Undiscovered Gem – The Granite Belt

Published by Mark Pollard - 14th Jun 2016

If someone asked you describe a wine from Queensland, what would you say?

Potentially many of you wouldn’t have tried any wines from up that way, but being the Sunshine state, you could expect a nice full flavoured wine, perhaps lots of blackberry fruit in the Shiraz…

The fact of the matter is that you don’t see much wine from Queensland. Sure if you look hard enough you will find some but by and large it is hard to find.
The production out of the state really is very small as most of the state isn’t really suitable for premium wine production, but the small region known as the Granite Belt really needs to get some recognition.

It is the biggest region in QLD with over half the production, centred around the township of Stanthorpe which is situated in the extreme south of the state, west of the Great Dividing Range which actually acts as a shield to the humid coastal temperatures, and it ranges from 600m to 1000m above sea level. That is just like Orange in NSW, seriously cold!

I was ‘lucky’ enough to see snow there last year. I know snow and Queensland, just sounds wrong, like Trump and President of the USA…!
The other unique aspect is the soil, mainly decomposed Granite Soils which are really only found in this area across the entire country. It is a unique area within Australia but has had comparisons made to Northern Rhone in France or Northern Central Spain.

Merlot, Cabernet, and Shiraz are the predominant reds and Chardonnay for the whites. But the region most recently has seen a large increase in alternative varieties, Verdelho, Viognier, Tempranillo etc are all becoming more and more popular. Interestingly, these alternative varieties are the ones that flourish in the regions which people have compared this area too, like northern Rhone and the Rioja region in Spain.

Naked Wines has just recently brought into the fold Glen Robert and Andrew Scott who work out of the Bent Road winery in Ballandean, in the Granite Belt region. So if you are interested in seeing what this small region can create, look no further!