The Grape Escape

Record high temperatures have meant an early fruit harvest for Scenic Rim winemakers and olive farmers.

The hotter-than-normal summer has created challenges for local producers.

It’s meant the fruit has been ripening faster than exepcted and that’s led to a call for volunteers to help with the harvest.

It’s been a case of all hands on deck as winemakers harvest the fruit and prepare to create their 2017 vintages.

Pickers started at 4.30am for this year’s harvest at the Bunjurgen Estate Vineyard, just outside Boonah. Winemaker David McMaugh says this ensures the grapes are picked in the cool of the morning. Harestving is done by hand to minimise the ‘berry trauma’ and reduce the chance of fermentation starting prior to crushing.

At  Canungra Valley Vineyard more than 100 members of the O’Reilly’s Wine Club helped harvest the white varieties before the heat hit on February 5 and the reds a week early on February 26.

 

If you want to try some local Scenic Rim wines and beers, try these spots:

Witches Falls Winery – Winemaker Jon Heslop leads this small, bold winery on Tamborine Mountain. He produces three distinctive ranges of wines – the Granite Belt, Wild Ferment and the Prophecy. The cellar door is open seven days a week, bookings essential for groups of six people or more.

Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard – Drive along the tree-lined driveway towards the Scenic Rim’s largest range of Queensland Wines. As well as Cedar Creek Estate’s own wines, you can have a statewide wine experience at the QLD Wine Centre, located on site.

Canungra Valley Vineyard – run by the O’Reilly family, this vineyard is situated on a rural property just outside Caungra. The grounds stretch along the banks of the Canungra Creek and visitors can traste the full range at the cellar door, or enjoy a glass over lunch.

Fortitude Brewing Company – this brewhouse is located on Tamborine Mountain, next door to the Witches Chase Cheese Co. You’ll find some quintessentially Aussie brews, including the Anzus IPA, the Drifter Endless Summer Ale and the Pacer.

Kooroomba Vineyard – This spectacular vineyard, restaurant and lavender farm is located at Mt Alford, just outside Boonah. The first grapes were planted at Mt Alford in 1877 by agriculturist James Cavanagh. Enjoy the Kooroomba Verdelho, the Chardonnary and the sweet Kooroomba Rosa. The cellar door is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am.

Flinders Peak Winery – One of the region’s newer cellar doors, the Flinders Peak Winery is fast gaining a reputation for trying new things. When you visit this winery, located at Peak Crossing about 20minutes south-west of Ipswich, you can try the wines and the gin, which is distilled onsite.

Scenic Rim Brewery – Located in an historic shopfront at Mt Alford, via Boonah, this new brewery is fast making a name for itself. The family owened brewery offers visitors a unique day out. Try the range of beers brewed onsite … there’s Digga’s Pale Ale, Fat Man Maroon Ale and Shazza. The café offers some hearty meals, perfect to accompany the cold beer.

Bunjurgen Estate: This 60-acre property is situated 10km south of Boonah and enjoys stunning views of the local mountain range. Winemaker David McMaugh welcomes visitors to his property and is the consumate host. Try his famous Bunyip fortified red, ged in barrells using the traditional Solera progressive vintage ageing method. The Bunjurgen sparkling verjuice is the perfect way to cool down on a hot day. But is it the range of Bunjurgen ports which continue to be a hit with visitors.