Courier Mail, The (Brisbane), 05/10/2006, pg.19

A SWAG of wine medals awarded to a Granite Belt winery in the New Zealand International Wine Show has the potential to boost tourism to southeast Queensland and put the emerging wine region on the map.

Kominos Winery entered the international competition for the first time this year and organisers believed the entry to be the first Granite Belt winery to have competed in the NZ International Wine Show.

Chairman of judges of the wine competition and wine master Bob Campbell said the Granite Belt was not well recognised as an Australian wine region but the success of Kominos Wines in winning six medals had changed perceptions in the industry.

“Until now in the minds of judges, winemakers, retailers and distributors, Queensland wines were unknown,” Mr Campbell said.

“They had never tasted them. It was an eyebrow-raising exercise.”

Mr Campbell said Kiwis and Australians would make their way to the Granite Belt to find out more about the wine region.

“This will put the Granite Belt on the map,” he said.

Mr Campbell had been planning a holiday in Queensland next year and on the strength of the success of Kominos Wines, the leading wine expert said he would add a fact-finding trip to the Granite Belt.

Two panels of wine judges awarded Kominos Winemakers a gold medal for their 2005 Reserve Merlot, three silver medals for their 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Kominos Estate 2005 Reserve Merlot and 2005 Reserve Shiraz and two bronze medals for their Kominos Estate 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Kominos Winemakers 2005 Reserve Shiraz.

Winemaker Tony Comino began planting his 12ha vineyard at Severnlea, 9km south of Stanthorpe, in 1976 and brought his native Greek traditions to the winemaking task.

His 21st commercial vintage has netted 40 medals so far this year and the New Zealand medals have proved his intuition that the maturing vines were producing fruit with enough intensity to compete internationally.

“This is still a young wine region and we have to earn our stripes,” he said.

Copyright 2006 / Courier Mail