Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Australia’s northern state appointed a Minister for Wine in 2004, although this move did not survive a change of government. The Queensland College of Wine Tourism remains a serious state asset, however. The industry has grown slowly since its early-20th-century growth spurt, with 148 wine producers at the end of 2013. The senior region, the Granite Belt, supports 50 producers. Humidity and summer rainfall are less of an issue than spring frost, for this is a high elevation (700 m to 1,000 m) inland region with warm days and cold nights. Its principal white varieties are (in order of size) Chardonnay, Semillon, and Sauvignon Blanc (and 14 others), the red varieties Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot (likewise 14 others). The varietal pattern tells one that this is a normal region in climatic terms, with a two-thirds red, one-third white wine ratio. The Strange Bird marketing initiative encouraged planting of Spanish and Italian varieties (many producers are of Italian descent) and warm-climate alternative varieties are expected to be increasingly important.