Queensland

About

Queensland Wine Regions


Isolated and breathtakingly beautiful, it is no surprise that Western Australia’s wine regions yield such captivating wines. From world-famous Margaret River, with its coveted cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, and flagship blends of sauvignon blanc and semillon, to the Great Southern, which has fast gained serious clout for its pristine wines, there are so many regions and styles to explore.

While the Swan Valley is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, the state’s other regions have achieved a great deal in a relatively short time – at least when compared with other regions. In 2017, Margaret River celebrated 50 years since its first vine plantings, yet it’s one of our most recognised and decorated regions. It also has about 150 wineries, all focusing on what the region does best.

Great Southern is even younger, but with a wealth of wines carrying the indelible stamp of the vast region, across everything from pinot noir and chardonnay to shiraz and more. Then there are other areas like Pemberton and Geographe, where producers are also continuing to fine-tune their regional offering.


Discover the the wine regions of Queensland with James Halliday's Wine Atlas of Australia


The Queensland wine industry was growing faster – in terms of the numbers of producers – as at 2005 than any other state, albeit from a low base. In 2001 there were 39 wineries; by the end of 2004 there were 143. The annual crush has risen from 500 tonnes in 1998 to over 5000 tonnes in 2005.

Nor has the spread been confined to the two formally recognised regions, the Granite Belt and the South Burnett, with 48 and 16 producers respectively. In the Queensland Wine Industry Strategy released in December 2004 by the Minister for Wine (yes, there is such a person) six other regions (unofficial) were identified. They were Darling Downs (12 wineries), Gold Coast and Hinterland (15), Central Queensland/North Burnett (11), Sunshine Coast and Hinterland (15), Brisbane and Scenic Rim (10), D’Aguilar Ranges (five), and Western Downs including Maranoa (four). However, the major part of the total 1300 hectares of vineyards falls within the Granite Belt (400 hectares), South Burnett (300 hectares) and Darling Downs (100 hectares).

In the foreseeable future, only the Darling Downs would seem likely to be able to pass the threshold requirement – at least five separate vineyards producing at least 500 tonnes of grapes a year – for registration as a new Geographic Indication. It also happens to be Queensland’s next logical area in which to grow grapes on a commercial scale (after the Granite Belt and South Burnett).

As in so many parts of Australia, there were significant wine grape and table grape plantings in Queensland by the middle of the nineteenth century; table grape production has continued as a profitable industry through to the present time, but wine grapes withered on the economic vine as first Federation (and the removal of tariffs) and then the First World War shifted the dynamics.

Whether the rate of growth in the first half of this decade can be maintained to 2010 is very doubtful; indeed, the medium-term question may be whether the present level of activity can be sustained. A tropical climate, with summer the wet season, winter the dry season, presents formidable challenges for viticulture. The Granite Belt is clearly the best region in Queensland, and can produce wines of international standard; South Burnett can do so in some vintages by some growers. The list doesn’t necessarily stop there, but lifestyle tourism will be the key to the wine industry’s survival and growth.

Facts

Regions 5
Wineries 116
Tasting Notes 2450