Harvest 2019 – How to be in the Right Spot!
Grape harvest season (aka vintage) is a what it’s all about on the Granite Belt – picking luscious wine grapes for fabulous wines! It’s a time to experience beyond wine tasting at cellar doors, where if you time it right you can get an authentic ‘behind the scenes’ look or even hands-on experience at wineries. Read on to find out how to be in that right spot in 2019…
Firstly, when is harvest on the Granite Belt?
Harvest kicks off around late January or early February for growers who have early ripening varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion and Verdelho. Late February and early March sees the aromatic whites, which as Chardonnay, Fiano and Voignier being harvested. Most reds like Merlot, Malbec and Shiraz are picked mid to late March, however some varieties such as Cabernet Savignon, Graciano and Montepulciano, can still be on the vines towards the end of April.
Join the Winemaker at Pyramids Road Wines
Join winemaker Warren Smith for a winemaking experience over the 2019 harvest season at Pyramids Road Wines, located on the southern end of the Granite Belt, 10km south of Ballandean.
You can be involved in all or one of the following activities – just depending on vintage timing:
· Join the winemaker in hand plunging the cap of fermenting red wine
· Experience the taste of fresh young juice or wine from the crusher or the press
· See the winemaker in action on Sunday mornings at the crusher
Here are the weekends that Warren and his wife Sue have earmarked as ideal times to visit them at Pyramids Road Wines to experience harvest season: 16/17 March, 23/24 March, 30/31 March and 6/7 April.
Warren and Sue do it all, from tending the vines, the whole wine production process and even pouring your glass at the cellar door, so be assured you’ll have both an authentic wine education and a visit with the friendliest, down-to-earth winemakers!
Be a Winemaker for a Weekend!
Become a winemaker for the weekend (literally!), this March at The Queensland College of Wine Tourism, in Stanthorpe. The QCWT are offering a very hands-on winemaking experience on the weekend 30 – 31 March 2019, inviting you to participate in the production of your very own wine at the onsite vineyard and winery.
In the ‘Winemaker for a Weekend’ program you’ll find yourself involved at every step of the winemaking process, from hand picking the grapes, to the crushing and pressing process, preparation, fermentation and the inoculation of the juice.
The winemaking is interspersed with informative master classes, delightful lunches and an incredible banquet style evening meal with matching wines. There’s even opportunity to return later in the season for the bottling and labelling of your wine!
Registration is essential and places are limited, so book ASAP. Cost: $350
Visit the Boutique Winemakers during Harvest
To hear the story of how harvest is progressing, who better to ask than the winemaker themselves and there are some Granite Belt wineries where you’ll find the person pouring your glass at the cellar door is actually the winemaker!
These boutique winemakers do it all, from grape to glass and a visit to their cellar door during harvest season is an ideal way to get the scoop on the harvest action. Here’s our tip for the best places to start for meeting the winemaker this harvest season: Bungawarra Wines, Casley Mt Hutton, Girraween Estate, Jester Hill Wines, Pyramids Road Wines and Ravens Croft Wines.
At Casley Mount Hutton Vineyard and Winery Grant and Sonya Casley treat all their customers to a wine tour experience and during harvest you can join them to look at what ever is happening on the day. Their cellar door is in the winery and overlooks the vineyard and they are open Friday to Monday 9.30am to 4.30pm, plus everyday during school holidays and public holidays. The beauty of a small winery – Grant and Sonya say that at other times, just give them a call on their mobile to arrange a visit as they are usually always at the winery (now that’s an authentic country welcome!) mob: 0427 099 981. You’ll find them 13 km west of Stanthorpe at 94 Mount Hutton Road.
Download the Strange Bird Wine Trail Map to find dozens of cellar doors.
Join the 2019 Harvest Dinner
Summit Estate is just north of Stanthorpe at Thulimbah and will host a stunning evening on April 13. From 4pm, enjoy an evening in the vineyard with barrel tasting and later an open campfire (weather permitting).
Professional event decor provided by Peta Murphy Warwick Weddings & Events will set the stunning backdrop to an evening of fine food by Claudia Sibley “Sibley Delicious”. Click here to view the dinner menu and full event info
Tickets: $150 ($130 for Alto Members). Bookings and payment Cellar Door 46832011 (final bookings by Friday 29th of March).
Tasting with the Winemaker
If you’re on the Granite Belt midweek here’s a new opportunity being offered at Ridgemill Estate. Book a midweek tasting with the winemaker Peter McGlashan and you’ll find yourself trying a special selection of Ridgemill Estate’s wines while enjoying a cheese platter.
Your own audience with the winemaker himself – what better way to get the scoop on how vintage 2019 is looking at Ridgemill Estate and at $15 per person we think it’s an experience not miss!
Available midweek. Subject to availability and bookings are essential.