South Burnett Cuisine > News Archives > June 2003
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Our web site is always interested in news about developments in the South Burnett's wine and food industries.

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South Burnett Wine and Food News with Jason Ford

Ziebarth Ready To Release 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot
Ziebarth Wines30th June 2003: Last Sunday I spent a very pleasant afternoon with Bernard Ziebarth at Ziebarth Wines' cellar door in Goodger sharing a bottle of his soon-to-be-released 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot. Bernard told me that this particular wine was bottled the same morning as this year's Wine and Food In The Park Festival (March 22nd) and that after allowing three months for it to settle in the bottle, he hopes to have it labelled and on sale some time in the next 4 to 8 weeks. In common with many of our region's other wine producers, the 2002 drought helped generate what is probably the best quality harvest the 6-acre Ziebarth vineyard has seen to date. The difference between the 2002 Cab Sav Merlot and its nearly-sold-out 2001 ancestor was not just noticeable - it was astonishing. The wine itself was produced by John Crane (who makes all of Ziebarth's reds) and the 2003 Ziebarth whites are being produced in a fortnight by Peter Scudamore-Smith and Kevin Watson at Marburg's Warrego Wines. Ziebarth's 15-tonne crush means that there are only about 1,000 cases of finished wine available in any one year. And since Ziebarth's grow several grape varieties including shiraz, cabernet franc, merlot and semillon, the number of cases of the 2002 CSM is likely to be very small indeed. I was so impressed with this particular wine that I ordered a case on the spot. And if you like reds, you might want to take the drive to Goodger to try this wine yourself. I think it's certainly one to watch out for.
New Owners For Wondai's Up Country B&B, Cafe and Cellar Door
Phil Russell and Casey Kriletich 27th June 2003: Wondai's Up Country Bed and Breakfast and Café has new owners. Casey Kriletich and Phil Russell took over the successful business last month. After seven years of tolerating Brisbane's hustle and bustle, Casey and partner Phil decided to purchase a business in a more quiet and relaxed country setting. The pair grew up in country New Zealand and felt a need to return to an environment in which they were more comfortable. "We looked at properties in Beaudesert and the Sunshine Coast but fell deeply in love with Wondai and the South Burnett", Casey told me. "I'd never heard of the South Burnett before. But we've met lots of people in the local tourism industry and are really impressed with their united vision for the region. We think the South Burnett has an exciting future and we want to play a part in it". Along with the well-appointed bed and breakfast accommodation, heated pool and jacuzzi, Up Country also has a one-acre vineyard and produces its own labelled wines - the Southern Skies Collection - which it retails through its cellar door. At the moment the selection consists of a semillion chardonnay, a merlot, a sweet white, a sweet red and a port. The property also has a gift shop and café-restaurant, and from Tuesday to Sunday diners can indulge in Australian and Hungarian gastronomic delights prepared by Phil with the assistance of a local Hungarian cook. Casey also hopes to feature silver perch and red claw on the menu soon - both produced from Up Country's own dams.

South Burnett Restaurant Fast Facts


Up Country Café Restaurant


Corner Bunya Highway and Lysdale Road, Wondai
(one kilometre east of Wondai towards Murgon on the Bunya Highway)

Contact details:  

Phone: (07) 4169-0196
Fax: (07) 4168-5444


Tuesday to Sunday 9:30am to 10:30pm
for morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner
(functions by arrangement)

Average entree:  


Average main:  


Average dessert:  



Type of Cuisine:

Australian and Hungarian a la carte cuisine. Wine tastings are available at the cellar door from 10:00am. Café style food and coffee also available during the day, all in a relaxed country setting with indoor and outdoor alfresco seating.

