Vineyard escape: 8 Granite Belt wineries you need to visit
The burgeoning wine region in the Granite Belt is only a short three-hour drive from Brisbane and boasts some of the freshest produce and most awarded wines in Queensland.
The region is a wine- and food-lovers paradise, with access to amazing, rich soil, abundant natural resources and some of the freshest seasonal produce in the country.
Renowned for its cool climate wines, the region’s high altitude delivers essential natural acid, which gives the wines freshness, structure and lift. It’s the perfect place to eat and drink well from local producers who are passionate about the Granite Belt and what the region means to Queensland.
We’ve rounded up eight of our favourite Granite Belt wineries to help get your next wine adventure off to a good start.
Ballandean Estate Wines
One of the oldest wineries in the Granite Belt, Ballandean Estate Wines has been in the Puglisi family for over 80 years. So it’s safe to say they know their stuff when it comes to winemaking.
Head to their cellar door and taste the much-lauded Viognier, an alternative wine variety or “strange bird” (found on the Strange Bird Wine Trail), often referred to as a red-wine-drinker’s white wine. Or, try their Malbec, a flavoursome wine with leafiness and integrated oak aromas while you enjoy an Italian feast at The Barrelroom Restaurant.
The team at Tobin Wines pride themselves on growing and producing premium, handcrafted, limited-edition wines. Employing an old-world winemaking philosophy that links wine quality directly to that of the vineyard itself, each Tobin wine demonstrates the best characteristics of the Granite Belt.
With a focus on growing the best fruit with as little interference as possible, Tobin Wines have mastered the winemaking process, limiting their production to a maximum of 160 cases each year. This small-batch approach means each and every bottle is produced with care and respect, and it shows in the end result.
If you’re a red-wine lover, Boireann Winery in the small village of The Summit is a must visit. Located in a lush valley in the northern Granite Belt, Boireann specialises in Italian and French red grape varieties. The end result is a collection of stunning, intense wines that just get better with age.
Scoring a coveted spot in James Halliday’s Top 100 Wines and Top 5 Star Winery in 2017, makes Boireann an essential stopover when you’re visiting the Granite Belt region.
Try the top-rated Mourvedre 2017 and The Lurnea 2017. If you like what you taste, become a Boireann Bunch member (joining is free!) to enjoy exclusive benefits such as grape-picking weekends and private barrel tasting.
Jester Hill Wines
The incredibly tranquil setting is the first thing you notice when you arrive at Jester Hill Wines.
Owners Michael and Ann Bourke first discovered the Granite Belt on a motorcycle trip in the region in 2010, and nine months later they were the proud owners of Jester Hill Wines. The family-owned-and-operated winery is still going strong today – Michael and Ann have built a diverse portfolio of wines that appeal to all types of palates.
Wine enthusiasts have long been drawn to their Shakespearean-inspired wine labels, free tastings and unbeatable location, and the modern cellar door and beautiful grounds lend themselves to celebrations of all kinds.
Choose from high tea on the lawn, canapes in the winery between barrels or enjoy a delicious meal at a long table among the vines.
Enjoy the highly awarded Touchstone Sangiovese 2016 and Shiraz 2013 between games of bocce or relaxing on the terrace. You’ll never want to leave.
Golden Grove Estate
Expect quality wine and impeccable service at Golden Grove Estate. Home to the Costanzo family, the winery has been passed down through three generations and boasts an impressive variety of alternative wines. Mario and Nita Costanzo bought the property in 1946 and the first vines were planted in 1975 as the Australian wine industry started to take off.
Located in the highlands of the Ballandean Valley, the high altitude and cool summer climate make it the perfect spot for classic wine grape varieties to thrive.
Have a glass of their 2016 SPV sparkling Vermentino as you soak in the spectacular views of the Ballandean Valley, or opt for the classic “Bordeaux varietals” 2016 malbec with hints of oak and spice.
Twisted Gum Wines
Enjoy wines from a hand-tended vineyard at the Twisted Gum Wines cellar door, located inside a classic 1920s Queenslander.
The team focuses on crafting premium quality grapes using sustainable agricultural practices. The vines are planted in eight small blocks surrounded by native bushland, which negates the need to use any chemicals. The abundant bird population and other wildlife in the area keep insects in check. The vineyard produces low yields and everything is pruned and harvested by hand.
The hugely popular 2017 pink Moscato is a classic Italian-style wine made from black Muscat grapes. It has a Turkish-delight aroma and is light, crisp and has just the right amount of sweetness. Looking for something a little deeper and richer in flavour? Try their signature deep inky-purple red wines; their 2014 shiraz infuses black cherries and dark forest fruits.
Symphony Hill Wines
Symphony Hill Wines was awarded James Halliday’s ellusive five-star rating three years in a row (among many other accolades), thanks largely to years of hard work and commitment from the passionate team.
When the vineyard was established, over 40 grape varieties were planted and the team worked with local growers to plant them, in order to cultivate a diverse range. As a result, depending on the season, you’ll be able to taste unique wines such as Lagrein, Nebbiolo, Fiano or Gewurztraminer.
Using only environmentally friendly methods for pest control on the vineyard along with an ongoing hunger for more research and investment to deliver excellent wines, Symphony Hill is going from strength to strength.
Enjoy a winery tour through their impressive facilities and then sip on some of their famous drops in the tasting room, which is open seven days a week.
All about celebrating the romance of wine, this Granite Belt winery was established in 1997 by a group of passionate wine lovers. Having established a reputation for their aromatic Mediterranean and European wine varieties, Summit Estate in Thulimbah is a must-visit when wine-tasting your way through the Granite Belt.
Drop in to their beautiful cellar door or book in to one of their famous sit-down wine tastings or wine education sessions. And if you’re coming in the afternoon, you can’t miss their Sunset Sessions. The terrace is set up with tables and chairs and the vineyard is dotted with bean bags to provide prime viewing over the winery and the sunset. Guests are encouraged to pack a picnic and kick back – perfect for a casual get together in a stunning location.
Start with their award-winning 2016 Queensland Cabernet, with a palate of wild berries, silky tannins and dark chocolate, working your way through to the 2016 wild-ferment Syrah with hints of raspberry and spice.
Where to stay
We suggest basing yourself at one of the many accommodation options available in the region, so you can explore the Granite Belt wineries knowing you’ve got somewhere nice and comfortable to come back to after long days of sipping and snacking.
Girraween Environmental Lodge
Girraween Environmental Lodge, has 10 architecturally designed bush chalets set over 400 acres of natural bushland, surrounded by the lush Girraween National Park. Every chalet is made from recycled timber, and comes complete with luxurious king-size beds, double spa baths, wood heaters and kitchens.
Girraween is the Aboriginal word for “The Place of Flowers”, which is apt as the national park has the best wildflower display on Australia’s east coast. If you need a break from wining and dining, there are a number of bushwalks that begin from your chalet, and will give you breathtaking views of woodland, waterfalls and rock pools.
Alure’s boutique villas and luxury glamping experiences, set on 50 private acres, are the perfect place to base yourself while you’re exploring the Granite Belt wineries. Enjoy uninterrupted views of the Granite Belt landscape. Each villa or glamping tent is decked out with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximise your view and each have an outdoor spa so you can soak up the surrounds while you’re in the tub.
The Alure team is well-versed when it comes to Granite Belt wineries, so if you want to leave your wine-tasting adventures in capable hands, just say the word and they’ll arrange a custom tour for you.