Granite Belt Famil

Handy resource for Granite Belt Wine Country famil February 2020…



View Final Itinerary:Grazing the Granite Belt



Monique Krause
mob: 0447 250 821


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Competition and Handy Guide by Kerri McConnel: Download Here


Sutton’s Juice Factory, Cidery & Cafe

10 Halloran Drive, Thulimbah Qld (opposite the BIG Apple!)
Open: 9.30am – 4.30pm, 7 Days

Facebook: @sutton’sjuice
Instagram: @suttonsfarm

A real working orchard owned by David and Ros Sutton in 1994 and still operated by them today.

Best known for their apple pies, handmade on the premises and served with their own special recipe of spiced ice cream.

Varias Restaurant

At the Queensland College of Wine Tourism

22 Caves Road, Stanthorpe

Facebook: @theqcwt
Instagram: @theqcwt

CEO: Peter O’Reilly

Varias Restaurant

Open Daily for Lunch
Open Friday and Saturday for Dinner
About Varias and view the menu, including the signature ‘Medley of Mains’ dish served with matching Banca Ridge wines.

Banca Ridge Wines

Banca Ridge Cellar Door and Winery is located at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism, adjacent to the restaurant. Banca Ridge Wines is the college’s own wine label – wines produced at the college.

Tours for the Public

Visitors can join a guided tour of the facility, finishing in the ‘Tastes of the Granite Belt’ room where they enjoy a wine tasting.  Guests will then enjoy a cooking demonstration in our display kitchen where you will have the opportunity to taste the finished product!  Thursday to Sunday, commencing at 10.30am – $10 per person.  …More about the tours


Best known for their apple pies, handmade on the premises and served with their own special recipe of spiced ice cream.

Stanthorpe Apple & Grape Harvest Festival

28 February to 8 March 2020
Held across 10-days.  Only on every 2 years.

Facebook: @appleandgrapefestival
Instagram: @appleandgrapefestival

Festival Photos

Download festival photos here (captions are in file names)


You’ve heard of counting your chickens … how about your apples and grapes? Stanthorpe is counting down the days – until the iconic Apple and Grape Harvest Festival launches on 28 February.

The welcome mat is ready to be rolled out for a bumper 2020 event.  Mother nature’s been doing her part – it’s apple season right now on the Granite Belt, where ALL of Queensland’s apple crop is grown, and the grapes will be perfect for picking in around a month, just in time for the festivities. The locals have been pitching in too  … the farmers, the winemakers, the chefs, and the everyday folk – to prepare to share this favourite time of year with visitors.

Festival President, Max Hunter, says the festival is a much-loved tradition.

“The Apple and Grape Festival has been ‘crushing it’ since 1966 – so we know how to throw a really good party.

“We’re lucky enough to live in a beautiful and fertile part of the world which produces premium quality apples and vines bearing grapes that our winemakers turn into Queensland’s leading wines – and we’re inviting everyone to help us celebrate the harvest”, he said.

From street parties, apple peeling competitions and busking in the streets to the famous antics of the barefoot grape stomp, there’s nothing quite like Apple and Grape! The festivities run over 10 days including two fun-filled weekends of entertainment.

Ashbern Farms

Strawberry Farm

2 West Road, Stanthorpe
Open: 9am – 4.30pm Wednesday to Sunday during strawberry season which is October to May.

Facebook: @ashbernfarms
Instagram: @ashbernfarms

Richard and Vicky are the onsite managers/farmers at Stanthorpe.
Farmer and co-owner: Brendon Hoyle also meeting us on the famil.

Ashbern Farms are owned and run by two Sunshine Coast families with two locations in Queensland allowing them to produce strawberries year round (the Sunshine Coast and Stanthorpe).

At the Stanthorpe farm visitors have the opportunity to observe a working commercial strawberry farm and pick their own delicious fresh strawberries straight from the patch.

The farm is free admission.  Pick-your own strawberries is purchased by weight picked.


Jamworks Gourmet Foods

7 Townsend Road, Glen Aplin
Open: 10am – 4pm Wednesday to Sunday

Facebook: @jamworksgourmetfoods
Instagram: @jamworksgourmetfoods

Owner/operators: Stephanie Ingall and Christine Hood (they apologise they were not available to meet us on the famil day).

