32nd Annual Queensland Awards

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The Queensland wine industry and wine lovers converged at The Queensland Cricketer’s Club on Wednesday 2nd September to celebrate the 32nd Annual Queensland Wine Awards.  Judging took place on Tuesday 1st September, so all were anticipating the results as presented by the Judging Panel, chaired by  Hamish Seabrook of Seabrook Wines / Kirrihill Clare Valley.

The evening commenced with guests tasting the wines that had been presented with delicious canapés of Panko crumbed prawns with basil infused aioli, Crispy polenta chip with sweet onion jam, and Smoked duck breast and spiced poached pear chutney. A spectacular view over the ‘Gabba oval set the mood.

The Supporter awards were presented first before an entrée of Sweet potato gnocchi with panfried chorizo in a reduce white wine cream sauce. Our congratulations and thank you to:

Craft Wine Store as the Most Supportive Retailer

David Curnow, ABC Radio as the Most Supportive Media Commentator

Regional Flavours, Brisbane Marketing as the Most Supportive Community Event

Andrew Corrigan MW presented the judges comments to the room, noting that the Alternative Varieties were a very strong field, and Verdelho and Shiraz were the standouts in the mainstream varieties. Six trophy wines were awarded, no champion sparkling or fortified were awarded.

Champion Mainstream Variety White Wine – Robert Channon Wines 2015 Verdelho

Champion Alternative Variety White Wine – Ballandean Estate 2015 Messing About Fiano

Champion Mainstream Variety Red Wine –  Clovely Estate 2012 Polyphemus Shiraz

Champion Alternative Variety Red Wine –  Golden Grove 2013 Malbec

Outstanding Wine of Provenance – Left Field Semillon 2010, 2013, and 2014, Clovely Estate

Champion Wine of Show – Golden Grove 2013 Malbec

After a filling main course of Roast Eye Fillet, the room was ready to settle back to congratulate the industry award winners. The Awards were presented by the Mayor for South Burnett, Wayne Kratzmann. This year Ballandean Estate Wines dominated by winning all categories.

Queensland Viticulturist of the Year – Angelo Puglisi – Ballandean Estate Wines

Queensland Winemaker of the Year – Dylan Rhymer, Ballandean Estate Wines

Queensland Cellar Door of the Year – Ballandean Estate Wines

Queensland Winery of the Year – Ballandean Estate Wines

Finally the Samuel Bassett Award was presented. This is the industry award recognising continual and consistent support for and within the Queensland Wine Industry. This year the award was presented to Mary Puglisi of Ballandean Estate Wines. Mary has been the public face of the Ballandean cellar door for many years as well as raising the next generation of passionate wine industry stalwarts.

The Judges were Hamish Seabrook (Seabrook Wines / Kirrihill Clare Valley), Andrew Locke (Warren Randall McLaran Vale), Chris Brace (The Brisbane Club), Jason Froman (La Reserve, Brisbane), Alan Hunter (Courier Mail, Brisbane), Cate Looney (Brown Brothers, Milawa). The Associate Judges were Michael Orchardson (Negociants Australia), Stefano Radichi (Clovely Estate), Jessica Ferguson (Sirromet), Tom Battle (Symphony Hill). The Chief Steward was Sandra Dean ably assisted by a team of volunteers. We thank Rob Learmonth for collating and publishing the results.

For all the pictures from the night, please head to our Facebook page – Queensland Wine, images are courtesy of Mel from Smak! Studio Photography.

