Queensland wine

Noosa Food and Wine Fest – but where was the Queensland wine?
Noosa’s annual food and wine bash took place last month. It numbers among Australia’s premier culinary festivals and if crowd numbers are any guide, was a great success.
Numerous visitors enjoyed a feast of wine and food presentations by luminaries from the world of hospitality. Amongst others, sharing their knowledge and wandering through the stalls and chatting to the punters were John Lethlean, Ralph Kyte Powell, Huon Hooke, Peter Forrestal and Matt Preston.
Curiously, Queensland’s healthy wine industry had only microscopic representation. I stopped for a sip and was astonished to see five wine producers cooped up, shoulder to shoulder at one tiny stall.
Imagine if there were a major wine and food festival in, say, Victoria, and only five Victorian winemakers showed up – ‘twould be a state scandal.
One wonders what Queensland’s ‘Ministry of Wine’ does with its budget for wine events and wine tourism…

More good ol’ Queensland wine
And, speaking of Queensland wine, I found this eminent Victorian’s comment on Queensland wine in the Brisbane Courier of Saturday 18 November 1876 – at the National Library of Australia website. I have no idea what Solfono is – maybe a brand name. The wines were made by George Lambert* of Indooroopilly.
A Victorian’s Opinion on Queensland Wines.
The Rev. Dr. Bleasdale has supplied us with the following comments on Mr. Lambert’s wines, samples of which were left at our office by that gentleman for the doctor’s opinion:- Hermitage and Closter: A delicious sweet wine of beautiful color, with full fruity flavor. It is truly a “ladies’ wine” spirituous enough, but not over strong, and likely to improve with age. Solfono: A fine dry wine, with less body than the White Shiraz, and probably will be more valued than it by lovers of light wine. It was slightly sparkling. I noted in it, but in a lesser degree, the pleasant light tonic which I noted in a higher degree in the White Shiraz. White Shiraz: This is a full-bodied, natural wine, in fine condition, apparently between three and four years old, with a pleasant, well pronounced bouquet – a useful wine in the cellar, and one likely to pass readily into consumption, if obtainable in quantity. Muscatel: With one or two exceptions, this is the best of the white wines I have tasted in Queensland. It leaves a slight bitter taste peculiar to the description of grape, the juice of which forms its principal constituent. Both as to smell, color, and the slightly peculiar bitter taste left on the palate, this wine gives me the first indication of the capabilities of the district where the grapes used in it were grown, and Mr. Lambert’s careful treatment of it to produce the fine, slightly bitter wine of Spain, called Manzanilla – a word meaning “Camomile.”

*George Shelton Lambert bought a little over 17 acres of land at Indooroopilly in 1874 and established a vineyard. Later, in 1881, he bought a 30 acre vineyard at Mount Walker and built a winery there. He died in 1916.
Other sources – excerpts kindly provided by the State Library of Queensland: In the Grip of the Grape, John Moran, Preferential Publications, Brisbane, 1993. Deed of Sale, September 17, 1874. Brisbane Directory, 1878-9. Brisbane Courier, 15 August, 1931.

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