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Strange Bird takes flight

A new alternative grape varieties wine trail has recently been launched by the Granite Belt Wine and Tourism (GBWT). Labelled Strange Bird to represent the alternative grape varieties grown in the Queensland region, the trail was established to promote the region’s expanding varieties and to attract more visitors.

The scheme is funded by the 21 participating wineries’ annual fee and marketing levy, Stanthorpe Shire Council and GBWT. GBWT director of marketing Michele Cozzi says the region wanted to appeal to an adventurous and experienced wine drinker who is sufficiently affluent to experiment and to stand out from other wine regions. The 16 alternative varieties include: Barbera, Chenin Blanc, Colombard, Durif, Gewurztraminer, Malbec, Marsanne, Mourvedre, Nebbiolo, Petit Verdot, Pinot Gris, Sylvaner, Tannat, Tempranillo and Viognier.

With 21 participating wineries – and the number of members expected to grow in the coming year – all displaying the Strange Bird symbol at their cellar doors, visitors can follow the route provided on the brochure and discover the region’s expanding alternative varieties. To introduce the visitors to the wines a brochure lists the participating wineries, the varieties they produce, a pronunciation guide, what foods complement each wine and a brief tasting note.

“I think the trail is an exciting and informal way to introduce customers to these not so common varieties,” Hidden Creek’s chief executive officer and winemaker, Jim Barnes said. “It will inform them about these varieties and where wine from these can be obtained and hopefully lead them on an adventure to my cellar door (and of course to others with alternative varieties).

“The entire region stands to benefit from the creative marketing and from offering something a little different. The quantitative measure of success would be an increase in sales of alternative wines but an enhanced interest in these varieties at cellar door would also be an indicator of the success of the trail. It will also be a win if customers can walk away being able to pronounce some of the varieties correctly.”

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