WINE TIME: Jon Heslop, of Witches Falls, sources his grapes from the Granite Belt.
WINE TIME: Jon Heslop, of Witches Falls, sources his grapes from the Granite Belt. DEIRDRE SMITH

Starring role for Granite Belt

THE man behind one of Australian wine's 5 Red Star success stories, Witches Falls' Jon Heslop, believes the Granite Belt is starting to achieve the recognition it deserves as a premium wine-making region.

Mr Heslop started Witches Falls Winery 15years ago.

Based at MtTamborine in the Gold Coast hinterland, but sourcing all its grapes from the Granite Belt region, Witches Falls has achieved strong growth in recent years and is widely considered one of Australia's top craft wine labels.

Mr Heslop said part of his brand's success was a growing appreciation of the Granite Belt, both nationally and internationally, as a producer of premium-quality grapes.

"For too long the Granite Belt has been incredibly underrated as a wine region,” he said.

"However, especially over the past decade, the proof is there for everyone to see.”

"The Granite Belt is the source of truly international-class wines and slowly that recognition is seeping through.”

The winery sources all its grapes, up to 200 tonnes a year, from the Granite Belt and the winery has been awarded the significant 5Red Star status in the industry bible's Halliday Wine Companion for the past four years.

Even with domestic growth and an expanding international profile, Witches Falls maintains a strong local ethos with a focus on southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales.

The label will be the official wine supplier for the upcoming Primex primary industries expo at Casino in northern NSW from May16-18.

Primex attracts numerous exhibitors and plenty of visitors from the Granite Belt each year.

"The region from Casino north through Tenterfield, Ballandean and Stanthorpe is very receptive to our wines,” Mr Heslop said.

"We have always been about supporting local and particularly through this area. We are about local and people are embracing local again.

"People love the story behind their product. They like to know the how, where and why.

"They like a bit of ownership with it.”

Mr Heslop said Witches Falls would showcase a couple of its new-release reds at Primex, as well as its Wild Ferment range.

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