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The Granite Belt region’s only town, Stanthorpe, which was established in 1872, recently celebrated 20 years of tourism use of its Geographic Indication. More than 100 grape varieties occupy this 700m and higher mountainous tableland. Cropping in ancient, poor, weathered granitic soils. The first vines in this region date back to the 1880s, and were established by Italian priest Father Jerome Davadi, who arrived in Australia from Ancona, in the Marche region. The survivors are the black muscat variety providing centenarian crops. The longest generational winemaker is the Puglisi family, since 1932. The 1905 and post-WW2 migrants from southern Italy formed the backbone of the Southern Downs 1960s wine trade. Today the investment activity is multicultural and diverse. Peter Scudamore-Smith

Image of Tobin Wines.

tobin wines

Star Cellar Door

(07) 4684 1235

Tobin occupies the hamlet of Ballandean’s most drinkable address on Sundown Road. This chilled cellar door demonstrates its wine in detail. Estate bottles represent a single variety, single parcel of grapes with little origin complication. The property’s extra cred is the meticulous viticulture and glasses of the drink to capture interest. Adrian Tobin instructs his vineyard crew to progressively thin away 70% of the grapes hanging from the rows; only a few bunches per plant are left. The tasting flight of crispy 2021, 2019 and 2016 Isabella Semillon gives a hint about the posterity of this vine plot. Planted in 1964, so the order of years tasted scream of wine with backbone. Seriously understated. 

TOP DROP: 2019 Tobin Wines Elliot Reserve Merlot, A$99

Ballandean Estate 
Best Large Cellar Door

(07) 4684 1226

Balancing Heart Vineyard 
Best SMALL Cellar Door

1300 000 221

Jester Hill Wines 

(07) 4683 4380

Symphony Hill Wines 

(07) 4684 1388