When you think of Australian wine regions, Queensland’s Granite Belt or South Burnett aren’t on the top of most people’s lists. In fact, many people are actually surprised that wine is even made in Queensland, let alone good wine.
So how did winemaking in Queensland begin?
Grape vines were first planted in the Granite Belt in the 1860’s when a local church priest needed some altar wine. Today, the Granite Belt is considered to be Queensland’s premium wine growing region, with over 60% of Queensland wines being produced from Granite Belt grapes.
Many people are surprised to learn that, with an average altitude of 800m above sea level, the Granite Belt is Australia’s highest wine region and considered to be a cool climate one at that. In fact, the Granite Belt has similar growing season temperatures to the Clare Valley in South Australia, or European vineyards in the northern Rhone and Bordeaux. Couple this with its rich granite soils and you have a region ideal for growing grapes.
Winemaking in Queensland’s South Burnett region has a more recent history. Located in south-east Queensland, just an hour or two inland from the Pacific Ocean, the South Burnett has a climate very similar to New South Wales’ famous Hunter Valley wine region. Its rich volcanic soils coupled with its Mediterranean climate are the secrets to its award-winning wines.
Being a younger and smaller wine producing state works to our advantage. Unlike older, more established wine regions, Queensland wine regions have more flexibility and freedom to experiment with more unusual and lesser known wine varietals that thrive in this climate. Ones you mightn’t have heard of are Fiano, Marsanne, Viognier, Barbera, Durif, Malbec, Sagrantino and Tempranillo.
So, although our state isn’t bursting at the seams with grape production, Queensland is producing some excellent wines and we encourage you to try all the unique flavours and varieties on offer.