Calling all wine aficionados!
So, you’ve sipped and swirled your way across the Granite Belt already and sampled the household favourites like Merlot, Shiraz and Chardonnay? If that’s the case, it’s time to meet some of the region’s more unusual wine varieties along the Strange Bird Wine Trail.
Prepare to take your tastebuds on a tour like never before, following our guide through the Granite Belt’s most alternative wineries with this guide.
What makes a Strange Bird?
The Granite Belt Strange Bird Wine Trail doesn’t actually involve birds at all, here we’re all about the wine – the more unusual, the better.
You may not have heard of tannat, petit verdot, gewurztraminer or durif (they’re certainly harder to pronounce than they are to drink), but wine critics and judges, James Halliday included, are singing the praises of this region’s alternative lesser-known varieties.
To be considered alternative, a variety must represent not more than 1% of the total bearing vines in Australia as defined by the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation.
The region’s unique terroir (the particular characteristics of the geography, geology and climate of a place and how they interact with the vines) equals unusual wines.
You won’t find most of these labels in bottle shops and restaurants because production is boutique and small-run bottlings, meaning you can only taste or buy them at the cellar door or by special order.
Stick to the trail and you’ll taste some 20 varieties of Strange Bird wine, receive a great education in boutique wine making and food matching, and meet the passionate custodians of the vines who see the grapes through from planting to tending and finally to vintage.
Where can you find the Strange Bird varieties?
Jester Hill Wines – Petit verdot, Sangiovese, Roussanne
Symphony Hill Wines – Petit verdot, Tempranillo, Viognier, Petit manseng
Ballandean Estate – Fiano, Malbec, Durif, Saperavi, Sylvaner, Viognier
Golden Grove Estate – Barbera, Durif, Malbec, Mourvedre, Nero d’Avola, Tempranillo, Vermentino
Queensland College of Wine Tourism – Marsanne
Ridgemill Estate – Jacquez, Saperavi, Tempranillo, Verdelho, Viognier, Mourvedre
Heritage Estate Wines – Tempranillo, Fiano, Ansonica, Malbec, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Frontenac, Savignin, Verdelho & Marsanne
Stray off the trail and you’ll discover local restaurants whose menus feature seasonal produce sourced from nearby farms and artisan cheese, chocolate and preserve makers more than willing to let you try before you buy.
Thirsty for more? Start planning your few days away in the Granite Belt with our guide to the best things to do in Stanthorpe.