Tarong Mine Community Development Fund Supports Wine Industry
Tarong Coal24th June 2003: I'm very pleased to announce that Tarong Mine has offered its support for the South Burnett Wine Industry Association's new marketing strategy. Earlier this week the company announced that it has just given the SBWIA a grant through its Tarong Mine Community Development Fund to support the implementation of two critical components of the plan: developing the industry's brand identification and facilitating the introduction of of the South Burnett's unique wine quality accreditation system (see story 24th May 2003). SBWIA President Graham Helmhold said that he was very grateful to the Community Development Fund for its support for both concepts, which will play a fundamental role in the expansion of the industry in the years ahead. Tarong Mine has been a strong supporter of the region's wine and tourism industries for several years and are - amongst other things - the major sponsor of Kingaroy's Wine and Food In The Park Festival (which is now 5 years old and going like a rocket). The company believes that the growth of both industries over the years ahead will prove pivotal to the region's economy when the mine itself is exhausted and their latest grant reinforces this. Good on 'em, I say!
Organic Produce: A South Burnett Growth Industry
21st June 2003: Here's a surprising piece of information: according to industry experts, changes in consumer tastes mean that the organic produce industry is currently experiencing growth rates of approximately 25% per annum. In fact, right now organic produce is the fastest growing niche food market in Australia. And it looks set to stay that way for some time to come. Happily the South Burnett isn't missing out on this trend and we now have producers raising organic poultry, fruits, vegetables and dairy herds all the way from Nanango to Kilkivan. These include Ian and Jane Campbell of Barambah Organics at Murgon. Ian and Jane are supplying 500 litres of milk each week to Jola Farm Cheese (a successful boutique cheese maker on Tamborine Mountain) as well as locally processing their own line of products. And Pam and Mark Comello of Ivyholme Dairy in Kingaroy who began producing their own organically certified milk at the beginning of 2002. Initially they couldn't find a local processing and packaging facility in the area so they built their own plant at considerable expense and are now producing a range of dairy products such as quark, feta, mascapone, ricotta, cream and (shortly) yoghurt. Ivyhome distribute their organic milk to Coles, IGA and smaller outlets throughout South East Queensland. As mentioned in my story on 3rd June, Kilkivan's Bendele Farms are fully organic and now intend utilising the tonnes of poultry compost their ducks produce to grow garlic and lemon myrtle trees. Another organics champion is Louis Blanch, who packages and sells boxes of locally grown organic fruit and vegetables to a loyal client base of thirty households every week. And another producer I'm sure you'll hear more about next year is Uncle Bob's Organic Winery at Nanango, who are now the only certified organic winery in the State. Need contact details for any of these? Send me an email - I'll be happy to help.
Burning Beats Puts Live Music Back Into Dining
Blind Dog Donnie18th June 2003: Kingaroy's Burning Beats Cafe - which has become a cult favourite ever since it opened last September - will be taking another step in its evolution next month. On Sunday 27th July the Cafe will take advantage of its new rear courtyard area to host a live Sunday music afternoon featuring Brisbane blues legends Blind Dog and The Reverend, kicking off at 12:00 noon and continuing through until around 5:00pm. For $15 per head (BYO), customers will be able to spend a relaxed Sunday afternoon in the sunny backyard enjoying this wonderfully entertaining band and tucking into a serve of any one of five curries the Cafe will be serving up on the day (included in the ticket price). Since announcing the project a few days ago the Cafe already has a dozen bookings and they'll be drawing the line at around 60 people - so if you want to join in you should either drop in, phone them on (07) 4162-3932 or email them. If the initial event is a success - and I'm sure it will be - proprietors Paul Stoddart and Kerry Cotter hope to make live band concerts at the Cafe a regular monthly occurrence. Photo: Blind Dog and the Reverend performing at the 2002 Burning Beats Music Festival in Nanango.
Barambah Ridge Gets Gong For Staff Training
15th June 2003: Back in April this year I noted that one very positive spin-off of the growth of our wine and tourism industries is that more and more young hospitality workers are finding that they can make a career right here in the South Burnett rather than be forced to relocate to the cities. That necessarily implies that we have top-notch training facilities here in the region as well, and industries that are committed to training their people. So I was very pleased to hear last week that Redgate's Barambah Ridge Winery have just been named as one of four finalists in the Medium Employee of the Year - Queensland Training Awards. Barambah Ridge has made the finals in the Wide Bay/Sunshine Coast region in the Medium Employer category and if they're successful in winning this section the winery’s submission will go on to contest the awards at a State level. Barambah Ridge’s General Manager Janelle McLaren told me she was thrilled with making it to the finals and seeing the company's commitment to training recognised. “We invest a lot of time and energy in our training programmes because the rewards that our employees receive from this are enormous. Winning the award would be a great bonus." I can only agree.