We thank our sponsors for the evening – Winestate Magazine, The Queensland Cricketers’ Club, and Ede’s Salon. If you are interested in sponsoring a category at next years awards, please contact us via membership@qwia.org.au

QCC-Logo - Good Copy

Artwork - Ede's Salon Business Card August 2014 images-9

Raise a glass to Aussie Wine Month with Queensland Wine Week

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qww logo 2015Queensland Wine Week (May 30 -June 7) will kick off on May 30th to join in the celebrations for Aussie Wine Month (May),  the country’s biggest annual celebration of Australian wine, with our first scheduled event being our Granite Belt   road-trip on Sunday 31st May.
Queensland Wine Week, now in its third year, joins forces with Aussie Wine Month, itself in its fourth year, to encourage wine drinkers to discover the diversity, quality and regionality of Queensland wine, and share their discoveries by  including  #QLDWineWeek and #AussieWineMonth in their social media  posts.
We know Queenslanders love Aussie wine but what Queensland Wine Week is all about is discovering what’s on our own doorstep, something new to love, whether that’s the wines of a new winemaker or a grape variety they’ve never tasted  before.
A full list of Queensland Wine Week events including tastings, dinners, winery visits can be found on the website:- www.qldwineweek.com.au.

Share your experiences by including  #QLDWineWeek on social  media.
Twitter:    @QLDWineWeek
Instagram:   @QLDWineWeek
Facebook:    QueenslandWineWeek

Golden Grove Vintage Reserve Shiraz 2012

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Winemaker Ray Costanzo says 2012 is the best vintage he has seen on the Granite Belt. So much so he dedicated a new label to it – Vintage Grand Reserve.
Made from 50 year old vines, this is smart. Only medium weight, the best of it is yet to come.
Black fruits, some chocolate and varietal spice, a dab of white pepper and a hint of clove hold the fort. Cedary oak floats around effortlessly adding another dimension. There is some fruit sweetness but that only builds to a well layered palate.
I’d buy one for sure but I wouldn’t touch it for another couple of years. Cellar for up to ten years.
Very good.

Region: Granite Belt
RRP: $45


Review by Qwine  February 2015

Follow  @Qwine

Symphony Hill Wines wins trophy at Royal Melbourne Wine Awards

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In a major first for a Queensland winery, Symphony Hill Wines on the Granite Belt has been awarded a national trophy for its 2014 Gewurztraminer at the 2014 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards. Their 2014 Gewurztraminer was awarded Best Single Varietal White Wine. This is their fourth time they have been finalist for a trophy at Royal Melbourne and in fact their 2013 Gewurztraminer was finalist there last year.

They are making quite a name for themselves with this alternative white wine variety after their 2013 vintage was rated 5 stars by James Halliday and awarded trophy at Royal Brisbane Wine Show in July with chief judge PJ Charteris remarking that Symphony Hill Wines has set a new benchmark for Gewurztraminer in Austalia.

SH mel 2014Winemaker Mike Hayes was over the moon when he accepted the trophy at the trophy presentation dinner. “This is a career highlight that lifts Symphony Hill to yet another level. Trophies at national wine shows for successive vintages is rarely achieved by any winery. We have a great team, lead by our exceptionally talented assistant winemaker, Tom Battle. They invest so much into the winemaking at Symphony Hill and this is wonderful recognition of their efforts. You never stop learning in this game and it is great to see success for not only our mainstream varieties like our signature Reserve Shiraz, but also critical acclaim for our alternative varieties.”

“It has been quite an exciting 6 months where we have achieved trophies at two national wine shows and 6 new release wines rated 5 stars by James Halliday. After releasing our wines 10 years ago I think we can safely say we are off our L Plates.”

Mike Hayes was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research alternative grape varieties in Europe late last year and also gained valuable insights into how to add more texture to white wines. “We have other exciting wines being released shortly to our wine club members including Lagrein, Nebbiolo and Petit Manseng. It is exciting to see the wine landscape of Australia changing as people discover new exciting grape varieties.”

Owner of Symphony Hill Wines, Ewen Macpherson commented, “It is an amazing wine – It has jazz hands! The aromas of Turkish delight and lychees just rocket out of the glass like no other wine. With those sort of aromas many people tasting it for the first time think it is going to be a sweet wine but then they discover it is a beautiful dry wine with musk and spice on the palate. It is simply sensational when matched with spicy food. At our cellar door, where people get to sample our whole range of wines, it is our most popular white variety!”

