Hard work pays off for winemakers
GIRRAWEEN Estate has won three silver medals and five bronze medals for their wines at this year's 34th Queensland Wine Awards.
Owner Steve Messiter said one of the silver medals had been for the winery's sparkling rosé which had already been selling well, along with other sparkling wines which were available at the winery's cellar door.
"We've started selling the sparkling rosé, and I've already sold a quarter of what I made. It is a really attractive wine with nice aromas and lovely fruit flavours. It's coming into summer, so we'll sell lots over summer.
"We won a swag of medals, which show our wines are of pretty good quality.”
Mr Messiter, who runs the Granite Belt winery with his wife Lisa, said the rosé had become especially popular in Queensland because it was a lighter style of wine and paired well with the warmer weather.
He said the other two silver awards were for the winery's reserve chardonnay, which was barrel-fermented, and a shiraz cabernet, which had also received accolades at other wine shows.
"It was good to have our wines benchmarked, and know that they're of a good quality.”
He said the Queensland Wine Awards presentation dinner on August 30 had been "good fun” and reflected the hard work of the region's wine makers. The awards attracted nearly 200 entries from throughout Queensland.
"It's a big, supportive evening, we get to taste the best Queensland wines, and it's a celebration of wines as well.”
Mr Messiter said that in 2008, he started studying a Masters degree in Wine Technology and Viticulture through Melbourne University and, in 2009, he purchased Girraween Estate.
He then he immediately began working on rejuvenating the vineyard, bought new wine-making equipment, and in 2012 began making wines on-site.
"Once I studied, I got the bug. And it's very gratifying to now get to the point where you're making good wines.”
Mr Messiter said the future of the Queensland wine industry was looking good, and the reputation of the Granite Belt's wines was strong.
"There seems to be increasing interest, especially with younger people from Brisbane. They like the story of where the wine comes from, which suits the Granite Belt wineries as there's a lot of families doing it for themselves here.
"We've got good stories in the region and people are interested.”
He said people were keen to support micro breweries, boutique beer and the idea of boutique wine, enjoying the story surrounding the beverages as much as the drink itself.
"Most people want to meet the people who make the wine, which they love.”
The community spirit and atmosphere of the region, Mr Messiter said, reminded him of an area in the north of Italy called Piedmont which he had recently visited, "walking around vineyard to vineyard tasting plenty of wine”.
He said the region was well-known for its agriculture and wineries, run by small families. They were also passionate about local food and produce.
"The community was right into wine making, and it's a huge food area too, especially for truffles. There's some great things in the Granite Belt food-wise, and it would be good if there was a few more.”