South Burnett Wine Club Launched!
Booie Range Distillery12th June 2003: About four weeks ago I mentioned that moves were afoot to start up a South Burnett Wine Club (see story 15th May 2003). I'm now very pleased to announce that it's finally getting underway. Bell Tower Restaurant Executive Chef Steve Gudzinski decided to begin the club because his customers expressed an interest in gaining a better knowledge and appreciation for South Burnett wines. Steve told me he was surprised such a group didn't already exist in the region - but since one doesn't, the Booie Range Distillery (BRD) is going to start one. Some of the benefits of club membership will include invitations to monthly wine appreciation dinners (featuring and conducted by local wineries); a monthly membership draw for a $20 voucher to spend at BRD; and a 10% discount on purchases at Booie Range Distillers (including takeaway wine sales). As an added bonus, tables of up to eight diners at the Bell Tower Restaurant will be able to take advantage of the 10% discount from one membership card if they have a meal there. All members will also receive "The Spirit of the Range" newsletter each month which will provide updates on new wine releases, activities, events and cellar door specials. The membership fee will be $25.00 per annum - easily paid for by using the club's discount features. You can get more information and/or a membership application right now by contacting Steve on (07) 4162-7000 or by emailing the Bell Tower [STOP PRESS! You can also obtain a membership application as a 224K Adobe PDF by clicking here - just print it off, fill it in and post it with your cheque]
Wine Industry Gets Serious About Marketing
9th June 2003: The South Burnett Wine Industry Association has been undergoing a quiet transformation this year. After close to a decade's existence - much if it spent laying down vines and learning what works best with the region's climate and soils - the SBWIA is now evolving from simply being a growers' organisation into one that gives marketing and promotion matters just as much attention as raising baume and avoiding botrytis. Recently the Association adopted a marketing plan designed to raise the profile of South Burnett wines over the next several years; and as I reported a few weeks ago (see story 24th May 2003), the SBWIA is also looking at setting a basic quality benchmark for regional wines to build consumer confidence in our increasingly wonderful wine products. A new cellar door/marketing sub-committee will be holding its inaugural meeting at Barambah Ridge winery this coming Thursday night, June 12th - and anyone with an interest in marketing the region's wines is more than welcome to come along. RSVPs to Janelle McLaren on (0407) 162-475, (07) 41680-4766 or via email.
New Winter Menu For Copper Country
Amy Ballin6th June 2003: Three months ago I reported that Nanango's Copper Country Restaurant were rolling out their Autumn menu. But now that chilly June's here, they're changing with the season and rolling out their Winter one. Chef Stephen Winter unveiled his new menu last week and - once again - is producing some of the most modern cuisine in the region. All entrees are $11.50 and the Queensland Scallops with Potato and Fennel Gnocchi has my vote! I'm also very pleased to see a dish of Seared Duck Livers in a Short Crust Flan in Rich Red Wine Sauce. These duck livers come from John Douglass at Bendele Farm who's receiving rave reviews all over Australia (see story below). You can also now order special handmade pizzas produced by Copper Country's dedicated apprentice chefs Amy Ballin and Kellie Spry. All main courses are $22.50 and Stephen has added a roast of the day to his popular locally grown meat selection and is serving your choice of pork or beef with an array of warm winter sauces. The menu has its fair share of seafood - from Queensland bug tails in chilli beer batter to his 'Seafood Sensation of the Day' (you'll have to dine there to find out what it is). As with previous menus, the South Burnett's award winning Kingaroy Cheese takes pride of place on the dessert selection and all can be accompanied with regional wines or Copper Country's own 1780 vineyards label. Photo: Copper Country's apprentice chef Amy Ballin competing at the PCA Regional Cuisine Cook-Off earlier this year - photo by Clive Lowe.
Bendele Farm A South Burnett Treasure
3rd June 2003: Last weekend I visited John and Kristy Douglass of Organic Poultry of Australia in Kilkivan, who operate Bendele Farm. I'd originally seen the farm featured on ABC's "A Shared Table" with Stephanie Alexander and read numerous articles from the Courier Mail's "Good Life" columns and the Sydney Morning Herald about it. So why do Australia's culinary elite consider Bendele Farm a South Burnett treasure? The answer is that John is the only certified organic duck producer in the country. This is an expensive and stringent process where feed, water and even the ground the poultry walk on have to be tested and certified as chemical-free. On the day that I visited, hundreds of fat Peking-cross ducks where quietly free-ranging in their spacious habitat. My past experiences of poultry farms have been cramped cages packed with deafeningly noisy and stressed animals. John tells me, though, that quiet poultry is a sign of contentedness. And the proof is always in the eating! Bendele Farm now process in excess of 1000 birds a week: half to fill interstate orders for establishments such as the celebrated Sam the Butcher at Bondi, Surry Hill's Longrain Restaurant and the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. The other half is distributed along Queensland's eastern coast.

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