STEPS FORWARD: Representatives from the wine industry on the Granite Belt last week.
STEPS FORWARD: Representatives from the wine industry on the Granite Belt last week. Contributed

Top wine minds descend

SOME of the nation's foremost wine experts converged on the Granite Belt last week to discuss the future of the industry.

Representatives from Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and several other states visited for an annual Wine Australia led conference.

It gave Granite Belt representative and Queensland Wine Industry Association president Mike Hayes an opportunity to showcase what's on offer in his own backyard.

"We've got a meeting of people here from all across Australia and it's part of one of the initiatives that Wine Australia does which is all about trying to get to regions so they understand how new innovations, new technology - or just new ideas - how they can work in their region,” Liz Waters from Wine Australia said.

Wine Australia funds several research programs across Australia annually. Mr Hayes has been provided a "shoe-string budget” to undertake some important trial work.

"What we've got here at the QCWT vineyard is a program which has been set up with root stocks that have been clonal selected, DNA tested, virus free tested plants,” Mr Hayes said.

"What we've done is create a little bit of interest Australia wide with this research.”

Mark Krstic from the Australian Wine Research Institute said it was important that industry representatives stayed up to date with what other areas were doing.

"We're all coming here because whether we're pruning here, pruning in the Barossa, or pruning in WA there are a lot of similarities,” Mr Krstic said.

"There's a lot of things happening here, a lot of passion, a lot of excellent wine.”

Ms Waters was full of praise for the Granite Belt as a wine region - but wouldn't be drawn on one particular query.

"I think they're really trying to do something different to other regions,” she said.

"People always ask how does it hold up against others and what is the best region in Australia but the thing about Australian wine is we're a large continent, we've got diverse soils, some of the oldest planting materials in terms of vineyards and people have worked out some are really good for particular varieties or particular conditions.

"You really can't answer that question.

"But I would say talk about your stuff more, and if you can, get more tourists here.”

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