Wine and dine time

Cel­lar doors help ed­u­cate about the grape-grow­ing process

Central and North Burnett Times - - TRAVEL - BY Tom Thread­ing­ham The writer was a guest of South­ern Queens­land Coun­try Tourism.

ALTHOUGH Kin­garoy and the South Bur­nett have long been known as the home of qual­ity peanut prod­ucts, a closer look quickly re­veals a much more di­verse feast for the trav­eller’s taste­buds.

Nes­tled in the tran­quil coun­try­side and only min­utes from the heart of Kin­garoy is row upon row of some of the state’s finest vines.

The re­gion’s Mediter­ranean cli­mate is ideal for grapevines, so it’s no won­der the South Bur­nett has be­come home to many wine­mak­ers ea­ger to cap­ture a unique Queens­land flavour in a pleas­ing range of reds and whites.

In terms of food, the re­gion is also home to many lo­cally grown gourmet prod­ucts and bou­tique farm­ing op­er­a­tions that in­clude beans, ca­pers and more. The area is also a pork hub, with the coun­try’s largest pig pro­cess­ing plant, Swick­ers, in Kin­garoy.

Coun­try pubs and restau­rants are spread across scenic lo­ca­tions in the re­gion and have taken ad­van­tage of the qual­ity pro­duce to dish out great meals.

Nat­u­rally, peanuts re­main a big part of the re­gion and the vast ar­ray of prod­ucts that con­tinue to be crafted from the hum­ble legume is mind-bog­gling. There’s flavoured peanuts, peanut oils, and even peanut flavoured liqueurs.

All of this com­bined with the clas­sic peace and quiet of the coun­try­side trans­forms the South Bur­nett into a great es­cape for the food and wine lover.

As I re­cently dis­cov­ered, the bur­geon­ing food and wine scene in the South Bur­nett is an ex­pe­ri­ence wor­thy of a week­end trip, with vis­i­tors like my­self taken on a joyride of the senses as they wine, dine and recharge.

There is plenty of ac­com­mo­da­tion in town for those ea­ger to ex­plore the South Bur­nett, and more pri­vate and homely set­tings are only a few min­utes away.

If you’re chas­ing some­thing that truly cap­tures a coun­try feel, Deshons Re­treat is worth a look. On the Booie Range, the self-con­tained room is com­pletely iso­lated to pro­vide vis­i­tors with their own pri­vate piece of the coun­try­side with amaz­ing views. I found it a great es­cape from the hus­tle and bus­tle of life and the ul­ti­mate base from which to ex­plore the re­gion.

It’s not far to the first stop on the wine trail ei­ther, with Crane Wines only a short walk or drive away. It is a fit­ting in­tro­duc­tion to the re­gion’s wines be­cause Crane was the first win­ery to open its doors in the South Bur­nett.

Fur­ther up the road is the Cas­sis restau­rant with lo­cal wines and a de­lec­ta­ble feast of food crafted from lo­cal pro­duce. For those seek­ing a unique fine din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, Cas­sis’s menu will surely please you, as it did me.

Tast­ing great wine is one thing but learn­ing more about the metic­u­lous process be­hind each flavour helps peo­ple truly ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­forts of lo­cal wine­mak­ers.

Kings­ley Grove Es­tate is a fam­ily-owned and op­er­ated win­ery, with the en­tire pick­ing, fer­ment­ing and bot­tling process done on the prop­erty.

Jo and Si­mon Berry, who have taken on the fam­ily busi­ness, are keen to share the process be­hind some of the great wines of the South Bur­nett.

Be­ing a novice in the realm of good wine, I found the tour to be an in­ter­est­ing eye-opener into the tire­less ef­forts be­hind pro­duc­ing a good drop. The ex­pe­ri­ence was en­hanced with a tast­ing of some of the win­ery’s best reds and whites. Their Queens­land Sun­set and Queens­land Green are two wines worth a taste.

As I quickly learned dur­ing my trip, the South Bur­nett’s cli­mate mir­rors that of the Mediter­ranean, pro­duc­ing the ideal place to grow verdelho grapes. So much so that verdelho wine is a must-have for any South Bur­nett win­ery.

Mof­fat­dale Ridge near Lake Baram­bah is an award-win­ning win­ery that pro­duces a par­tic­u­larly great verdelho that is worth a taste at their cel­lar door while on your trav­els.

Nearby is the South Bur­nett’s largest win­ery, Clovely Es­tate, as well as Dusty Hill Vine­yard.

With lo­cal winer­ies also home to cel­lar doors and even restau­rants, it’s not hard for even an am­a­teur foodie such as my­self to broaden the palate and have a good time do­ing so.

When it comes to food and wine, the South Bur­nett has plenty to en­joy, and it can be hard to get a true taste for it all in one visit. How­ever, this is where lo­cal busi­ness Taste South Bur­nett steps in.

In Kin­garoy, Taste South Bur­nett is a gold mine of lo­cal wine and pro­duce, en­sur­ing that no mat­ter how long your stay, you leave hav­ing gar­nered a full taste of ev­ery­thing the re­gion has to of­fer.

PHOTOS: TOM THREAD­ING­HAM

The view from Deshons Re­treat in the South Bur­nett and, right, the cel­lar door at Crane Wines.

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