Ridgemill Estate owner and Granite Belt Wine and Tourism president Martin Cooper.
Ridgemill Estate owner and Granite Belt Wine and Tourism president Martin Cooper.

Normality is back on the menu

A LITTLE normality has returned to life following an out of the blue announcement from the State Government this weekend.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk fast-tracked the easing of social restrictions to allow up to 20 people in restaurants and bars as well as lifting all limits on intrastate travel.

It’s a huge boost to businesses on the Granite Belt, with wine tastings and accommodation houses welcoming business already.

Queensland Wine Industry Association president Mike Hayes said he was caught off-guard by the announcement.

“I got a call on Friday night,” Mr Hayes said.

“Come Sunday morning I heard on the radio that laws had changed again.

“If I’m on the outside looking in it’s a reactive instead of proactive approach.

“I think if they hadn’t come out with something it’d be political suicide.

“But now it’s open slather. I do perceive there will be a lot of people returning to the Granite Belt this weekend,” the QWIA president said.

Wineries can now have tastings, hotels and motels can check in as many guests as they like and the natural beauty of our national parks is there for all to see.

Granite Belt Wine and Tourism president Martin Cooper said it’s a weight off the shoulders and the bank balance.

“Luckily GBWT last week sent out a template for COVID management and compliance so our members were ready,” Mr Cooper said.

Heritage Estate Wines owners Therese and Robert Fenwick are ready to welcome more people back in. Picture: FILE
Heritage Estate Wines owners Therese and Robert Fenwick are ready to welcome more people back in. Picture: FILE

“We got that out there expecting to be ready for June 12 so we were all scrambling to what was necessary to open on Saturday.

“The phone haven’t stopped today.

“Obviously there’s a lot of pent up demand for people wanting to get away and what better place than the Granite Belt.”

Australia’s highest altitude five-star winery, Heritage Estate, is chomping at the bit to get people back through the doors.

Owner Therese Fenwick, said they’re ready to go with some beautiful wine and food courses.

“Everywhere needs a point of difference and nowhere has a wine district like us,” Ms Fenwick said.

“Naturally we’re delighted. One wonders at the sens of forethought from the government though.

“We’ve been all over the COVID-19 plan so nothing will come as much of a surprise to us,” she said.

The winery will continue their live music, food and tastings this weekend.

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