We’re knee-deep in autumn, but still waiting for that winter chill. If you’re like us and crave weather chilly enough to actually rug up, then may we tempt you with a trip to cooler regions? What if we mentioned these cooler regions also exhibit excellent wines and bites to boot? Queensland has often been synonymous with tropical retreats, however, our beloved state is home to quainter country too. Whether you’re an oenophile (translation: lover of wine) or simply enjoy a tipple, we’ve put together a list of local wineries that you should have been to by now.
If you’ve already ticked these off, then good for you! Keep your eyes open for our upcoming list of the under-the-radar wineries you need to hit-up next. If you haven’t discovered these wineries yet, then what are you waiting for? Consider this your bucket-list!
Preston Peak Wines – Greater Toowoomba
A short 10 minute journey southward of Toowoomba will leave you atop Preston Peak, where you’ll find the famed Preston Peak Wines Cellar Door. Inside the gorgeous building lies over a dozen varietals; a repertoire that has grown from a singular Chardonnay. You’ll be encouraged to partake in their cheese platters designed specifically to accompany the fantastic selection of wines.
The Preston Peak Wines’ trophy room is in need of an expansion, currently boasting a variety of over 300 awards, with plenty sure to come. Initially, the Winery’s focus was around Chardonnays, and this led directly to their first nod in 1997 with a gold medal at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show. Since then, a highlight for the winery came in 2008 with a Reserve Shiraz that laid claim to a Top Five spot in Australian and New Zealand Shirazes in the Winestate Wine of the Year awards.
The Cellar Door is open between 10 am and 2 pm, from Wednesday to Sunday, but a call before popping in is appreciated.
Must Try: 2016 Verdelho
Ocean View Estates – Mt Mee
On arrival, it’s abundantly clear that the Honnef family have spent decades creating what is truly a complete retreat. At the core of said retreat is a budding stable of fantastic wines made on site. Guests of Ocean View Estates are offered the opportunity to step deeply into the winemaking process, from vine to vat, as well as the chance to talk the technicals with Chief Winemaker and Owner, Thomas Honnef.
After a day of wine tasting and cheese snacking, you’ll be invited back to the restaurant or The Binary for something a little more substantial. With the restaurant offering a la carte, and degustation options, foodies will feel right at home amongst the ‘slightly Japanese-French Fusion’. For something a little more casual, accompanied by the estate’s very own craft beers, The Binary will suit.
We know how hard it is to muster the will to drive all the way home after such a hearty meal, and so do the Honnefs. And so, there are accommodation options aplenty onsite. Take your pick from a range of cottages. Add a pamper package to take your stay to the next level with massages, bubbles and antipasto platters.
Must Try: 2015 Ruby Cabernet
Symphony Hill – Ballandean
Ballandean’s high altitude leaves it a desirable spot for many wineries to set up shop, and such has been the way with Symphony Hill Wines. Ewen and Elissa Macpherson set out to chase a dream in the mid-90s, and the dream has been reaping rewards ever since. When your opening corkage is an immediate award-winner, you know there’s big things ahead.
The Winery has gone on to win countless awards, ranging from 5 Stars in the 2010 Australian Wine Vintages, to Gold at the Sydney Royal Wine Show. Symphony Hill has gone from strength to strength. Their array of wines encompass over 35 different wines, renowned winemaker Mike Hayes, and the architect of each. Symphony Hill’s range of varietals just begs to be tasted.
Must Try: 2010 Wild Child Viognier
Sirromet Winery – Mount Cotton
Could the good people at Sirromet Winery have picked a more convenient location for Brisbanites and Gold Coasters, alike? Lying only 30 minutes from either city, the Sirromet Winery makes the perfect day trip, although, die-hard fans are treated to the option of extending their stay with Sanctuary by Sirromet.
If you are staying over, you may as well make the most of Sirromet’s award-winning Restaurant Lurleen’s for an exhibition of modern Australian cuisine. Each dish is paired with a recommendation from Sirromet’s cellar. Once you’ve found a winner, be sure to visit the Cellar Door to grab a bottle or two for later enjoyment. Don’t stress if you still can’t pick, as Sirromet offers a plethora of wine tasting and tour options for only a few dollars. You’ll be sure to find a drop you truly love after a one-hour Premium Wine Tasting.
Once you’ve well and truly had your share of the stunning wines on offer, spend an afternoon with the family-friendly, Supa Golf; a 9-hole game with oversized clubs and balls, and thankfully holes too.
Must-Try: 2014 Le Sauvage Shiraz Viognier
Flame Hill Vineyard – Montville
Those who have visited Montville, know how hard it is to leave. A stunning little European-styled village, wrought with locally made produce ranging from fudge to furniture, and of course…wine.
One of the finest local wineries is the Flame Hill Vineyard. You’ll find the picturesque setting only 7 minutes from the township, making it the perfect basecamp for an extended stay in the hinterland.
Whilst settling into the more relaxed pace of life typical of the area, you’ll be treated to a gorgeous selection of whites and reds, straight from Flame Hill’s cellar. Brunch and lunch will sure to be taken care of with a visit to The Terrace: a casual dining experience found on the winery. Here you’ll be encouraged to pair your favourite wines with a range of cheese platters until you find a winning combination.
For something a little more refined, step into the Flame Hill Restaurant and let the resident chefs guide you through a tour of their locally sourced produce in such a way that will have you reluctant to leave. The seasonal menu will keep serial-visitors excited to see what’s to come with every stay.
Must-Try: 2016 Traprock Chardonnay
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