Location: Wyberba via Ballandean, Granite Belt Wine Country, Queensland
What year did you begin making wine?
“2012 here on Girraween Estate”
What made you decide to become a winemaker?
“Change of career from Chemical Engineering after completing a Masters degree in Wine Technology and Viticulture through the University of Melbourne via Dookie Ag College in Shepparton.
Oh, and a love of wine!”
What did your introduction to winemaking look like?
“3 tonnes hand picked grapes bucketed into a crusher and pressed through a basket press. All very labour intensive, but truly authentic winemaking!”
Did you have a career before?
“Previous 25 year career as a Chemical Engineer in big and small companies in chemical production and new projects as an engineer and project manager”
What does your day-to-day actually look like?
“Depends on the season, but usually starts at sunrise and ends at sunset.
In summer and autumn, it is crazy with crushing fruit, processing grapes and wine and bottling finished product.
In Winter it is up early to get the vineyard pruning and in Spring it is looking after the early growth of the vines, training the vines in the vineyard, spraying to keep the vines healthy and slashing to keep the property looking neat.”
Tell us about the products and what if anything you are best known for…?
“Well known by Granite Belt aficionados for Cabernet Sauvignon, for Shiraz and Sparkling wines”
Do you have a favourite product, or one you are most excited about?
“Shiraz Cabernet – a great Aussie blend and a wine that we do exceptionally well, with many medals and a trophy as best Queensland red wine at the National Australian Small Winemakers Show.
From our vineyard, the Shiraz is beautiful red berry fruit and Cabernet has great tannins, giving the wine structure and complexity. Our 2019 Shiraz Cabernet is the best wine I have produced.”
Do you have a favourite tool in your trade, that you just couldn’t live/work without?
“Couldn’t live without my tractor, wireless head phones or the Bose wireless speaker in the Winery.”
What do you wish everyone knew about your wine?
“That we are truly authentic – every wine is hand crafted and Lisa and I do all the vineyard work, winemaking and bottling. The results from our wines in National shows has been astonishing for the quality and consistency of the results.”
When you’re not winemaking, what do you like to do out and about on the Granite Belt?
“My two hobbies are golf – I play at Tenterfield golf course whenever I can and Astrophotography, I have a sliding roof observatory on site for clear nights.”
Where can we find you Steve…
Girraween Estate is open 10am to 5pm weekends and public holidays and on every visit you can be sure you’ll meet Steve and/or his partner Lisa who is equally hands-on in the business.