Much like a fine wine, the winemaking industry in Queensland has seen significant and continuous improvement in the years following its establishment. Even with only a handful of formally recognized wine regions, Queensland has quickly risen to fame for its increasing production of unique and exciting new varietals.
At a glance, one could easily be forgiven for overlooking Queensland as an appropriate grape-growing region. Sun-baked and humid, Queensland lacks those vast expanses of rolling green hills you might find in Victoria or South Australia. However, the beauty of winemaking lies in its breadth, variability, and versatility. Depending on the chosen varietal, grapes are capable of producing very different results under unique and often extreme growing circumstances.
If you've ever had the opportunity (or should we say honour) of sampling a Witches Falls wine, you may have noticed that the majority of our products are labelled 'Granite Belt'. Whilst perhaps not quite so readily recognised as the Barossa or Margaret River, The Granite Belt is the premium wine region in Queensland from which we source the majority of our fruit (this also includes the apples in our hard apple cider!).
History of Queensland Wine
Most of Queensland's winemaking has developed over the past ten years, now occupying almost 1500 hectares of the state. Areas of significance are mostly concentrated within the southeast corner (The Granite Belt and South Burnett). Although winemaking in the state dates back to the 1860s, it was not until the late 1960s that it began to gain any traction within the domestic market. Just as they had done in the old-country, post-war immigrants from Italy began growing table grapes in the region to make wine for their own personal consumption. Varietals originally planted by post-war settlers include Sangiovese, Fiano, and Nero d'Avola.
Though initially done as a matter of habit and tradition, this practise soon became profitable when growers realised that the climate was perfect for grape-growing. The establishment of the Ballandean Estate marked the beginning of Queensland’s road to recognition as a powerhouse of Australian winemaking.
The Technical Stuff:
At 1000 metres elevation above sea level, the Granite Belt is considered a ‘cool climate’, and is actually one of Queensland’s only snow-producing regions. A unique ‘microclimate’, the region is named as such for its distinctive granitic soil. The nature of granite is to radiate considerable heat during the day and cool down quickly come nightfall.
This means that grapes can obtain the maximum concentration of sugars during the day whilst preserving acidity at night. Within the Granite Belt exists two areas best-suited for grape-growing, Stanthorpe and Ballandean. It is from both these localities that we source our fruit for Witches Falls’ wines!
The result of such a unique terroir and environment is exceptionally well balanced and complex wines. For a taste of true Queensland wine, pop in for a tasting at our Cellar Door!