Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to travel to Australia’s southern states to swirl, sniff and sip award-winning wines. Just drive three hours from Brisbane’s CBD to Stanthorpe in the Granite Belt aka Queensland’s Wine Country.
Home to some of Australia’s highest vineyards (read: 1,000 metres above sea level), the Granite Belt has built a strong reputation for producing exceptional medium-bodied wines.
Not only does the region produce traditional varietal favourites like Merlot, Shiraz and Chardonnay, the Granite Belt has become a hotspot for growing alternative variety wines like petit verdot, gewurztraminer or durif.
Have your own Sideways wine tasting weekend, working your way through Southern Queensland Country’s best wines with this guide.
1. Ballandean Estate
Start your wine tour at Queensland’s oldest family-owned and operated winery – Ballandean Estate.
This five-generation winemaking family has been welcoming guests through the cellar door since 1970 and producing wine since 1932, so you know you’re in good hands.
Surround yourself with the oldest working barrels in Queensland in the Cellar Door, as you sample one of their premium reds or whites.
While Ballandean Estate is part of the Strange Bird Wine Trail (our self drive trail through the rarest varieties), they proudly serve mainstream varieties and recently celebrated 50 years of Shiraz planting and their 30th vintage of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.
A: 354 Sundown Road, Ballandean Q 4382
P: 07 4684 1226
2. Ridgemill Estate
Looking to extend your wine tour overnight? Head to Ridgemill Estate.
With eight studio cabins and a three-bedroom house for groups – all with vineyard views across the 40-acre property – this is one wine tour where you won’t have to worry about a designated driver.
Combine a stay in the award-winning cabins with wine tasting in the cellar door or on the deck overlooking the estate.
Book a tasting experience with the winemaker for a behind-the-scenes look at winemaking and a chance to sample a selection of unreleased vintages.
A: 218 Donges Road, Severnlea Q 4380
P: 07 4683 5211
3. Pyramids Road
Do you know how many people it takes to grow grapes and make wine? If you’re Pyramid Road Wines, just two.
Meet Warren and Sue – the husband and wife duo who wear all the winemaking hats from planting and pruning to picking, bottling, and labelling.
Growing Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon since 1999, this small-batch winery has grown from producing four wines to 10.
With Pyramid Road running through Girraween National Park, combine your next outdoor adventure with a cellar door wine stop to finish up the day.
4. Golden Grove
What started as a fresh fruit orchard growing grapes and stone fruit in 1946, has turned into an award-winning winery at Golden Grove Estate.
While initially processing leftover grapes into table wine to service the Italian immigrant community, the Costanzo family now produce classic Shiraz, Chardonnay and Mourvèdre along with alternatives.
Golden Grove serves up a taste of Europe with its Strange Bird varieties – from the Sicilian classic Nero d’Avola to Italian favourite Vermentino.
A: 337 Sundown Road, Ballandean Q 4382
P: 07 4684 1291
5. Savina Lane Wines
You’ll need to plan ahead to visit Savina Lane Wines, as wine tasting at this exclusive winery is by appointment only.
With trophies lining their cellar door – from best Fiano (vintage 2015 and 2016) as well as Best Queensland Shiraz (vintage 2012 and 2014) – it’s one not to miss on your Southern Queensland Country wine tour.
Book one of the two wine experiences or settle into the large chesterfield lounges in front of the log fire in the cellar door.
A: 61 Savina Lane, Severnlea Q 4380
P: 0419 723 755
6. Robert Channon Wines
White wine lovers – we’re looking at you.
If your palate preference is white over red when it comes to wine, make sure you plan a stop at Robert Channon Wines to sample what James Halliday once said, “by far the best Verdelhos I have ever tasted.”
While Robert has earned the nickname ‘King of Verdelho’ the winery’s collection of awards for its red varieties should not be overlooked.
Offering lakeside views and Stanthorpe vistas from the back of the cellar door with a generous amount of greenspace – this is the perfect winery stop when travelling as a family.
With miniature horses and Hereford cattle calling Robert Channon Wines home, there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained while you taste your way through the vintages.
A: 32 Bradley Lane, Stanthorpe Q 4380
P: 07 4683 3260
7. Hidden Creek Wines
Has your four-legged family member joined you for the day? Head to Hidden Creek Wines.
There’s no need to rush your visit at this dog-friendly winery – throw down the blanket, order a picnic basket and extend your stay while you sample their varieties.
Make sure you ask about their new release Vermouth – a wine fortified infused with botanicals.
Hint – you won’t experience this anywhere else in the Granite Belt.
A: 2271 Eukey Road, Ballandean Q 4382
P: 07 4684 1383
8. Summit Estate Wines
Name a more iconic duo than sparkling wine and sunset views. We’ll wait.
Plan your visit to Summit Estate Wines for Friday or Saturday afternoon for their Sunset Sessions.
Not only does this winery produce a large selection of Cuvee that you’re more accustomed to, expect to find the likes of White Sparkling Muscat, Sparkling Pinot Noir and Sparkling Marsanne as part of their Strange Bird selection.
If your wine palate prefers traditional varieties, you’ll find Merlot, Pinot Noir and Tempranillo on the menu too.
Make sure you BYO a picnic, bring your portable barbeque or order a takeaway meal from the café to make the most of your sunset session.
A: 291 Granite Belt Drive, Thulimbah Q 4376
P: 07 4683 2011