When the local bottle shop just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore, and your tastebuds are tingling, explore Queensland’s most-awarded wine region, the Granite Belt.
Located less than three hours from Brisbane, whip out your schedule right now and set aside some chill time to explore the cellar doors and artisan food providores of Granite Belt wine country.
Your biggest decision is which one of the three ways to do the Granite Belt Wine Trail will leave you on cloud wine.
1. Cycle the Granite Belt Bike Trail
Saddle up for an adventure on two wheels from Stanthorpe to Ballandean, along 34km of quiet country roads, past fruit orchards, vineyards and dramatic granite landscapes on the Granite Belt Bike Trail.
The only thing you’ll need to BYO is a bike or hire one from Granite Belt Bicycle Tours & Hire. If going with the latter, you have the option to go it alone or join a guided cycling tour.
Put pedal to quiet country road pavement, following an itinerary that leads to all sorts of edible and liquid temptations.
If you’re motivated by food, put down your kickstand at Varias Restaurant, The Shed Café at Sutton’s Farm, Jamworks Gourmet Foods Café and Larder and Mt Stirling Olives to sample local Granite Belt cuisine.
Hydrate yourself (responsibly) with stops at Ballandean Estates Wines, Symphony Hill Wines, Robert Channon Wines and Ridgemill Estate for cellar door experiences that will likely have you packing take-home supplies in your bike’s saddle bags.
But since you’ll be doing cardio while enjoying calories – it’s a guilt-free adventure.
2. Relax on a personalised tour
Prefer to sip, sniff and scoff your way across the region without breaking a sweat?
With more than 50 wineries and 37 cellar doors in the Granite Belt you won’t want to be in the driver’s seat if you plan to work your way around more than one cellar door.
If you’re more of a beer drinker than wine-swiller, Southern Queensland Country will cure what ales you too.
Between the cellar doors, two breweries serve local liquid gold – Granite Belt Brewery and Brass Monkey Brewhouse.
3. Design your own adventure on the Strange Bird Wine Trail
If you’ve graduated from Merlot, Shiraz and Cab Sav, it’s time to meet some unusual wine varieties of Stanthorpe’s Strange Bird Wine Trail. Test your vocabulary and knowledge with the likes of Tannat, Petit Verdot, Gewürztraminer and Durif.
Download a self-drive strange bird map to find your way to these rare treasures dotted around the region’s hills and valleys.
Earning a place among the Strange Bird Wine Trail is not as easy as grape-growing, bottling and labelling a delicious drop, vintners need to grow a grape that represents less than 1% of all the vines grown in Australia.
The vines themselves are as rated as the finished products, you won’t find these strange birds in bottle shops. The only way to sample these drops is direct at the cellar door.
Deciding to do the Strange Birds wine tour is easy. Choosing who is going to be designated driver, well, we’ll leave that to you.
Where to stay?
When you’re grazing your way across the Granite Belt, you’ll want to stay close to the action. Here’s a few options:
When was the last time you stopped to smell the rosé?