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O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards: Summer Insights

By Nikki Hobbs

Located in the foothills of the Gold Coast Hinterland, Canungra Valley is home to one of the fastest growing wine regions in Queensland due to the cooler rainforest climate.

Situated on fifteen acres, O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards is a spectacular venue that boasts an exclusive members-only event program.

The annual New Year grape harvest is an exciting milestone for members and their invited guests, and culminates with a creekside champagne breakfast to toast the newly picked vintages (how appropriate)!

O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards: Summer Insights - Peter Mark and Paula assisting with breakfast

Peter, Mark and Paula assisting with breakfast.

Members Harvest Update

O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards swung open it’s barn gates in the wee hours of Sunday morning (4th February) to 150 eager grape pickers and members, all keen to share in the hands-on experience.

In total 1.145 tonne of Verdelho (12.4 baume) and 1.042 tonne of Semillon (10.6 baume) grapes where carefully handpicked into buckets, in preparation for crushing and turning into premiere wine for consumption across the globe in years to come.

O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards: Summer Insights - IMG 2667

Unfortunately, due to flocks of pesky lorikeets and recent severe wet weather, much of the ripe red grape crop was damaged in the deluge. Therefore the second grape harvest (scheduled for Sunday 25th February) was cancelled and rather supplementary red grapes have been sourced from third generation Peter O’Reilly’s family vineyard located in Stanthorpe.

The impacts of 250mm of rain has meant some grapes developed Black Rot and Grey Mould and therefore were unable to be utilised; As only the best grapes are hand selected in order to meet our brand reputation.

To understand more about the vineyard’s annual pre-harvest process, read our recent interview with viticulturist Kevin Murtagh.

Next Season’s Reserve

With positive energy the vineyard team look ahead to next year (2019) and ensuring a healthy crop. So for now, the nets will be removed and the lorikeets will be able to have their unencumbered fill on the remaining fruit.

The vines will then begin to accumulate starches and carbohydrates from their leaves and translate back into their root systems for a bumper reserve next spring. (Tip: That is why you will see the leaves change colour and fall off).

When the last of the leaves have fallen, dedicated staff (Kevin and Andrej) plus some wine club members will begin pruning in order to shape the structure of the vines for next year’s vintages.

Overseas Wine Export

O’Reilly’s wines proudly cater internationally by shipping 15 containers – or 211,680 bottles – to Chinese clients in the last four years.

O’Reilly’s Managing Director Shane O’Reilly says the future of Queensland’s wine industry lies in establishing alternative wine varieties such as the Verdelho.

O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards: Summer Insights - IMG 2682“We’re not trying to compete against the Shiraz, Cabernet and Chardonnay varieties here in Queensland,” he says.

“We’re trying to propagate wines that really suit our region, similar to the wines coming from other parts of Europe, like Portugal and Spain, where the climate is hotter and drier like ours.

“We’ve tried to establish our wines as a point of difference.”

In particular the “Vince” Verdelho (selling at $35.90) has become widely popular due to the tropical fruit and pineapple on the nose with guava and passionfruit flavours.

This unique approach has been recently acknowledged at the 2017 Queensland Tourism Awards with a gold award for O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards in the Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries category.