Granite Belt wine operators keep taking hits while NSW rejoices

TODAY has been a good day for NSW winery operators with the state government announcing the return of cellar doors.

But over the border and closer to home, Granite Belt and Queensland wineries remain in the dark about their future.

From Monday, NSW wineries will be able to welcome in 50 guests for wine tastings according to NSW Wine Industry Association president Mark Bourne.

“We are delighted with the news and thank the NSW Berejiklian government for their hard work, support and collaboration with industry during these difficult times.

“The NSW wine industry has faced drought, fires and the pandemic all in a short period of time and we cannot wait to start to make some new, more positive, memories with the wine loving public.”

Similarly, Granite Belt wineries have faced the same trifecta of hurdles.

Queensland Wine Industry Association president Mike Hayes said the situation is “dumbfounding”.

“We’ve put an operational plan in to the Office of Liquor and Gaming to operate full tasting areas come June 12,” Mr Hayes said.

Queensland Wine Industry Association president Mike Hayes.
Queensland Wine Industry Association president Mike Hayes.

“Unfortunately we don’t know where we stand with the Premier and it’s quite disappointing our southern counterparts are being allowed to reopen.

“Queensland wineries are really hurting.

“Wineries are one of the main reasons people come to Stanthorpe so when the wineries are hurting the whole town hurts.”

While NSW have topped the nation for COVID-19 cases and Queensland’s has remained comparatively low, Mr Hayes is confused by the state government’s refusal to budge.

“It dumbfounds me to no extent. What we’re after is a fair go.

“I can’t understand how the state has got away with this segregation. There should have been one law nationally.

“It appears to me that state regulations are over ruling federal regulations.”

Mr Hayes said the Queensland Wine Industry needs assurances from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“I would love to see the state government come out and say you can start operating again in a week.

“You can walk into a supermarket or a Big W and all these other huge stores and see hundreds of people in there.

“So it’s just ludicrous,” Mr Hayes said.

Mr Hayes said the QWIA hope to have a response from the Office of Liquor and Gaming in the next few days.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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