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Grazing the Granite Belt

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Andrew: Look, if you’re into food and/or wine, they’re not mutually exclusive, you could be into one or the other. If I’d put a suggestion, if you’re into wine, you probably should have a good meal to go with it. But there’s two days of lazy grazing across the Granite Belt. That’s Queensland’s premier wine and food region. Now this also comes with, if you’ve been watching, listening, haven’t been hiding under a rock, out around the Granite Belt there’s been some areas that have been doing it fairly tough, everything from water issues.
It’s been widely reported that heading towards Christmas, we’re looking down the barrel of potentially running out of water, but also fires came through the area, but there’s a saying that Darrell’s got and he’s on the line that well, they may be low on water, but they’re certainly not low on wine and tourists should get out there regardless because now’s the time to enjoy everything that the Granite Belt has to offer, but also take advantage of the wines, the foods and the lazy grazing. Darrell, how are you going?

Darrell: Oh, good morning, Andrew. Going really well today. So how are you travelling?

Andrew: Yeah, really, really good. Now we’ve also got Leanne Piglissy on the line and she’s going to talk all about this. Darrell, have a chat with her.

Darrell: Good Morning Leanne, thanks for coming on the show.

Leanne: No problem. Thanks for having me.

Darrell: No Problem. Leanne, I’ve been going out the Standsill. I used to go out there 10 years ago and it’s all nice and green and recently I’ve just been back on the road again out there and I was just absolutely devastated to see how brown it is. I went for a drive up there last Monday to Hill Winery and I couldn’t believe that river is bone dry, but in the hailing data that is riding on the why we hope. We assume, we’re praying for that, but you’ve got together and the ninth and 10th of November you’re going to be the day to claim and grazing on the granite belt. Tell us a bit about that.

Leanne: So it’s an event that we’ve been running for about seven or eight years in autumn and this year was the first year that it’s sold at in Autumn and we really were excited that people have caught onto what we’re trying to do as a group of wineries together. So we thought when you know, after the fires tourism numbers started to drop and we thought, well you know what, it’s a fairly simple event that we could get together again and make it happen quickly. So we decided to do spring grazing in the granite belt as well. So we’re really looking forward to hosting it. What we do is 10 wineries have got together, we provide entree sized meals of different types of food and met with various wines that the winemakers put together with the food and you can purchase a ticket, you get on a bus, hop on, hop off bus all day Saturday.
It just does the rounds of the 10 wineries and you can get on and off wherever choose. You can choose to have one meal at one winery and a meal at another winery. You might decide to stay because some of the wineries you book entertainment on as well and you can taste all day in does see what we have to offer. Then on the Sunday morning we have breakfast with the winemakers down in standup down by the Creek. So it’s a very pretty setting. We just have a very casual barbecue breakfast and that’s why you can come and chat to the winemakers and pick up the ones that you purchased the day before. So what we’ve tried to do is make it a very easy event for people. They just have to arrive, hop on the bus, taste wines, make purchases, eat great food and then finish on the Sunday with a great breakfast with the winemakers. So it’s easy.

Darrell: And that’s the message we want to give to everyone. We’ve seen some great news reports with water being trucked into the programme and being distributed. I think those stories got people scared and I believe they were even cancelling their accommodations thinking there was no watering [inaudible 00:04:12] and the truth should still be coming out?

Leanne: absolutely. And you know, water is an issue. Luckily we had some rain over the weekend, which is certainly not drought breaking, but it gives us all a little bit of hope that the rain still will come and hopefully by the 9th and 10th of November there’ll be a lovely green tinge in the region and hopefully we’ll get a bit more rain before then, but there’s hope. I joke with my customers every day. It’s, it’s all very good. You know, come down to the Granite Belt, but you need to shower with a friend.

Andrew: Hi y’all. I like that idea. This is that’s probably going to get me into a bit of trouble, but I’d like to also, I put a different…

Leanne: That’s how we’re saving water.

Andrew: All right, this is excellent. Well look, if I can just put a little bit of a different spin on it because Daryl, you and I have been talking about Stanthorpe for quite some time and as a result, Jody and I went for a drive out to Stanthorpe just to hang out. Not last weekend, but the weekend before. And it’s interesting because a lot of the news reports are and look, people need to know that there’s, there’s a challenge out through that region and that the community needs to get on board but or found a quiet magic to go out there on the same as you. I over the years, many years and have been travelling out there for work and also just to, I love that sort of area.
It’s great to for ride trips and all of that sort of stuff, but I found it really quite beautiful. Now, bear in mind some of the best artwork that sells for, you know, thousands and thousands of dollars is of the barren Australian desert and the settings and all of that sort of stuff now Stanthorpe and, and the Granite Belt area is nothing like that. But there’s something magic about it. It’s like it’s just a different Australian landscape, which will change again when it rains and really, Hey, let’s say it’s a limited edition. It’s going to rain, don’t miss out on it, get out to it now and check it out. But also enjoy and I love the idea of jumping on a bus because you know, responsible driving and all of that. You don’t need to worry about that. You can leave your keys somewhere and you can get on and off this bus. You can enjoy the wine, you can enjoy the food and then, or maybe overstepping the mark here. It sounds like there’s going to be community showers.
No, you can be on to your next fundraiser here.

Darrell: You told me lots of ways there, Andrew. I’m not sure where to go with that, but anything… Looking forward to this. Andrew, we’re looking at packing up ourselves and heading up to Stanthorpe to do a bit of a live stream out there. That’s our plan.