Ridgemill Estate

218 Donges Road, Severnlea (near Stanthorpe)
Open: 7 Days

Facebook: @ridgemillestate
Instagram: @ridgemillestate

Owner/Operators: Martin Cooper and Michelle Feenan

Winemaker: Peter McGlashan

Won silver in the Deluxe Accommodation Category of the 2019 Queensland Tourism Awards.

Ridgemill Images

Dropbox link to images: coming soon

Essen Restaurant

2 McGregor Terrace, Stanthorpe
Open: for dinner Wednesday to Saturday

Facebook: @essenrestaurant
Instagram: @essen_eats_

Owner/Operator: Clarissa Pabst (it’s a family team, with Stu and Claudia also working in the business).

View the menu

The team strives to make food that showcases things that are ready in the garden as well as some of the finest artisan products from the Granite Belt region.

Essen – German/Austrian. noun; meaning: meal; dinner; food; cooking; to eat.

Ballandean Pyramid

A surprising giant stone pyramid in Granite Belt Wine Country.

Built from blocks of local granite, the pyramid stands 15 metres in height, 30 metres square at the base and contains 7,500 tonnes of rock. It was built using an excavator and dump truck and took eight months to complete.

Public Access

There is no public access onto the pyramid or the property surrounded it as this is private property.  Visitors best vantage point is approximately 25 metres from the base where they can stop by the roadside for a photo.

The public are allowed access onto the property on ANZAC Day, for a ceremony held here at sunset.

Why was it built?

According to wikipedia: The pyramid was built after a local resident, Peter Watters (Watters Vine Management Service), asked the land owner Stewart Morland what was to be done with the surplus amount of granite rocks that were excavated for land tillage, humorously suggesting that a pyramid could be constructed. Four hours later Morland decided to build the pyramid and contracted the work to Ken Stubberfield at a cost of $10,00.

Where is it?

South of Stanthorpe near the village of Ballandean on Jacobson’s road.

The pyramid can be seen through the trees along the highway south of Ballandean.

To reach the pyramid for a closer look, turn off the highway (eastward towards the Ballandean Tavern) on Eukey road, then turn immediately right onto Jacobsens Road.  Follow Jacobsons Road for 1.7km until you reach the giant pyramid on the right.

The pyramid sits on private property, so no approaching the pyramid, however the roadside is close enough to capture a view and a photo of this impressive site.

Washpool – Skin Wellness

16 Bents Road, Ballandean
Open: Tuesday to Sunday

Facebook: @washpoolskinwellness
Instagram: @washpoolskinwellness

Owner and head soap maker: Melissa Thomas

Washpool Farm Soaperie is the home of ethical, authentic and nourishing giftware and everyday home, bath and body care. Their handcrafted soaps and natural bath and body products are all handmade at the Soaperie in Ballandean, Queensland.

How the business began

Read Melissa’s story of the genesis of her business (which began at a farm in Roma): “To be honest, I was also struggling with my transition from an academic career to the isolation of the farm, and looking for worthwhile ways to keep my mind active. I was ready to start throwing myself into research again. It was also a pleasant diversion from more serious tasks like drought feeding, teaching distance education, book keeping and the myriad small tasks required on the farm. Around this time we moved to our current home, in Ballandean, in the heart of Queensland’s biggest wine-growing region.”  Read the full story here:

St Jude’s Cellar Door & Bistro

28200 New England Highway, Ballandean
Open: varies at times of the year, currently open Wednesday to Sunday

Facebook: @stjude’scellardoorandbistro
Instagram: @stjudescellardoorandbistro

Owner operator: Robert Davidson

St Jude’s is the name of the long-established vineyard across the road from the cafe, St Jude’s Lane, set up by Terry Morris [from] Sirromet.

The cafe is acting as a satellite cellar door for Sirromet.

The cafe opened on 29 April 2019.


Granite Belt Brewery

146 Glenlyon Drive, Stanthorpe Qld
Open: 7 Days

Facebook: @granitebeltbrewery
Instagram: @granitebeltbrewery

Owners: Dee and Geoff Davenport (the brewer)

Established in 2012.  ​Their ales and lagers are hand crafted onsite in their 1000 litre microbrewery.

Paola’s The Winemaker Kitchen

Robert Channon Wines

Facebook: @
Instagram: @


Hashtags, Handles & Links



Website call to action:

Granite Belt Wine Country

Facebook: @granitebeltwinecountry
Instagram: @granitebeltwinecountry
Twitter: @granitebeltwine
Hashtag: #granitebelt and #granitebeltwinecountry


You are travelling with Allan Foster, owner operator of Granite Highlands Maxi Tours.  They offer day tours on the Granite Belt, plus group tours ex Brisbane, etc.  View their tours

There are four companies in Stanthorpe who provide day trip bus tours to the wineries and cellar doors of the Granite Belt.  The day tours can also include stops at the two craft breweries, foodie stops of interest.