“This award should be awarded more to Mike Hayes our winemaker, rather than Symphony Hill Wines. It was his excellence in viticulture that produced the quality grapes and his 30 years experience in crafting wines from vines that lead to the production of the best Gewurztraminer ever to come out of Australia.”

Wine industry honours Hayes

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HUMBLED BY AWARD: Winemaker/Viticulturist Mike Hayes was blown away to be awarded the Samuel Bassett award at the recent Queensland Wine Awards Photo Erin Smith / Stanthorpe Border Post Erin Smith

EMOTIONAL, humbled and shocked is how winemaker Mike Hayes described his reaction to winning the coveted Samuel Bassett award at the 2014 Queensland Wine Awards.

The award is presented to a person who, over time, has contributed to the advancement of the Queensland Wine Industry.

“It was a really surreal night,” Mr Hayes said.

“It was not until the drive home that it started to sink in. It was quite an honour, there are many people who are worthy of receiving this award.”

Mr Hayes said he never expected to be presented with the award in his lifetime.

The Symphony Hill winemaker has played a huge role in the Queensland wine industry, especially around the Granite Belt.

He has helped establish many successful wineries and also works to pass on his skills and knowledge to future generations through the Queensland College of Wine and Tourism.

“It shows that if you put your head down and work hard, good things can happen,” Mr Hayes said.

“However I would not have been able to achieve what I have without the support of my partner Andrea and daughter Jessica.

“They mean the most to me and are a huge part of why I have been so successful.”

Mr Hayes, who is a born and bred Stanthorpe man, also thanked his former teacher at Stanthorpe State High School, John Neville.

“John was instrumental in the early days at QCWT,” he said.

While Mr Hayes is back at work in the vineyard, he said the fact he had picked up this award was still sinking in.

“All the things I never thought would happen to me are coming true,” he said.

“But to be honoured by my peers is something everyone strives for.”

Mr Hayes also extended his congratulations to the other Granite Belt wineries that picked up awards at the 2014 awards.


Stanthorpe Border Post   Erin Smith | 12th Sep 2014

Golden Grove haul in the awards

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BIG WIN: Ray and Sam Castanzo show off their haul of awards from the 2014 Queensland Wine Awards Photo Contributed

GOLDEN Grove winemaker Ray Castanzo says the winery’s impressive haul at the 2014 Queensland Wine Awards is due to the hard work the whole team put in year after year.

This year on top of picking up three golds, three silvers and eight bronzes at the annual awards, Golden Grove were also named Queensland Winery of the Year.

Ray picked up Queensland Winemaker of the Year for the second time and his father Sam Costanzo was dubbed Queensland Viticulturist of the Year for the third time.

While impressed with all of the awards, Ray said having The Vintage Grand Reserve 2012 Durif named Champion Wine of the Show and Champion Alternative Variety was a big honour.

“This was the best buzz,” he said.

“It was judged by David Morris, a guru and legend in the industry when it comes to Durif.

“For him to rate it as highly as he did, is one of my biggest achievements.”

Golden Grove’s 2013 Chardonnay was named Champion Mainstream Variety – White Wine as well.

Ray said it was great to have their standard wines achieve as well as their alternative wines.

“It is all about consistency across the board,” he said.

“Every wine I make, no matter what the cost, I aim to make to the highest quality.”

Also picking up a champion wine award was Mason Wines for their 2014 Verdelho, in the under $20 category.

Mason Wines winemaker Anthony Rametta said he was happy with how they went.

Altogether they picked up three bronze and a gold for the Verdelho.

“You go into these awards not expecting to pick up anything, so when you do, it is a bit of a surprise and makes you a little bit happy,” Mr Rametta said.

Mr Rametta said he was happy to see the Verdelho pick up a gold.

“It is our biggest seller,” he said.

“I always knew it was a high-quality wine, but it was still a surprise to win.”

