USQ's top drop

USQ's Queensland College of Wine Tourism is experimenting with 70 different varieties of grapes to determine the varieties best suited to the climatic conditions.

The South East is a tourism hot spot, famous for its sunshine, its food and its wine.

But growing grapes in one of Queensland’s harshest climates has its challenges; whether it’s summer rain or early frosts, winemakers on the Granite Belt have to be ready for anything.

And they’re thirsty for USQ’s research.

In the Wine Australia funded Vineyard for the Future project, the Queensland College of Wine Tourism (QCWT) is experimenting with 70 different varieties of grapes, to determine the varieties best suited to the climatic conditions predicted in each of Queensland’s unique winegrowing areas.

“The results will help future-proof the industry and could potentially be used in vineyards across Australia,” said QCWT CEO Peter O’Reilly.

“It’s a great initiative and one of several projects being undertaken by USQ students here in Stanthorpe.”

The Queensland College of Wine and Tourism opened its doors ten years ago in Stanthorpe.

The $8.5 million facility is part of a joint venture by the State Government and USQ.

Over the past decade, the College has provided secondary and tertiary training to students in viticulture, oenology, tourism, hospitality and business.

Its restaurant, Varias, has also tasted success, winning Best Restaurant in a Winery category in the Queensland and Northern Territory Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUSAwards for Excellence two years in a row.

According to Tourism Research Australia, visitors spent more than $21 billion on food, wine and brewery experiences across the nation last year, with figures expected to increase again this year.

As the Granite Belt’s reputation for winemaking grows, USQ will continue to provide specialist education and training for the wine tourism industry.

USQ’s Bachelor of Science (Wine Science) is the only degree of its type in Northern Australia.

Wine being poured into wine glass
USQ's Queensland College of Wine Tourism is experimenting with 70 different varieties of grapes trying to determine the varieties best suited to the climatic conditions.