South Burnett wine destined for Asian tables

Back in August the South Burnett Wineries played host to Hong Kong’s Wine Luxe magazine write Nelson Siu.

To read the full story click on the link


South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival

The South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival is on again this Saturday 11th March at Memorial Park, Kingaroy.

This is the festival’s 18th year and is a great way of showcases the best of South Burnett wine and food. The event starts at 12 noon and runs till 8:30pm and will have eight hours of live entertainment including street performers and top music acts.

Kevin Liepins a freelance writer has wrote a great article for Weekend Notes on the festival. CLICK HERE to read.

Entertainment at South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival - image from the South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival website

Entertainment at South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival – image from the South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival website

Enjoy wine tastings at the South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival - image from the South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival website

Enjoy wine tastings at the South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival – image from the South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival website

Wake Up in Wine Country

There’s no better feeling than escaping the city on a Friday afternoon for a weekend away discovering the cellar doors, restaurants and cool natural places of Southern Queensland Country’s wine trails. Here is a weekend intinary taking in the South Burnett Wine Trail.

It’s so easy to wake up in wine country!


Take an early mark and hit the highway out of town. En route stop in at Blackbutt’s famous Wood-fired Bakery for some crusty bread and a sweet treat and Taste South Burnett in Kingaroy to stock up on  local goodies – olives, olive oil, caperberries and their hand-made fudge.

Check in at Crane Wines B&B overlooking the cool Booie Range. Do a cellar door tasting with winemaker Bernie and select a bottle to enjoy with dinner.

Settle in and cook your own barbecue (Crane’s BBQ packs include beef, chicken or Barkers Creek Pork, salad, potato bake and dessert).

Retire to your verandah to enjoy the twilight views over the vines. Star gazers may like to book a night sky tour with Kingaroy Observatory


Head into Kingaroy for a hearty country breakfast at  local favourite Utopia Café.

After breakfast, pop into Kingaroy Art Gallery to catch an exhibition by local artists and don’t miss their gallery shop, a hub for artisan jewellery, ceramics, textiles and woodwork.

En route to lunch, drop into local icon The Peanut Van for a range of delicious locally grown flavoured peanuts.

Lunch is 10 minutes out of town at Kingsley Grove Estate, which offers cellar door wine tastings with winemaker Simon,  delicious house-made wood-fired pizzas and delectable wine ice cream handmade by Pat – the perfect finish!

For the afternoon head back to Cranes to relax on your verandah with a good book or put on your walking shoes and head for the trails of Yarraman State Forest.

For dinner take a lead from the locals who rave about the views and food at Cassis at Booie, just a few minutes’ drive or 10 minutes walk from your cottage (take a torch if you plan to walk!)


Relax on your verandah overlooking the vineyards while you cook your own breakfast;  Crane’s breakfast pack includes country cured bacon, local sausages, eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms.

Mid-morning check out and make your way home via the northern South Burnett Wine Trail visiting the cellar doors at Clovely Estate, Moffatdale Ridge, Bridgeman Downs and Dusty Hill Wines.

On the way home:

  • Nature lovers may like to visit Wooroolin Wetland – a brilliant walking and birdwatching spot. Photographers will love the eerie stands of trees in the tea tree-stained water.
  • Ask Cranes Winery to pack you their famous Lazy Lunch Picnic Basket brimming with local gourmet goodies and a bottle of house bubbles, then make for Lake Barambah which offers peaceful waterside picnic spots and great freshwater fishing.
  • Other lunch options include a top counter meal at The Wondai Hotel, lunch overlooking  the vines at Dusty Hill’s Pendergast’s Tavern.

Take your time and savour the South Burnett.


WORDS: Jane Hodges


This year has been a vintage of two stories, all about the weather but with differing results. We were told to expect an El Niño this summer which means reduced rainfall. Obviously this is not ideal for any form of agriculture. With grapes requiring watering, particularly in the early part of the season when the vines are coming back to life and then when the fruit is developing. The latter part of 2015 brought us timely rainfall and cooler conditions – perfect for the Kingsley Grove Estate vines!

So here is the first part of the story….

The results of the mild spring weather in our vineyard were excellent, good canopy growth on the vines and optimal conditions during fruit set. It was shaping up to be our best vintage since 2006, both in quantity and quality. Even with a hailstorm that probably meant a 10% loss in crop, we were lucky with it happening early enough in the season that grapes were still relatively small and still quite hard. This meant damage was limited to the few grapes that were hit by the hail.

Despite the good start to the season, all the same pressures were always possible. So as not to take any chances we followed a religious spraying program to prevent any disease later in the season and we netted at the first sight of the birds, which always arrive in ones and twos at the start of season and then multiply quickly as the grapes start to get sweet and irresistible!

So, all sensible precautions taken, we started picking a bit later than in many previous years thanks to the milder weather, on 14th January.

We began with the early picks, some of our Semillon for our unique Queensland Green wine and Chardonnay for sparkling Brut which we call Tingle. We are fortunate to have our own mechanical harvester so we can pick at night, which is best for the grapes. We also had the opportunity to hand pick a small amount of our new Pinot Grigio to add in to the Chardonnay, to make a classic style sparkling. The results in the winery are very exciting and these wines will likely be in bottle by the end of February 2016.

We then moved on to our Verdelho just a few days later, and once again we were blessed with some beautiful fruit which we can see has already produced one of our best Verdelhos yet!

Now for part two of our story….

Then began the summer rain, which we were supposed to have this year. It did not cause too much drama with the next picks on the schedule but now is putting some pressure on the quality of red wine grapes. With the Semillon and Chambourcin safely picked just before the rain started we have hardly any white grapes left on the vine, just those we leave on late for our fortified white wines.

We went from showers, to storms, to rain pretty much every day and the red grapes are not happy with the persistence of the strangely wet El Niño weather pattern. Most of them are still going along okay, but our Sangiovese is not happy at all. This variety has large berries and closed bunches so don’t cope so well with the rain. They are not as quick to dry as more open bunched varieties and have thinner skins which do have the same resilience as the smaller Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet grapes.

The Sangiovese is very important to us; it will make 4 different wines this year, some of which are our best-selling wines. The saving grace this year is that they are yielding a lot of fruit, so with some more careful picking we should be able to still get a good result, just losing a fair bit of quantity. Having said that, we plan to pick the Sangiovese and the Merlot on the 5th February….if only the rain breaks for long enough for the grapes to dry and for us to get them off the vine. So we watch the weather radar hourly, read the forecasts daily, and pray for good fortune.

Once we get past these then we just have to worry about the Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and late picks for the fortified wines. Needless to see, we will be happy when all the fruit of labours are under the broad roof of our winery.

wine icecream

Kingsley Grove Estate

Simon Berry.