Our 2019 Pre-Conference Excursion will take place October 7 – 9 in the Granite Belt Wine Region of Queensland, with cooperation of the Queensland Wine Industry Association and Granite Belt Wine Tourism.
Due to limited space, pre-conference and post-conference excursions are only open to registered conference attendees. Each excursion is limited in numbers and registration is first come, first served.
If you’ve already registered for WMC19, use these links to register for your pre and post-conference excursions:
- Excursion Registration Form for Australian Residents
- All others, please use this Excursion Registration Form
If you have not registered for the conference, use these links to register for the conference:
About the Granite Belt Region
At 1000 metres elevation, the air seems fresher and the sky more blue in Granite Belt Wine Country, Queensland. Discover a landscape of dramatic beauty and diversity, including unique National Parks where giant granite formations emerge from thick forests and an exciting, emerging wine region.
The Granite Belt is one of Australia’s most electric new wine regions. It’s distinctive, cool climate wines are winning critical acclaim and accolades like never before. The region has specifically targeted to become and now has a growing reputation as one of Australia’s top producers of alternative variety wines – known here as Strange Birds. To be called an alternative, a variety must represent not more than 1% of the total bearing vines in Australia as defined by Wine Australia. So this pre-conference excursion will be an excellent way to samples unique wines you might not already know.
Right in the heart of the Granite Belt is the thriving community of Stanthorpe, home to around 5,500 inhabitants. Stanthorpe has some fine century-old buildings, an Art Gallery that has an impressive collection of paintings and ceramics gathered over many years, and the Queensland College of Wine Tourism.
You will be picked up at 9:00 AM in the morning of October 7 at Brisbane Airport (BNE) and so should arrive by 8:30 AM. If you arrive early to Brisbane, we will pick you up at a downtown Brisbane hotel to be provided to participants.
The pre-conference excursion will end at 2:30 PM at Brisbane Airport on October 9, at which point we suggest you fly from Brisbane to Newcastle (NTL), which is only an hour from the Hunter Valley. There is a direct flight at 3:30 PM on Virgin Australia. Please book your flight once you are registered for the pre-conference excursion.
You are responsible for the costs of getting from the Newcastle Airport to the Hunter Valley. Allan will coordinate shared Uber rides for all excursion participants. Uber from NTL to the hotel will be ~$30/person. It is also a recommended means of transport on the NTL website.
Please note IF the 3:30 PM flight becomes very expensive or unavailable, you can choose to fly at 1:35 PM on Quantas. However, you will miss some activities that day and will have to wait for the group in Newcastle or make your way to the Hunter Valley on your own.
What is Included
The pre-conference excursion includes ground transportation, winery visits, tastings, and some meals. It does not include transportation to/from Brisbane or accommodations. A recommended hotel in Stanthorpe will be provided to excursion participants so they can book it themselves. The cost of the excursion is only USD 35.
Max capacity: 50
Please note details can and likely will change.
Monday October 7
09:00 Pick-up from Brisbane Airport and/or hotel accommodation and transfer to Warwick
11:30 Arrive Warwick and board the old-fashioned “Heritage Train” to Thulimbah. On board enjoy lunch made with local produce to go with local wines and local craft beer.
13:30 Disembark at Heritage Estate Wines for a boutique wine experience in a “backward glance” environment
15:00 Check in to your accommodation
16:30 Depart for the newest cellar door in the Granite Belt, Savina Lane, which produces premium hand-crafted wines from single vineyard hand-picked fruit
18:00 Visit Jester Hill Wines for sunset, Strangebirds, and a Smokin’ BBQ relaxed dinner and some entertainment
Tuesday October 8
08:00 Depart for Girraween National Park, known for its massive granite outcrops, large angular tors, and precariously balanced boulders as well as spectacular wildflower displays in spring. You will have a choice of a leisurely walk up the granite rocks or early wine tasting at Pyramids Road Wines, Girraween Estate & Balancing Rock.
11:30 Visit Ballandean Estate Wines, the oldest and one of the most renowned wineries in the region, for a winery tour and an Italian-style lunch at the Barrel Room Café
13:00 Walk across the road to Golden Grove Estate, situated in the Highlands of the Ballandean Valley, for tour and wine tasting
14:00 Visit Twisted Gum Wines, which only produces single-vineyard non-irrigated wines
15:00 Meander across to afternoon tea at Hidden Creek Winery and Café, the 2018 Queensland Winery of the Year
16:30 Back to accommodation for a short break
18:00 Shuttle to the Queensland College of Wine Tourism for a tour, dinner, and local wine matching including alternative varietals.
Wednesday October 9
08:30 Shuttle back to the South Burnett, a wine producing region in the Great Dividing Range of Queensland, where we will visit Clovely Estate cellar door in Redhill Brisbane, which features both vineyards and olive groves
13:30 Depart for Brisbane airport with a 2:30 PM arrival