Queensland is not typically the first region that comes to mind when you think of ‘Australian Wine’, however this region has wine history that dates back over 150 years. In more recent times Queensland has experienced significant growth, particularly in the last 10 years - There are now over 1500 hectares planted in the region.
The dedication, enthusiasm and energy from this new generation of winemakers has seen a increase in ‘wildcard’ wines being produced to great reception.
Traditional varieties for this region have seen Chardonnay, Semillon, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot planted, however alternatives such as Tempranillo, Viognier and others are beginning to be embraced. The two sub-regions producing the majority of wine in Queensland are - The Granite Belt and The South Burnett. Both sub-regions have unique climates and soil conditions that produce distinct wines reflective of their place.
With just 25 years of winemaking history, The South Burnett region is home to Queensland's largest vineyards and more than a dozen established wineries. The sub-region is blessed with natural beauty and the diversity of the winemakers that call the region home means it is an incubator for modern winemaking techniques. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the predominate varietals due to their suitability to the ‘sub-tropical’ climate. The diverse range of soil types typically produce medium bodied wines with soft, sweet berry flavours.
The Granite Belt is on the boarder between Queensland and New South Wales and is one of the highest wine regions on Australia. The region is subject to hot days and cool nights thanks to sitting over 1000 metres above sea level. Wine Tourism in The Granite Belt is not the only attraction that draws visitors to the region. Granite Belt is the home to stunning national parks with large house-sized granite boulders protruding from the native bush such as Girraween National Park, Mount Norman and Castle Rock.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted varietal - full, dark and rich in flavour with notes of cassis, red berry and sweet fruit. Interestingly the region has coined the term "Strange Birds" to describe the alternative wines that are being produced in the region. To classify as a "Strange Bird" a variety must represent less than 1% of the total vines planted in Australia. There is even an established Strange Bird trail that guides tourists between the participating cellar doors. Examples of some of the Strange Birds that can be found are: Verdelho, Viognier, Marsanne, Barbera, Tempranillo, Tannat and Nebbiolo.