Close shaves on the road less travelled
Alternative varieties are those of which there are less than 1% of vines of that variety planted in Australia.
Survival was a close shave for some of these rare and less common varieties: only 19 hectares of Graciano survived in Spain at the end of last century. Viognier was almost bombed out of existence in France during WWII.
New plantings have saved Graciano and Viognier for the future, but there are still relatively small quantities being grown because they’re sometimes difficult to cultivate and often produce lower yields, which means they are unprofitable for many growers.
The list of alternative varieties is long and the Granite Belt wine region is making a name for the sheer number and quality of the alternative wine experience. They are known on the Granite Belt as ‘Strange Bird’ wines and a Granite Belt Strange Bird Alternative Wine Trail map is available from the Granite Belt Wine & Tourism office.
Savina Lane is one of more than 25 Granite Belt cellar doors offering tastings of alternative Strange Bird varieties.