Elevated taste in Queensland's Granite Belt
Queensland's premier wine - and cool fruit - region
The Granite Belt region is home to a multi-million dollar horticultural and agricultural sector as well as to a modern and highly awarded viticulture and wine industry. It is also home to an increasing number of organic producers and is Queensland's apple and grape capital.
Covering an area of approximately 2,500 square kilometres and with a population of almost 10,000, the Granite Belt is situated on the western spine of the Great Dividing Range at an altitude of 600-1500 metres.
The orchards and vineyards of the Granite Belt are amongst the highest in Australia. As a food and wine producing area, the Granite Belt is unique in Australia for three reasons:
- Its northerly latitude, combined with its elevation, create severe winter frosts and Queensland sunshine during the ripening period resulting in intense flavoured apples, pears and stone fruit.
- The combination of cool weather and decomposed granite soils, create the conditions which produce Queensland's most awarded wines.
- These factors and the clean air combine to create an area favourable to growing a wide range of fresh produce. This is not a one crop fruit or vegetable region; nor is it a wine region with one single hero grape variety.
While not yet produced on a commercial scale, the region is also a proven area for almonds, carrots, chestnuts and prickly pears. Keen foodies will find wild asparagus and wild fennel and the foundations have been laid for the production of saffron and truffles.
Integrated pest management is widely practiced resulting in low use of chemical sprays and therefore is an ideal environment for the growing of clean, organic produce. The region is also situated within three hours of major population centres in Queensland resulting in low food miles.
Heavy frosts are a routine part of every winter and the genuine four season climate has attracted a multi-cultural community to settle here. Many farm and then use recipes from their home countries.
The granite hills and native vegetation also provide a relaxed and stimulating environment for many creative and artistic settlers, as well as for nature lovers and organic producers amongst the many who wish to protect and preserve the environment.
While such a cosmopolitan mix of culture, nature, food and wine may be common in metropolitan centres, it is a rare find in regional Australia. Visitors can escape the coastal heat in summer, see the changing colours of spring and autumn and experience the cold, and occasional snow, of winter.
Outstanding local wines can be enjoyed along with fresh regional food, excellent accommodation, popular events and country hospitality in a fresh, clean environment. Combine this with the trend for the short break holiday and the Granite Belt is increasingly a destination of choice within south-east Queensland.
- Granite Belt (QLD)
- Southern Downs (QLD)
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