Another Look at Queensland Wines

July 31st, 2008

fireinhut.JPGWe recently spent a couple of days at Stanthorpe, 3 hours drive SW of Brisbane — to taste some wines, meet the winemakers and enjoy a roaring fire when the temperature plunged to 1 degree.

You have quite a choice of accommodation and we stayed at the charming Diamondvale B&B Cottages ( Kerrin and Tony Cridland give genuine country hospitality and a cooked breakfast that was hard to go past. The property is on a creek, very private but close to Stanthorpe, and an easy drive to all the vineyards. 

This is a great place to go to with some friends, each having their own cabin and then you all get together at night in the fire hut (see left), where you can cook a BBQ, enjoy the fire and wax lyrical about the wines you have bought.

There are now outstanding wines to be found in the cool climate Granite Belt (the Queensland wine region based around Stanthorpe). This is not a difinitive list, but our favourite vineyards are:

Boireann which received 5 red stars in James Halliday’s just published ‘Australian Wine Companion’. Hallidays says “Peter Stark is a winemaker of exceptional talent producing cameo amounts of red wines which are quite beautifully made and of a quality equal to Australia’s best”.  This is a tiny vineyard and only sells via cellar door or mail order.

Symphony Hill Wines has state-of-the-art technology and the quality of their 06 reds is excellent — a number of their wines receive a 90-94 rating from Halliday. This is the highest vineyard in Australia and well worth a visit.

Robert Channon Wines get several scores of 90 from Halliday and are particularly famous for their Verdelho which Halliday saying “by far the best Verdelho I have tasted”. They have an excellent cafe for lunch overlooking a vast dam and have concerts in the winery once a month (see for the program). The one Brass and Wine on Sun 12 Oct is free.

Kominos Wines and Bungawarra also get a 4 (black) star rating from Halliday.

Places to eat are Vineyard Cottages & Cafe, Patty’s on McGregor (lovely eccentric people), and if you are into more old fashioned food than you can step over, Anna’s. 



3 Responses to “Another Look at Queensland Wines”

  1. Kerry Heaneyon 25 Nov 2008 at 9:40 am

    I’ve just returned from a weekend on the Granite Belt. It was cool and refreshing – such a nice change from sultry Brisbane. We stayed at Accommodation Creek Cottages which were very cute and actually lit the fire – in November! We also enjoyed Robert Channon’s winery and can report it is now open for breakfast – just delicious.

  2. JOHN MACDONALDon 08 Dec 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Dear Marilyn

    There is one ‘newish’ restaurant in the Granite Belt called aptly “Shiraz” right on the highway in Ballandean. Shiraz is open from Wednesday – Sunday. 07 4684 1000

    John Rogers, former chef/restaurateur from Brisbane has found his niche and putting out arguably the best food in the Granite Belt District.

    John defies the old adage “don’t eat seafood in a country town” and has made it his niche with spanking fresh seafood coming direct to him from all his old suppliers back in Brisbane. I have eaten their twice now and would thoroughly recommend it. Shiraz Restaurant also provides a wonderful showcase for local wines.

    Another place to stay is the “Girraween Environmental Lodge” where a group of us stayed 2 weeks ago. Extremely comfortable in unspoilt surroundings bordering on Girraween National Park.

    The restaurant at Vineyard Cottages is no longer open to the public. The business is up for sale and while accommodation guests are catered for, the restaurant is closed for normal business, which is very sad for people
    (like me) who have admired Janine Cummings food for a long time.

    If you haven’t already, next time in Stanthorpe you simply must check out the College of Wine, Tourism and Hospitality. It is an absolute showcase for the district and it is truly worth a wander through and maybe eat their too.


    John MacDonald
    Palatable Partners

  3. Christine Wellson 05 Aug 2009 at 3:11 am

    Thank you, Marilyn, for such a great review of Stanthorpe wines. I am a huge fan of our granite belt Verdehlo’s – love Channons, Symphony Hill and Dr’s Nose (for those happy to travel into Tenterfield). It is worthwhile hunting down Tobin’s wines, particularly for a great Tempranillo and lovely Merlo. The ‘strange birds’ winery tour is a great idea for those new to the region. Boireann has really shaken the old prejudices about QLD wine, they are wonderfully complex, interesting reds.
    don’t forget to visit the cheese makers at Thulimba – beautiful farmhouse cheeses and enthusiastic proprietors make this a wonderful stop.

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