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October 27, 2021

Granite Belt good times keep rolling

Interstate travel restrictions continue to deliver an unprecedented tourism boom on the Granite Belt, as Ballandean Estate, Queensland’s oldest family owned and operated winery, reports over five hundred through its cellar door over the weekend.

Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi, fourth-generation vigneron and wine industry leader, says:

“Queenslanders have relished in their relative freedom over the pandemic, and really got behind supporting regional areas. So many have embraced a cool climate wine country getaway. What we are finding is that the last 18 months have brought thousands of people to the Granite Belt for the first time. And they are coming back! Last week, we had a young couple form Brisbane at the cellar door who first visited the region last July. Since then, they’ve returned four times! This is not unusual, we have so many new amicis!”

“The distance from Brisbane and the Gold Coast is a blessing in disguise, as people are coming out to stay and play for longer.

“This is in stark contrast to what we witnessed at some of McLaren Vale’s biggest wineries a few weeks ago. Vineyard restaurants were buzzing, but cellar doors were almost empty when we visited, even on the weekend! This made for a luxurious tasting experience, undivided attention. Operators told us that being so close to Adelaide made McLaren Vale more of a weekend day trip destination.

“Now that COVID restrictions have lifted for events, I can see our visitation increase continuing, as we prepare to host the third Granite Belt Art & Craft Trail over the upcoming long weekend, an event that injected over $900,000 into the local economy last year. (source: Southern Downs Regional Council economic modelling)

“In just a few weeks the Stanthorpe Berry Festival will be up and running.

“Early December we have the Merry Muster bus convoy coming up form Brisbane and the Gold Coast, another event which injected over $100,000 into our local economy.

“If you are looking at visiting the Granite Belt before the end of 2021, get online and book as soon as you can, as many accommodation houses are fully booked every weekend until the new year. You can also try the visitor information centre, as they are keeping track won who still has availability.”

Friends of Ballandean

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