Established in 2004 by Jon and Kim Heslop, Witches Falls has been rated a ‘5-Star winery’ by James Halliday – reason enough to visit!
When we talk about wineries on Mount Tamborine, it’s best to clear one thing up at the start. Without exception, this is not where the grapes are grown, but where they are processed. Tamborine’s climate is not ideal to grow grapes. Mostly, the crush is brought in from Stanthorpe to Tamborine for further processing and distribution; so it’s fairer to say that Tamborine is more of a ‘showcase’ of Queensland wine than a ‘producer’.
Witches Falls does have a vineyard, however: a small plot of Durif grapes, which will become a big bold wine in due time! The vines are old enough to harvest, but the weather’s been dodgy, so there’s been no harvest yet!
We’re served at the Witches Falls tasting room by Abby Heslop, heiress apparent to the vineyard. Behind her we view the processing plant through picture windows, the bottling line, tanks, and barrels reinforcing the creative yet scientific process it takes to bring these wines to our glass.
It would be almost impossible to try the three ranges of wine (for a mere $6 tasting fee): Granite Belt, Wild Ferment and Prophecy. Skipping the single varietal Granite Belt range, we head for the more complex barrel fermented Wild Ferment range, which we love. The addition of wild yeast to the fermentation process, with the inherent risk of less control over process, has really paid off. These are award-winning Queensland wines exported to Malaysia, Japan and China.
Abby tells us that the Wild Ferment Chardonnay was served at the G20 Summit, held shortly before our visit.
“I’d like to picture Obama drinking this wine,” she says, smiling.
Obama would have loved the day. We’d grabbed our chance of sunshine between the storms and it was clear and bright at the top of the range.
Tasting over, it’s the Wild Ferment Verdelho which we bring home. With overtones of melon, citrus and tropical aromas, there’s a full palate balance of citrus and oak, complexity gained through extended time on lees.
Prefer a red? Then you’re in luck. The Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon form the pinnacle of the Prophecy range, some vintages scoring 94 points. Complex and brooding, they’re priced accordingly.
But I’m also a Durif fan, and a great Durif is hard to source! Due to too much rain this season, we’ll have to be patient! Maybe next year?
Our tip: Buy some local ‘4Real’ Triple Cream Brie, crackers and grapes from the local IGA and enjoy a picnic under the giant fig just outside the tasting room door. With your ‘DD’ in place, Witches Falls forms an essential part of a Tamborine food and wine tour.
Address: 79 Main Western Road, North Tamborine, Queensland 4272
Open: Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm; Sat, Sun 10am – 5pm
Ph: 07 5545 2609