Andrew: Absolutely. Live broadcast. We want to be in the middle of this because this is, this is the sort of stuff where, you know, not just a local community, they definitely going to come together. There is no doubt about that. But people coming in and experiencing that region for the first time, there’s going to be magic in that and it’s going to be fantastic just to, just to play a small part in that, isn’t it?

Darrell: Oh exactly. Exactly. Looking forward to that one. So I’m, I climb of the 9th and 10th grazing on the Granite Belt. What else can the people look forward to Leanne? How many wineries would you obtain altogether?

Leanne: So yeah, there’s 10 wineries participating and you know, it’s just, it’s, it’s such a great event because it is easy. And I think that people get a bit confused about, you know, Oh, well what do we actually do? You just get on the bus and enjoy the day. The ticket price is $125 that includes full food vouchers and full wine vouchers. But that doesn’t mean you only get to taste four wines. You get to taste gone all day. The wine vouchers are to go with the food. So the winemakers taking the time to match the wine with the different foods from the different food producers and lots of it is locally sourced of course and delicious. So it’s good fun. And then on the Sunday the tickets are still valid at the participating winery. So if he didn’t use up all your tickets on the Saturday, you can still travel out by yourself.
The bus isn’t going, but you can still travel at and use up the rest of the vouchers. So most people go, Oh, it doesn’t sound like that’s a lot of food. I can assure you this is Stanthorpe and we don’t let anybody go hungry. So meal choices are pretty varied, but they’re always a good meal. So lots of people end up using them on Sunday. And you were just talking about the beauty of the region in this drought. We’ve had lots of people head to Girraween National Park people who’d been out there many times before. And they are saying exactly the same thing. They’ve seen parts of the park that you don’t normally see. The boulders are absolutely incredible. And we had lots of camera clubs coming out just to take images of the park in this condition.
And there is beauty in it. So you know, we’re certainly not down and out, everything is still happening. Yes we have a little less water. Yes we’re not as green as we normally. Yes you’ll see a few dead trees around the place. It’s just what’s happened, and we’re trying to get on with it. And the best way people can support us is to come at and spend money in out towns at our tourist attractions, at the cafes. That’s the best way people can help. And if you’re going to bring water and everybody is bringing water, could you please buy it in Stanthorpe?

Andrew: Oh beautiful. Yes.

Leanne: That would help at even the supermarkets. You know, one of the things happening at the moment is, we don’t have the backpackers in town that we normally do. So even the supermarkets are feeling it. So if you want to help out by your water here, if you want to donate to any of the places that are helping people with food, buy the food non-perishables buy them in Stanthorpe and hand them out when you’re here rather than bringing it with you. So that would really help at the town.

Andrew: Leanne that’s right. You articulate that so beautifully. Just for a moment, can you speak to the serious wine lover and just explain what type of wine that they can expect out across the Granite Belt.

Leanne: So you know, the ones that people are really, really interested in are what we call our Strange Birds. So, Strange Bird is a wine trail we created 14 years ago with the Granite Belt wine tourist association and it’s still going strong. The winemakers love the concept and a Strange Bird wine, there’s a few rules to be being named a Strange Bird. The grapes must be grown in the Granite Belt. The wine must be produced here and it must come from a variety that represents less than 1% of the national crush. So they are extremely rare. Here at Ballen Dana state, we’ve got a couple of very rare varieties. One in particular, we’re the biggest producer in Australia. There’s only about five of us growing it and we only produce 90 cases, which for us is a trial batch, but that makes us the biggest producer in Australia.
So it’s extremely rare and you know, you just won’t to taste this variety anywhere else in the country at the moment. And we’ve got lots of varieties like that and people love it. But the more unusual, the more rare the variety is the more they want to put it in their mouth. And all the wineries that are participating in grazing have got Strange Bird wines on the wine list. So some of them grazers have decided, you know, we want to make this one as Strange Bird grazing. So they only taste the Strange Birds. It’s just a, a little bit of a different take on what we, what we’re doing at here. It’s a very exciting kind of concept because the wines are just so unusual. And we have some big awarded wines as well.
Some of those alternate varieties had done very well here and in Australia and also internationally. So it’s really exciting that you can taste some of the best ones in the world here in Ballen Dana and the Granite Belt. Sometimes it surprises me, people just go, Oh that’s nice. But when you actually think about it, it’s pretty awesome, but you can taste some of the best wines of both varieties in the world here in the granite belt in Queensland. So we’re doing big things in the region and we know how good we are. We just have to convince everybody else of how good we are.

Darrell: Oh Leanne you had me at wine. I’m there.

Andrew: If you want to know a bit more about this. If you’ve been listening to this broadcast and you want to find out a bit more about the granite belt, you want to find out about this an event or maybe what else could be coming up you can phone 0746841226 or you can head to Facebook, which there’s a whole lot of information there. Www.Facebook.com/grazingthegranitebelt. There’s also a website, www.granitebeltwinecountry.com.eu and I think that has definitely been very well articulated, but it’s not just wine. It’s so much more. There’s I think it was mentioned there’s the coffee shops and cafe’s. We got a great coffee on a Sunday morning and a bite to eat right before we headed back out over to the coast, so definitely a road trip worthwhile doing. Get out there. Support, a local region, but you’re not just doing it for the sake of supporting a local region. You will be doing that, but you’ll also have an absolutely great time. Thank you very much for your time guys.