galore

WALKING into Gardens Galore, you're already spoilt for choice.

Aromatic coffee, gourmet food, boutique fashion and homewares, plants to rival the botanic gardens and now wine.

Yes, the heady bottled nectar will soon be on the menu at Sue Hoffman's house of everything gorgeous and as the gooseberry enthusiasts begin to rejoice, so too are the business heads behind it.

Mrs Hoffman will sell Golden Grove Estate wines in 16 different varieties, so there will be no shortage of choice when it comes to selecting the perfect wine to complement your meal.

Mrs Hoffman said she loved the idea of selling local Granite Belt wine and knew it would mean only good things for the Warwick community and beyond.

Local drop drums up symphony of accolades

GRANITE belt winery Symphony Hill Wines has triumphed over some of the nation's best-known vineyards to win Best Other Red Variety Wine at the 2013 Winewise Awards in Canberra.

Their 2009 Reserve Petit Verdot edged out Rosemount's Hand Picked Nursery Mataro 2011 by a narrow margin.

[read more at]

Monday, March 25, 2013

Beach erosion puts off tourists from top Queensland holiday spots on Gold and Sunshine coasts

"BEACH erosion has turned tourists away from some of our most famous holiday hot spots - but other Queensland destinations are reaping the benefits.

"Mackay, Rockhampton, Stanthorpe and the Sunshine Coast hinterland have also been big movers.


"On the central Queensland coast, Mackay and Rockhampton have enjoyed huge surges in popularity for the Easter break, while it has also been a win for Stanthorpe, with an increase of more than 20 per cent on last year on the website for the Granite Belt.

Sarah Reeves from Granite Belt Wine and Tourism said a new marketing campaign showcasing Stanthorpe's distinct four seasons had been enthusiastically received by holidaymakers.

"It's one of the few places where you can get a genuine seasonal experience," she said.

"Traditionally winter has always been our strongest time, but autumn is a beautiful time to visit as well.

"We've also extended our target market so rather than just focusing on Brisbane, we've aimed at the Gold and Sunshine coasts as well."

[read more on the Courier Mail website]

Friday, March 22, 2013

Symphony Hill Wines wins best of the best trophy in Canberra

In a major coup for QLD, Granite Belt boutique winery Symphony Hill Wines has won Trophy for Best Other Red Variety Wine at 2013 Winewise Awards in Canberra for their 2009 Reserve Petit Verdot (RRP $65). They edged out Rosemount’s Hand Picked Nursery Mataro 2011 by a narrow margin.

Winewise Awards are only open to wines that have won gold at major wine shows over the previous 12 months. Other trophy winners this year included Yalumba, Heggies, Rosemount and Shaw & Smith. Symphony Hill owner, Ewen Macpherson, reports, “It is exciting to have our wines match Australia’s best. Our flagship is our Reserve Shiraz which has been awarded gold at a national show every vintage since 2003, and now we have its lesser known sibling, Petit Verdot, clambering for attention. The 2009 Reserve Petit Verdot is a big purple cuddly monster and has such a different flavour profile from the standard Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2009 Reserve Petit Verdot had already won three trophies, including Champion Wine of the Show, at the 2012 New England Wine Show.”

“It has been a wonderfully successful 12 months for our wines with James Halliday rating the following wines 5 stars: 2008 Reserve Shiraz, 2011 Semillon, 2012 Pinot Gris and 2010 Wild Child Viognier.”

Symphony Hill Winemaker Mike Hayes said, “It is extremely satisfying when critics give our wines the nod. We crush over 80 batches of grapes in any one vintage and process over 30 different grape varieties. This is the second year in a row we have made a wine that has won a trophy at the Winewise awards. Last year we made a Gewurztraminer for a winery over the border called Toppers Mountain, that took out the Other White Variety Wine Trophy. We purchase the Petit Verdot fruit from Duncan and Dine Ferrier here on the Granite Belt and have done so for the last 7 years. As the vines mature we are seeing the complexity and intensity of the wines increase.”

Over the last two years the winemaking team at Symphony Hill has collected over 20 trophies, 25 golds, 30 silvers and 50 bronze medals and is rated a 5 star winery by James Halliday.

Symphony Hill resides in the cool climate region of the Granite Belt 2.5 hours south west of Brisbane. Since releasing their wines in 2004, they have incrementally increased production to meet demand. Their wine club has grown to such a level now that some wines are just released to wine club members, with each member receiving one bottle of a new vintage then it is sold out. One such wine is their current release of 2011 Reserve Nebbiolo which was sent out to their wine club members as part of their Autumn release 6 pack.

