John and Heather Robinson were one of the first to introduce into Queensland the premium grape varieties of chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, to complement existing shiraz plantings. In addition to these varieties, they have plantings of merlot, gamay beaujolais, sauvignon blanc, and gewurztraminer. They now have 30 acres under vine. Their first wine was made in 1974 a cabernet shiraz with the first commercial wine made in 1975, a Cabernet/Shiraz/Pinot Noir blend, that same year it won a Gold Medal at the Brisbane R.N.A. Show. Over the last 46 years their wines have consistently won awards and recommendations on a local and national scale.
From 1963-1966 John Robinson lived and worked in Europe, here his passion for wine began.
John Robinson first got the bug for wine back in 1963-1966 during this period he worked and travelled in Germany and France. Some time spent teaching english in Stuttgart Germany and Lyon in France. During this time he would venture out to the local vineyards and try the wines from the Mosel and Rhine to Burgundy , Beaujolais and the Rhone Valley. In 1971 he did a vintage with the Hunter Valley pioneer Max Lake at Lakes Folly where many of the old stalwarts (Len Evans,John Beetson and James Halliday amongst others) of the industry would drop by for a tipple.In 1974 he made his first wine.
comes from a family of winemaking tradition. Formerly Heather Salter, her family established Saltrams Winery (W.Salter&Son) in the Barossa Valley of South Australia, which was established in 1859 with William and his son Edward having arrived on the ship the Caroline in 1839.
Together they established Robinsons.
In 1975 John and Heather did an extensive wine study tour of Western Europe covering France (Champagne, Loire, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace, Macon/Beaujolais, Rhone Valley), Germany (Rhine, Mosel), Italy (Piemonte, Chianti) and Austria.
Craig Robinson is the 3rd son of the five children of John and Heather Robinson and is the winemaker for Robinsons Family Vineyards. From an early age the children were always helping with the winemaking at Robinsons. From vineyard work to bottling they were involved (or in the way). It was from these beginnings that Craig eventually came round to liking the type of challenges that winemaking provided.
After studying at Charles Sturt University, Craig has worked at Houghton’s in Perth and Vasse Felix in Margaret River Western Australia, Sticks in the Yarra valley Victoria, Hardy’s at Reynella , Mclaren Vale and Padthaway/Coonawarra South Australia and in California with Golden State Vintners and Lambert Bridge Sonoma, Vina Errazuriz in Aconcagua Chile, Romania and Chianti Colli Senesi in Tuscany Italy with the Comforti Family at Monte Morli. Travelling to Willamette Oregon and all through Italy he has a passion for all things that surround the grape. For more info see www.vintagenomad.com.
He is relishing the opportunity to evolve the style of Robinson Family Vineyards wines into something individual and of unique quality where structure and flavour and individuality are sought. Utilizing the techniques and experience he has used all over the world under great winemakers like Ross Pamment, Steven Pannell, Paul Lapsley, Tom Newton, Kym Milne, Travis Bush, Michael Langridge ,Caroline Herrera and Francisco Baettig Hidalgo.
Q&A Craig Robinson
Why the Granite Belt?
"Having worked all over the world it is clear to me that the Granite Belt Region is as good as or a more superior region for growing and producing wine than many highly regarded regions around the world."
What makes it a great region?
"It has a moderate climate ample sunshine and natural rainfall patterns remarkably similar to Bordeaux in France. So the style of wines will have a more european elegance and texture compared to more southerly regions. It is also dramatically beautiful."
What grapes do well?
"Chardonnay and Semillion in the whites, but unfortunately they are not the fashion.So some are planting Fiano,Vermentino and Albarino.
With red grapes pretty much any variety from south west france (Tannat, Merlot,Malbec,Petit Verdot, Cabernet etc) , Shiraz and Mataro."
What will you be focusing on?
"Chardonnay and a cabernet/shiraz dominant red blend as these varities have consistently shown to be very well suited to the region"
The future for the region?
" The region has been growing grapes and making wine for the last 40 years when back in 1975 two wineries (Robinsons and Angelos) won GOLD medals in the Brisbane Royal National Agricultural Wine Show. It will continue to gain wide respect and admiration as a high quality wine region and as the region builds will garner a more consistent approach to marketing and communicating its special place in Australia and the world.