After a night of board games and a sound sleep, I was a bit slower out of bed. It is the coldest day of this winter and there is even speculation that there will be snow – not a common occurrence in Queensland. We rustle up breakfast and toss ideas around about the points of interest to visit today. Into the mix comes discussion about the very scented bath and hand foam provided by the Cottages management. It is a local product made by Washpool and it has an outlet in Ballandean. We visited Rod’s Dad’s grave yesterday and it was clean and no maintenance required but we continued to notice every dam was full to overflowing so we thought we would visit Storm King Dam which had not ever been full and even was declared empty during the recent drought leaving Stanthorpe dependant on trucks to deliver potable water to town. A variety of cellar doors were discussed as was the various routes. Finally, the picnic to empty the fridge of all the food we had brought along. So we hit the road. First stop Storm King Dam.
We continued south to Symphony Wines cellar door. There we had our first tasting of the morning (it must be after 4.00pm some where in the world). This vineyard claims that it has had 3 of its wines served by Qantas in its business class and first-class cabins so it must be alright. Whilst the others chatted and sipped and sniffed, I took a tour around the exterior but as I returned, I noticed a group coming from the cellar with water bottles filled with wine. Very strange but when I enquired I was informed that they were samples prepared by the Symphony Wines winemaker using grapes from another vineyard. It appears it is not uncommon for smaller vineyards to contract the winemaker of the larger vineyards to make their wines. Overall good quality and we will be sampling more through our membership of their club.
After Symphony we took to the road and travelled further south to Ballandean. Remember that soap discussed over breakfast well we found their “cellar door”. Wow the moment we went through the door we were assailed by a storm of fragrances. Not really my cup of tea but the girls found it alluring purchasing a cornucopia of rubs scrubs and shampoos. As we left the wind rose and there was a wetness in the air – not snow possibly sleet definitely sprinkling rain. The temperature must have been in the low single digits, but the wind dropped it further. Our picnic looked doomed to be back at the cottage.
Rod was of two minds about visiting the Puglisi family at their family vineyard “Ballandean Wines” but in the end he thought it polite to call in. Lucky for us he did. We were all greeted like long lost family and allowed to use their members room for our picnic. We were recommended to drink their new season Rose which we did and were delighted with. As the afternoon rolled on and the wind howled so the wine continued to flow in the form of a tasting this and that leaving us with a desire to join their club also. By the time the tasting was winding up I needed some fresh air and a comfort break.
We left the cellar door and made our way back to the cottage. The wind was chilling and the thought of a roaring fire and a glass of wine relaxing before that fire was too enticing. We stayed in for the evening occupying ourselves with more cards and board games. Some where through the evening we finished of more of the acquired food and went to bed with very happy bellies. We are going home tomorrow but there is no hurry to leave this oasis. We discuss what we might do on Stanthorpe’s coldest day whilst travelling home – where else but the Xmas shop. So after a hearty breakfast and packing the car – we were supposed to being taking home less not more so the packing took longer than planned.
As we travelled north-east to Brisbane, we kept a lookout for the Xmas shop. Just before Applethorpe we cross the rail lines and then we head into what appears to be bush but Google maps assures us it is just around the corner when voila there is the gate to acres of pine trees all the perfect house size trees and in the middle a pen of deer and the Xmas shop. What a surprise here in the wilderness is a depot for the most discerning Xmas trinket shopper. Most important they serve hot Belgian chocolate. We leave behind a bit more cash – helping the local economy before farewelling Xmas to December where it belongs.
The travel home is uneventful. We collect our car and by late afternoon we are settled into our slippers in front of the telly. All in all, I was surprised what was on offer in Stanthorpe. I will be doing it again shortly.