Owner Ewen Macpherson said, “We love to spoil our wine club members with all trophy and gold medal winning wines being sent to wine club members for just $25 as part of their bi-annual 6 bottle delivery. Members also receive 30% discount on all wines across our range with free delivery anywhere in Australia!”

“Each year, more and more people from South East Queensland are discovering they have their very own ultra premium wine district just around the corner!”

Find out more about Symphony Hill Wines.

The Vinsomniac: Ridgemill Estate - Eloise: A Sparkling Debut

The Vinsomniac blogs about Ridgemill Estate:

"You don't win medals for making Rosé" could well become winemaker Pete McGlashan's equivalent to Homer Simpson's "You don't win friends with salad". 

[read more]

Friday, March 15, 2013

Apple Muffins


  • 125gm melted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • 1 tblsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups peeled & diced granny smith apples from Sutton’s (about 2 apples)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pecan nuts
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 200°C.
  • In a large bowl combine melted butter, sugar, beaten egg and milk. Sift in flour, baking powder, apple and cinnamon. 
  • Stir gently until just combined. The mixture should be lumpy, not smooth. 
  • Spoon mixture into muffin tins until 2/3 full. 
  • Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over muffins. 
  • Bake 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. 
  • Makes 12.

This recipe provided by Roz Sutton from Sutton's Juice Factory and Cidery.

Follow the trail on your bike

THE Granite Belt will soon be a major player when it comes to cycling tourism.
Making that possible will be the 34km-long Granite Belt Bike Trail from Stanthorpe to Ballandean.
Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Peter Blundell said the bike trail initiative promoted healthy living for visitors and locals alike.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Almond Crusted Salmon with Lemongrass Balsamic Mash

A nutty crusted salmon on a moreish bed of LiraH Lemongrass Balsamic vinegar mash. Perfect for any occasion.

Chef: Miriam Spina
Difficulty: easy
Time to prepare: 40 Minutes
Serves: 2


  • 2 salmon steaks
  • 1 cup roughly chopped almonds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 sprig of sage
  • 1 spring onion
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/8 cup LiraH Lemongrass Balsamic Vinegar

Combine almonds, salt, and pepper in a bowl, dip salmon in egg then coat with almond mixture.
Fry in half butter until cooked through and almonds are golden and crisp.

In a separate pan fry sage, and spring onions in 1 tbsp of butter until soft, add LiraH Lemongrass Balsmic until heated through.

Make mash potato as normal, mix in milk, remaining butter, salt, pepper, sage, spring onion and LiraH Lemongrass Balsamic.

Place cooked salmon on a bed of mash, and drizzle with LiraH Lemongrass Balsamic to finish.

For something a little different, why not try swapping the salmon for spicy thai fish cakes.

Chefs Tips
If you don't like to fry in butter, bake salmon in a moderate oven for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked through.

You can purchase LiraH products online, or at Brinx Deli in the main street of Stanthorpe, or at the Visitor Information Centre.

Golden Grove Estate's 2012 Sauvignon Blanc rated 94 points (5 Stars)

Golden Grove Estate's 2012 Sauvignon Blanc has been rated 94 points (5 Stars) by leading wine critic James Halliday in the Weekend Australian (9 & 10 March, 2013) . He goes on to say "Very well made and the best Sauvignon Blanc from Queensland's Granite Belt." 

This is a fantastic follow on to the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc which won three gold medals across the country. This is the second 5 star rating for a 2012 Golden Grove white with the 2012 Vermentino also gaining 5 stars. 

We are all looking forward to the winery rating later on this year.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Innovative app launched

"IN AN Australian Facebook first, the official 2013 Granite Belt Visitor Guide is now available via the popular social media site.

Granite Belt Wine and Tourism (GBWT) business marketing manager Sarah Reeves said the printed version had been altered to help the transition to the new digital layout.

"We are really excited about the new format and think it provides a much cleaner design and strong visual effect," she said."

[read more at the Daily News]

Granite Belt Bike Trail opening

"Celebrate the opening of the Granite Belt Bike trail by donning green and be one of the first to enjoy the 34 kilometre ride.

The Granite Belt Bike Trail from Stanthorpe to Ballandean will be officially opened on Sunday, March 17, 2013 with a ‘green’ themed ride scheduled to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day."

[read more on the Road Ahead website]