Pyramids Road Winery nurtures
Founders of Pyramids Road Winery, Warren and Sue Smith are certainly not your average school teachers. Having left their calling to plant a vineyard in 1999, these educators are far from stereotypical vignerons and some might suggest, perhaps might harbour just a touch of inner hippie!
Though both Warren and Sue work the vineyard, these days, Sue tends to take charge of the business side of the cellar door operations and with his flowing grey beard, backstage in the winery, Warren could be mistaken for the Man From Snowy River, lost in a bodega!
As owners and operators of one of the granite belt’s most well-established wineries, their passion for winemaking has resulted in them taking an extraordinarily “hands-on” approach to their trade. From pruning and training the vines to harvesting and basket pressing, it is all done by Warren and Sue; and by hand. Even the bottling!
But alas, there is always a price to pay for such attentive nurturing of vines and pampering of the fruit, and here, it’s simply quantity. The Pyramids Road Vineyard is only about 2 hectares in size and yields relatively small quantities of high-quality berries. The total production of their flagship Verdelho (for which fruit is sourced from a nearby grower) and shiraz sits at only about 150 cases of each per annum, while their chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and Petit Verdot are limited to around 75 to 80 cases each year.
Pyramids Road 2016 Petit Verdot
While most of their wares are sold through the cellar door, there are intuitive people like Sunshine Coast restaurateur, Chris White of Hungry Feel at Buderim who knows his wine and chooses to support Queensland’s premier wine region. At Chris’ Eating House, you’ll find Granite Belt wines like Pyramids Road, alongside those from producers like Ridgemill Estate, Golden Grove Estate, Bents Road Winery, La Petite Mort and Witches Falls. Sadly, my favourite Pyramids Road wine, the “Bernies Blend” doesn’t yet grace the Hungry Feel wine list, but their 2016 Petit Verdot is an able substitute. It displays a deep rubyesque hue in the glass and delivers hints blooming roses on the nose but unctuous ripe cherries and allspice across the palate. There are ample tannins to provide an austere backbone to the wine, while generous acids chorale the fruit through a lingering finale. It’s just another good reason to make the journey up the hill to Hungry Feel!
The Granite Belt region is often overlooked by wine critics and consumers alike, perhaps because the styles of wine aren’t always compliant with the unwritten “rules” as to what Australian wines should look like. But it is a region that stamps its own terroir on the wines born in the district. Being only about 3 hours’ drive from Brisbane, it’s the perfect venue for a weekend escape, if not for the visit to the picturesque Girraween National Park (that Pyramids Road shares its border with,) but for the oenological experience that The Granite Belt and Pyramids Road, has to offer.