Whiskey Gully Wines - about us

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Whiskey Gully Wines, at Severnlea, is a modern vineyard in Australia's Granite Belt Wine District, producing fine wines from Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Colombard vines.

Whiskey Gully Wines

John, Denice and Emily Arlidge purchased Beverley in 1997 and established the vineyard and winery.

Since then, Whiskey Gully Wines has won many trophies and medals. The winery was awarded 4 1/2 stars in the 2009 James Halliday Companion To Wine.

Set on a hill east of the New England Highway at Severnlea, Beverley Homestead looks out across the Severn Valley and the ranges that define it.

Beverley Station was one of the Granite Belt’s early grazing properties, established in the 1870s.

Originally 2500 acres, it extended both sides of the river and formed part of a mining lease.

Early records show it was owned by Dr Lane, of Stanthorpe, and Paul Aplin, one of the Aplin family who mined tin in the area. Glen Aplin, the village south of Severnlea, was named after Paul’s brother.

 

beverley_portrait

The homestead

There is dispute about Beverley Homestead’s origins. One published history has it being built in the mid-1880s by the property’s second owners, the Dunkield family.

iron lattice

However, that account is disputed by the Dunkield’s descendants, whose research showed that the house was already established when they arrived from Scotland in 1884.

A date stamp in the iron lacework that adorns the verandah supports the theory that the homestead was built around a decade earlier by Paul Aplin and Dr Lane.

The pine tree near the house - a Cedrus Deadora, still here today - was already well over five metres tall. Given that the tree is non-native and seems to be a garden feature, it is reasonable to suppose it was planted around the time the house was built.

An early photo of the homestead shows a woman or child in the foreground and another on the verandah, both apparently dressed in the style of the late 19th or early 20th Century.

beverley old homestead

The Dunkields

John and Joseph Dunkield and their sisters ran beef cattle on the property. They also established a dairy and an orchard. In 1906, John Dunkield was gored in the groin by a bull and died two hours later from his injuries, which possibly explains some ghostly manifestations around the place from time to time!

The area

Land was donated from the property to establish Beverley State School in 1918. The name was changed to Severnlea when the railway came through, since a siding called Beverley already existed in North Queensland. Severnlea is bordered by Whiskey Gully, in the north, Back Creek in the south, and ranges to the east and west.

The Turners

Beverley was owned by the Turner family for 34 years. The Turners are chiefly famous for their number one son, Graham, who founded Flight Centres, an iconic Queensland-based travel company.

sphinx angelo pruning rose

The property originally grazed sheep, and later cattle. An orchard was established in the early 1900s. It wasn't until 1997, under the ownership of John and Denice Arlidge that the first grapevines were planted.

Using modern viticultural techniques, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay varieties were established and they immediately took a liking to the well drained granitic soil which imparts marvellous character to all wines.

In 1999 we planted more Cabernet Sauvignon and some French Colombard. In the same year, Whiskey Gully Wines declared its first vintage. 

The 2000 vintage was particularly good and wines produced in that year picked up a total of 17 trophies and medals from wine shows including two gold medals.

The 2002 and 2005 vintages was also exceptional, producing more gold medals and trophies.

Scenes from the farm and vineyard

Whiskey Gully is a nondescript creek about five kilometres south of Stanthorpe where, 100 years ago, Irish miners who came to the area for tin, established illicit whiskey stills. 

There must have been something in the water because the creek produces good grapes and, reputedly, good whiskey also.

The Granite Belt, although a relative new-comer to the premium wine market, is one of the most prospective wine areas in Australia. The granite soil is highly friable (drains well) and the climate is cool and not dissimilar to France's Bordeaux region. 

vines
bottle

While it is fairly shallow in most areas there is little clay. The climate is excellent for grapes, especially above the 800 metre mark, as there is a prolonged summer with lots of sun and maximum daytime temperatures around 30oC and cool nights.

Most new vineyards in the area use dolomite or lime to correct soil acidity prior to planting, along with good quantities of organic fertiliser. Beverley was planted this way and has shown quite remarkable progress.

 

In vino veritas

 

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