You’d be forgiven for thinking something was trying to kill off the Granite Belt. In the past few years, the celebrated Queensland winemaking region has been hit with hail, bushfires, drought and now Covid-19 restrictions.
After all that, the cancellation of this weekend’s Drink Queensland Cellar Door festival would’ve just been a little more salt in the wound. But instead, the Granite Belt wine showcase has transformed from a boozy tasting into a socially distanced cellar door pop-up.
“The whole way through this entire period, our attitude has been to go hard, pivot, come up with new concepts, not say ‘no’,” says event organiser and City Winery co-founder Adam Penberthy. “We wanted to reframe the concept to make it suitable for the times in which we exist.”
This Saturday, May 23, Ridgemill Estate, Golden Grove, La Petite Mort, Hidden Creek, View Wine and City Winery’s Gerler Wines will move into an old Newstead warehouse to peddle cut-price deals on some of their most popular drops. Many feature on the wine lists of high-end Brisbane restaurants, but you’ll have a hard time finding them in bottle shops or without making a 220-kilometre pilgrimage south-west. Penberthy says these wineries need a hand now more than ever.
“The government restrictions apply to cellar doors, so they can’t do tastings or anything along those lines,” Penberthy says. “The bigger issue is consumers can’t travel. Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Toowoomba are feeder markets … all of these regions are outside of the allowance people are permitted to travel as part of the Covid-19 restrictions.
“They rely on the tourism market that has all but dried up.”
The pop-up runs from midday until 6pm on Saturday. And while Covid-19 restrictions will prevent you from doing any tasting, the winemakers themselves will be there to guide you through the wines.
“On Saturday we’d love people to buy a bottle or two – or 12 – from these fantastic artisan producers,” Penberthy says.
The Drink Queensland Cellar Door pop-up will take place at 23a Austin Street this Saturday, May 23. For more information, see here.