South Burnett is among Queensland’s most celebrated regions, where wine lovers are spoiled for choice
Grape plantations were once the buzz of South Burnett more than 100 years ago, but a latter-day resurgence from winemakers and vignerons has breathed new life into the region to produce serious wines. Offering a range of styles, the region’s wines tend to reflect the easy-drinking, lively and food-friendly examples of Mediterranean counterparts. Guests can expect to taste regional favourites including verdelho, semillon and cabernet sauvignon, which are distinctive to the small wine region.
South Burnett is also home to artisan producers of homemade preserves, olives and capers, to name a few, helping this region to tick all the culinary boxes, in addition to warm, country hospitality. Soak up the region’s natural beauty in the Benarkin State Forest, or explore bushland, waterways and take up the chance to spot a platypus or two. In just over a three-hour drive from Brisbane, explore cellar doors, hike mountain ranges and soak up the views throughout South Burnett.
James Halliday on South Burnett
While the modern viticultural history of the South Burnett region dates back only to 1993, vines were first planted in the early 1900s, and wine for home consumption was made from some of these vines. Sue Crane’s (of Crane Winery) great-grandfather planted Shiraz in 1898, the vineyard remaining in production until 1970. As in the Granite Belt, table grapes were used both for winemaking and eating, and a small table grape industry has continued in existence since that time.
The countryside is varied, with continually changing vistas overlooking valleys or up to mountains and hills. Rich, red soils in many places contrast with the vivid green of grapevines and native vegetation alike. This is subtropical Queensland, with rainfall spread throughout the year, in fact more falling in the growing season than in the mild winters.
The town of Kingaroy is the geographical centre of the region, which is basically defined by the Blackbutt, Brisbane and Coast Ranges in the east, the Great Divide to the south-west and west, and gently declines to the Central Burnett and Burnett River to the north. The Stuart and Booie Ranges run south to north through the centre of the South Burnett, with undulating, rolling landscape to the Stuart and Boyne river plain in the west and Barkers Creek in the east.
The majority of the wineries are clustered around Kingaroy (the most important town) or Murgon (to the north). So far the western half has no wineries. Vineyards compete with all manner of farms, from peanuts to orchards to pigs to grains and the remnants of once-dominant grazing. A feature of the region is the very large Bjelke-Peterson dam, used extensively for boating and fishing in the holiday seasons.
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End January to early March
MARGARET RIVER wines to try
White | 2013
Clovely Estate Estate Reserve South Burnett ChardonnayClovely Estate
Red | 2013
Clovely Estate Estate Reserve South Burnett ShirazClovely Estate
Red | 2016
Nuova Scuola SangioveseNuova Scuola Wines
Red | 2016
Nuova Scuola NebbioloNuova Scuola Wines