Dry white for wet feet at Riversands Vineyard

But now the welcome mat and wine glasses await

By Kerry Scambler
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David and Alison Blacket from Riversands Wines

David and Alison Blacket from Riversands Wines


Look closely at the smiling faces of David and Alison Blacket in the photo on the right. You’d think it’s just a couple of vineyard owners happy after a long day’s work in the winery… take a closer look and you’ll see the brown water lapping at their knees!

After three floods in less than three years, the most recent being the worst in recorded history, plus the loss of stock in a fire at Ballandean (where their grapes are turned into wine) in December, the team at Riversands in St George is still finding something to smile about. It shouldn’t be a surprise though- Queenslanders are often heard saying, ‘you can’t keep us down’.

After this glass of wine to fortify them David, Alison and their team were in for some long days of hard work.

With the cellar, coldroom and office ankle deep in water, it took pumps, plenty of manpower and a dash or two of liqueur Muscat over three days to clear.

Then it was out with the hose, mops, brooms and buckets to give everything a good wash down – even the lawn and plants!

Only with the help of friends, family and a certain local Senator Barnaby Joyce, was it possible for the cellar and garden to be ready to welcome visitors within just one week. A true transformation from a sea of brown muddy water, to sparkling clean cellar door and lush green lawns and garden.

The vineyard itself is on the road to recovery as well with the older vines surviving yet another flood. Many of the recently planted 3,000 Midnight vines have just started sprouting lovely green buds, a wonderful sight and prompting sighs of relief. The initial prognosis wasn’t looking good for these 5 month old vines.

The landscape and people have recovered in St George now there’s just one thing left to make the story complete – you! With the welcome mat now truly out, cellar doors thrown open and the tasting glasses polished up, there’s some great reasons to come and support not just Riversands in St George but all the tourism operators in the region.

There’s wine to share and plenty of stories to tell about the things that washed up during the floods. Ask about the party-ready freezer that appeared in the paddock, how the melons and pumpkins from the neighbour’s farm helped the wildlife and how disappointed they were when the beer keg turned out to be empty! But what on earth did they do with the jar of water saving crystals that washed up??

From now until Easter is a great time to visit but there’s always a warm welcome at any time of the year. Relax in the garden, enjoy a free wine tasting in their cosy cellar or a delicious mud cake (how appropriate!), scones and cheese platter in the country garden.

And you’re guaranteed those beaming smiles from David and Alison.


Members of RACQ  (and any affiliated motoring organisations, eg RACT, RACV, NRMA etc) receive a 15% discount on cellar door purchases »


  • Central Queensland (QLD)
  • Western Downs (QLD)

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March 20th, 2012
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