Stanthorpe Border Post  12th Sep 2014

Golden Grove Estate-Outstanding Success at Queensland Wine Awards

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Father and son combination of Sam and Ray Costanzo are setting the standard for Queensland wine. At the recent 2014 Queensland Wine Awards Golden Grove was named Queensland Winery of the Year with Sam Costanzo taking out Queensland Viticulturist of the Year and Ray Costanzo Queensland Winemaker of the Year. DSC_0838Of the 16 wines entered by Golden Grove 14 received medals. The Vintage Grand Reserve 2012 Durif was named Champion Wine of the Show and Champion Alternative Variety –Red Wine. The 2013 Chardonnay was named Champion Mainstream Variety- White Wine.

Other trophy winners were Lucas Estate – Champion Mainstream Variety-Red Wine with the 2006 The McKinlay Cabernet Sauvignon and Clovely Estate with the Outstanding Wine of Provenance with the 2009, 2010 and 2013 vintages of their Leftfield Semillon.

Sirromet Wines was named the Queensland Cellar Door of the Year. Cellar Door of the Year was strongly contested with all entrants showing a high level of service, knowledge and presentation. Supporter Awards went to Craft Wine Store (Retailer) , Aria( Restaurant). Social media (SteveLeszcznski, QWine), Press media (Des Houghton, Courier Mail) and Community Event ( Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers).MH sam bassett 2014

The Samuel Bassett Award for outstanding contribution to the Queensland wine industry went to Mike Hayes, winemaker and viticulturist at Symphony Hill Wines and Vine to Wine Consultancy. The Queensland Wine Awards is a celebration of the industry –its wines and its people. In its 31st year the Awards showcases the wines of producers from the many regions of Queensland and gives recognition to achievements within the industry. The Awards are organised by the Queensland Wine Industry Association.

See all results of 2014 Queensland Wine Awards……

Sirromet Wines boss declares war on Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc

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Daily Wine News 28/03/2014

Sirromet Wines owner and founder Terry Morris has declared war on the tidal wave of New Zealand-made Sauvignon Blanc flooding Australian markets.

The Gold Coast-based businessman is urging fellow Queenslanders to help turn back the invasion by switching to locally-produced Verdelho as an alternative white wine.tm sirromet

“It is time for us to ditch the imports because right now three out of every four bottles of Sauvignon Blanc sold in Australia are from New Zealand,” Morris said.

“Queenslanders need to take a stand and protect local jobs and support our wine industry in the same way we get behind our sports teams against the Kiwis.

“Queensland is recognised as producing some of the best Verdelho wines in Australia, and it’s a variety that thrives on our Granite Belt soils and the cool climate there.”

Morris said Sirromet’s battle plan to counter New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc invasion was spearheaded by a newly-released 2013 white wine labelled ‘Verdelho Blanc Grand Reserve’.

“This is a 100 per cent Queensland Verdelho in every way,” he said.

“We included the word ‘Blanc’ on the label to alert customers this is something to try instead of buying yet another Kiwi import and looking after jobs over there.”

Sirromet’s 2013 ‘Verdelho Blanc Grand Reserve’ is made from fruit from the company’s Night Sky Vineyard, located at 820 metres elevation at Ballandean on the Granite Belt.

The wine was produced, bottled and labelled at Sirromet’s headquarters at Mount Cotton, near Brisbane, under the direction of chief winemaker Adam Chapman.

“There are more than three million adults in Queensland and if they each bought one bottle of local Verdelho from Sirromet or other wineries around the state then it will create jobs here,” Morris said.

“Why should we keep supporting jobs in New Zealand when we have more than 50 wineries in Queensland who employ people who spend their money with other local businesses?”

Wine Australia reports that 32 million litres of Sauvignon Blanc was sold in Australia in the year ending July, 2013, and it was valued at more than $500 million.

New Zealand-made Sauvignon Blanc holds a dominating 73 per cent of Australia’s sales value market share of the variety.

Australia now imports more than 83-million litres of wine annually, with 62 per cent from New Zealand, including 87 per cent of imported white wines.