View all 4 Tour Operators

Direct links to find  out more about…
Granite Highlands Maxi Tours
Filippo’s Tours
Stanthorpe Tours
Wine Discovery Tours (specialising in luxury couples & small group tours)

For a tour at a slower pace, try something something different with the day trip cycle tours of the Granite Belt.  Granite Belt Bicycle Tours & Hire provide the bicycles and the gear required, plus a tour guide to show you the way and even pick-up of our purchases and even pick of you and your bicycle when you’ve travelled enough for the day!

Where is the Granite Belt & Getting There

Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt is located 2 hours drive from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. There are buses available, or self-drive by car or hire car.  …Read More



Stanthorpe is located just 2.5 hours drive south-west of Brisbane, near the Queensland and New South Wales border.

The Granite Belt region is small but diverse, stretching just 60kms from north to south and roughly half as wide. Dotted along the New England highway, the Granite Belt stretches from the small villages north of Stanthorpe, south to Wallangarra on the Qld/NSW border.

Distance from:
Brisbane……….. 230km
Toowoomba.….. 140km
Gold Coast…….  250km
Sunshine Coast.350km
Byron Bay…….. 260km

The Granite Belt Region is the same latitude as Byron Bay.


High Altitude

The Granite Belt sits high on a plateau of the Great Dividing Range, at Queensland’s coolest and highest altitudes. Its lowest point is 700m above sea level, and peaks at 1200m, making it one of Australia’s highest wine and fruit producing areas.

High Altitude Wines

At an elevation of 1000 metres above sea level, wines grapes take longer to ripen on the Granite Belt, ensuring luscious, full flavours with great diversity between individual vineyards. The Granite Belt is the highest wine region in Australia and almost 900 metres higher than Bordeaux in France or the Napa Valley in the USA.  Vineyards on the Granite Belt are planted at altitude 650 to 1000m.

The unique terrior with its longer growing season and deep granite soils, combined with the innovative approach of the region’s winemakers and vignerons, produces wines of elegance and complexity.  Cool climate wines as individual as a fingerprint.


Granite Belt Specialty: ‘Strange Bird’ Alternate Variety Wines

The Granite Belt has a growing reputation as one of Australia’s top producers of alternative variety wines – known here as ‘Strange Birds’. To be called an alternative, a variety must represent not more than 1% of the total bearing vines in Australia as defined by Wine Australia.

Enjoyed in Europe for generations, these alterative varieties are now emerging as Australian favourites due to their ability to match perfectly with our food preferences.

StrangeBird wines are available for tasting at more than 24 cellar doors on the Granite Belt.  View the Strangebird Alternative Wine Trail Map.


Four Distinct Seasons

Soaring altitude creates a region of four distinct seasons and a climate a world away from Queensland counterparts. Yes, it can even snow. It is the seasons that guide life in the Granite Belt with each changing season, so does the produce it reaps and rare experiences to be had.  Come for the cool summer nights or the apple blossoms of springtime.  Come for the red and gold of autumn trees and vineyards, or warm log-fires on crisp winter days – and on rare occasions you may even come to see snow.  Summer nights on the Granite Belt mostly drop below 20 degrees.


How Winemaking Began on the Granite Belt

Wine grapes were first planted on the Granite Belt in the 1860’s by the local Catholic parish priest, Father Jerone Davadi. Later many Italian families settled in the region and grew vines to make wine for their own consumption.  The children of those first pioneers studied at home and overseas, bringing with them a new enthusiasm for lesser known grape varieties.  The Puglisi family of Ballandean Estate are the longest operating winery in Queensland, having planted their wine grapes in the 1960’s and patriarch Angelo Puglisi is since widely heralded as the ‘Father of the Queensland Wine Industry’.


The Granite Belt – Known for Apples and Stone Fruit

The Granite Belt is a wonderful place to grow wine grapes, apples, strawberries and all kids of stone fruit and vegetables.  There are more apples grown on the Granite Belt than anywhere else in Australia.  Varieties grown on the Granite Belt: Royal Gala, Golden Del, Red Dels, Fuji, Pink Ladies, Grannys, Sundowners, Jazz and Jonathons.