Get to know Granite Belt

By J'aime Cardillo

19 Dec, 2022

Granite Belt is home to more than 50 wineries (not the mention the breweries and distilleries) – get to know the Queensland wine region.

Travel Guide to the Granite Belt in Queensland

The Granite Belt wine region is just a three-hour drive from Brisbane, in the south-west of Queensland. The region sits to the east of the Great Dividing Range, and surrounds the city of Stanthorpe (aka the apple capital of Australia). The landscape is mountainous, with forests and large granite boulders.

While Queensland is known affectionately known as the sunny state, the wine region has a cooler climate. Granite Belt has a unique, subtropical climate with monsoon influences and sometimes snowfall during winter.

Granite Belt is one of the highest elevated wine regions in the country – some vineyards sit at over 1000 metres above sea level – and it is elevation that makes viticulture possible at this tropical latitude.

Grapes being held

The Granite Belt's first vines were planted in 1965 (one hectare of shiraz). The region's key varieties include shiraz, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and verdelho, but it is also famed for the alternative varieties produced. 

The Granite Belt 'Strange Bird' wines are rare, alternative varieties that represent less than one per cent of Australian vines – albariño (also known as alvarino), chenin blanc, cortese, fiano, gewürztraminer, gros and petit manseng, grüner veltliner, malvasia, marsanne, roussanne, and savagnin.

There are over 50 wineries in the Granite Belt – from boutique producers through to award-winning estates – along with breweries and distilleries.

Granite Belt vineyard

Below are the must-visit wineries in the region, plus where to stay, eat and upcoming events.

Halliday-rated wineries in the Granite Belt

Symphony Hill Wines, Hidden Creek, Banca Ridge, Robert Channon Wines, Ballandean Estate Wines, Ravenscroft Vineyard, Heritage Estate.

Cellar doors with dining in the Granite Belt

Balancing Heart, Ballandean Estate Wines, Heritage Estate, Hidden Creek, Jester Hill Wines, Ridgemill Estate, Robert Channon Wines, St Jude's, Varias Restaurant (at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism), Whiskey Gully Wines

Where to stay in the Granite Belt

A Stanthorpe Getaway, Alpine Lodges, Azjure Studio Retreat, Diamondvale Cottages, Earth and Soul Retreat, Glen Lough Cabins, Granite Belt Motel, Honeysuckle Cottages, Lodger's Rest, Quaffers on Storm King, Ridgemill Estate, Sancerre Estate, Windswept Country Retreat.

What to do in the Granite Belt

Girraween National Park: Across 30 kilometres of walking tracks, discover the huge granite boulders the region is famous for. Don't forget to take your picture at the Granite Arch. Caravan and camping facilities are available. 

The Folly Truffled: Hunt for truffles at Queensland's first commercial truffle farm. Visit the truffiere on the weekends. Tours are available all year round – bookings are encouraged.

The Big Apple: Stanthorpe is the home of the apple, with more than 300,000 apple trees planted across 150 hectares. The Big Apple is just 13 kilometres north of Stanthorpe. The Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival occurs every two years, across 10 days, and will be held again from February 23 to March 3, 2024.

Queensland College of Wine Tourism (QCWT): Taste wine (and dine) at the state-of-the-art education and training facility for the Queensland wine tourism industry. QCWT is open for morning tea (Tuesday to Saturday), lunch (Tuesday to Saturday) and dinner (Friday and Saturday).

Upcoming events in the Granite Belt

5 Senses Black Tie Degustation
January 14 and February 11, 2023 | Find out more

Autumn Grazing the Granite Belt
May 20–21, 2023 | Find out more

Summit Estate Harvest Festival
April 8, 2023 | Find out more

Opera October at Heritage Winery
October 7, 2023 | Find out more

Across eight modules, Halliday Wine Academy's Introduction to Wine course offers a detailed look at the Australia wine landscape. Learn about Australian wine regions, how wine is made, how to taste and describe wine, how to approach food and wine matches, along with handy tips that address common wine questions.

Image credit: Wine Australia.