Photo Source Courier Mail

Granite Belt 2014 Apple and Grape Festival a Huge Success

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The Granite Belt community delivers stellar festival to a crowd of 60,000

Huge visitor numbers, fantastic entertainment, incredible fundraising efforts and a massive celebration of regional food and wine have the Granite Belt community asking – was this the best Apple & Grape yet?

gg apple and grapeWeeroona Park was alive over the weekend with a diverse range of food and award winning Granite Belt wine, as well as the all new Seasonal Harvest Marquee.

Food cooking demonstrations were also a hit with both Masterchef’s Emma Dean and Better Home and Garden’s Fast Ed cooking up a storm using fresh seasonal produce.cooking

Festival Entertainment Director Rosey Harslett said “we worked really hard to bring back the street festival feeling and making sure there was great entertainment throughout the CBD.  We have had excellent feedback from people saying that there was so much spirit and energy, and I think this was largely due to the line-up organised by Dave Murray.”


Images by Mel Kettle

Confessions of a Wine Tragic

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ADRIAN Tobin’s picturesque vineyard has run at a loss from the day he bought it 14 years ago.

“It’s true, we haven’t turned a profit yet,’’ he said, shrugging philosophically.

 “It cost us $3000 a week last year to prop it up. Some tell me I’m bloody mad. “I’m just a wine tragic.’’  

adrian tobinTobin, 72, runs his boutique Granite Belt winery at a loss because  he refuses to compromise on quality for quantity. Imperfect fruit is ruthlessly cut from the vines and left to rot on the ground. This  encourages a concentration of  flavours in the remaining berries. The wine improves, but volumes are low. It means Tobin Wines, on Ricca Rd at Ballandean, invariably sells out. Sometimes he doesn’t bottle at all if the fruit isn’t good enough.

Tobin is an artist and retired chemist who funds his “hobby”  via   his international firm, Urban Art Projects, with offices in Brisbane, San Francisco and Shanghai. UAP provides public sculptures and works of art for government and corporations. The profitable business is now run by his two sons.
Warwick-born Tobin (his father was a country schoolteacher so they moved a lot) was a chemist for 18 years. “I  became disenchanted when things came ready-made,’’ he said.  “I was reduced to a two-finger typist sticking labels on bottles. “Before then we made everything by hand to doctors’ instructions.’’

He purchased his 6ha vineyard from the Ricca family who grew table grapes.  Although Tobin has “retired” he works 100 hours a week.

 “It is an affliction. It has taken over my life,” he says without a hint of irony.

Tobin makes exceptional wines but refuses to jump on the publicity hurdy-gurdy. “I’m not on an ego trip like a lot   of winemakers,’’ he   says. “I don’t enter wine shows; couldn’t be bothered.”  As he speaks he swirls and sniffs   at his handcrafted Tobin Wines 2007 Isabella Semillon, a perfumed beauty that would stand alongside many of the Hunter Valley’s finest. Semillon is an unpopular variety that can be shy when it is young. It ages brilliantly, however, and is transformed into a toasty mouthful of complex, honeyed lime flavours.

Tobin is proud of his achievements and rightly so. He believes he has the oldest semillon and shiraz vines in Queensland. They were planted by Department of Primary Industries agronomists in the 60s.

Tobin also bottles tempranillo, merlot,  cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, verdelho and sauvignon blanc.

He’s happy to fly under the radar. Ironically, his neighbours include Golden Grove and Ballandean Estate, Queensland’s most decorated and commercially successful producers. “It’s all about quality for me,’’ he said. “I don’t sit comfortable in the wine industry. They say I am an obsessive-compulsive or anally retentive.

 “I don’t talk about making wine, I talk about growing it. Ninety-five per cent of winemaking happens in the vineyard. It’s all about the purity of grapes.

“I am a perfectionist which is madness in itself.”

“I am an artisan and the wine is an art form.’’ He believes the Granite Belt has the potential to be the leading wine region in Australia “We have only scratched the surface,’’ he said.

“We can make better cabernet than the Coonawarra. It’s only vine maturity that we are lacking.

“This precious little patch of the universe is about to shake the wine world.“I might not be around to see it, but it will happen.’’

www.tobinwines.com.au     Courier Mail      Sat 08 Mar 2014