The 2023 vintage has officially started with the arrival of Granite Belt Verdelho, and this year marks an extra exciting milestone as Witches Falls celebrates 20 years of winemaking! Although the cellar door didn’t officially open until 2004, back in 2003, winery owners Jon & Kim Heslop were busy preparing for their impending launch. So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at a few of the highlights of the past two decades.
In 2003, John Howard was Prime Minister, and Australian Idol and The Block made their screen debuts. Meanwhile, Jon & Kim Heslop were settling into their new home on Tamborine Mountain and beginning their journey into the world of Queensland wine. That year, Witches Falls produced its first vintage, consisting of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz.
The official opening of the Witches Falls Winery Cellar Door took place in October 2004, and new varieties added that vintage included Verdelho, Pinot Noir and Merlot from the Granite Belt and Riesling and Shiraz from Clare Valley. The winery also produced its first dessert wines, including a Muscat and Semillon Botrytis.
In 2005, Witches Falls experimented with its first Wild Ferment, using the chardonnay variety. It was so successful that the winery has gone on to develop an entire Wild Ferment collection. That year also saw the making of the first Prophecy wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon, which won gold at the 2007 Rutherglen Wine Show where it was the highest scoring wine in its class.
In 2008, the winery updated its logo, bidding adieu to the original witch on a broomstick and welcoming in a new, modern look that is still used on the labels today.
By 2010, Witches Falls had introduced a new range of wines called Bird Dog for its growing wholesale market.
In 2020, the Granite Belt faced the adverse effects of fires, floods, and drought, resulting in only 2% of the winery’s annual yield. To survive, the team reached out to new growers and found Ricca Terra in the Riverland region of South Australia. The winery team also added Ren Dalgarno in time for the 2020 vintage and dipped its toes into the world of hard apple cider, sourcing apples from the Granite Belt. The cider range originally launched in February under the Jambreen label with Pink Lady and Granny Smith varieties, but later that year, Eighth Day Hard Apple Cider was launched with the addition of a Rosé and Ginger cider.
Today, Witches Falls is one of Queensland’s finest wine producers, offering over 25 different varieties of wine and producing approximately 180,000 bottles a year. Despite its success, the winery has no plans to slow down anytime soon. In fact, its wine range and team continue to grow, and its newest venture, Boxer Brewing Co., is set to open later this year. With many other ideas in the pipeline, Witches Falls is excited to see what the next 20 years will bring.
Cheers to another 20 years of great wine!
Congratulations to Jon, Kim and the whole team at WFW. From our 1st visit in 2004 we’ve loved watching the fantastic evolution of the winery and the brands. Looking forward to the next 20 years, and welcoming Boxer Brewery to the fold!! Couldn’t recommend it more. Go and experience wonderful.
Thanks for sharing the 20 year history of WF – amazing what has been achieved over this time and looking forward to seeing what comes next. Love WF wines and cider and love supporting a local and innovative business!