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March 1, 2021

Father of Queensland Wine releases 50th vintage of Shiraz

Angelo and Mary Puglisi, pioneers of the wine industry in Queensland, are releasing  Ballandean Estate’s 50th Anniversary Opera Block Shiraz today, a milestone for the Granite Belt, the Puglisi family and Queensland wine.

Newlyweds Angelo and Mary Puglisi embarked on their lifelong wine adventure in 1968 as they founded Queensland’s oldest family-owned and -operated winery. Little did they know that their decision to plant their first block of Shiraz would cement the Puglisi winemaking future.

We’ve come a long way since the sixties, when everyone warned me that the vineyard would fail because only wogs drank wine in Queensland!

2018 was an exceptionally low-yielding year—we have only 150 dozen of the Opera Block Shiraz for this vintage. The long ripening season and cold nights delivered a delicate cool climate Shiraz, intense purple with concentrated berry fruits.

Right now, we are bringing in our Shiraz harvest for 2021 and it is shaping up to be a cracker vintage, one of  the best we’ve ever had, thanks to a warm and an almost too-dry growing season.  

I saw the versatility of Shiraz in the established wine regions of the Barossa and Hunter Valley, and couldn’t resist the challenge of establishing this varietal in our cool climate high altitude granitic terroir. Interstate vignerons thought it was a joke, that Queensland was a tropical climate only capable of producing bananas, bikinis and coconuts!

Mary and I planted those Shiraz vines in 1968, and just a few years later, our 1974 Shiraz Cabernet took out the gold medal at the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland Show (RNA, also known as the Ekka). We knew our dreams were coming to fruition, it had been almost 50 years since a Queensland red table wine had achieved gold, not since Romavilla back in the 1930s.”

Angelo Puglisi

A perpetual acknowledgment to the Puglisi’s influence and respect in the industry, The Angelo Puglisi Grand Champion Wine of Show award, was established in 2019.

Angelo’s decision to convert from table grapes to wine grapes was bold and he and Mary worked hard to produce wines of quality and create a market for their Granite Belt grown wines. Those first vines have been lovingly nurtured over the years and now produce the award-winning Opera Block Shiraz—refined, elegant with intense fruit typical of a cool climate profile.

Our cool climate Shiraz is a family jewel. Most Shiraz vines in Australia are under 15 years old—and the older the vines, the lower the yield and more luscious the fruit.”

Angelo Puglisi

In a nation where most producers pulled up their vines in the late eighties at government behest, this is a remarkable achievement, and testament to the vision of Angelo and Mary Puglisi, pioneers of the wine industry in Queensland.

Ballandean Estate’s single vineyard 50th Anniversary Opera Block Shiraz will be released for public sale at the cellar door and online here www.ballandeanestate.com for $65 RRP Monday 1 March 2021.  

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