Surrounded by cane fields, it’s not surprising Mt Uncle Distillery produces award winning rum but it also makes gin, whiskey and vodka. There’s also a cheeky little marshmallow liqueur called SexyCat in its repertoire.
Formed in 2001 at Walkamin by head distiller and director Mark Watkins, Mt Uncle champions local and nationally sourced ingredients.
It has its own volcanic spring water source. Known as North Queensland’s first and only distillery, the cellar door is open 10am to 4pm. Bridges Bar and Restaurant is also on the property along with lush grounds to roam, which include a banana farm.
Mango wine is not easy to make but the Nastasi family of Mareeba have cracked it. A former tobacco farm, the Nastasi’s developed a successful 17,500 tree Australian Kensington Red Mango plantation on their land but wanted to diversify.
After much research and hard yakka, the Golden Drop Winery opened in 1999 with the world’s first commercial mango wine.
Their initial offering from the Biboohra property was dry, medium and sweet varieties but now as well as mango wines they make port liqueurs and citrus cellos. Their cellar door is open 9am to 5.30pm and visitors can see where their purchases came from with a look at a working plantation.
Murdering Point Winery
If it’s grown locally it’s a good bet Murdering Point Winery can turn it into wine.
The Silkwood winery produce red and white wines, ports, liqueurs and creams made from typical tropical fruits such as mango, lychee and pineapple through to more exotic varieties – Davidson plum, black sapote, vanilla and jaboticaba – the Brazilian native which grows sweet black fruit on its trunk.
Founded by the Berryman family in 2001, Murdering Point Winery has won numerous Australian Fruit Wine Show champion and gold awards, especially for their Panama Gold made from mangoes and aged in French oak barrels. The cellar door is open 9.30 to 5pm.
de Brueys original founders Bob and Elaine de Bruey named their Mareeba winery after an ancestor who was a valiant vice-admiral on one of Napoleon’s ships in the battle of the Nile.
Their own story has a better ending with the couple now retired having sold their winery to Double Island Resort owner Benny Wu. de Brueys passionfruit wine has won a best dry wine championship at the Australian Fruit Wine Awards and their Flagship Coffee Liqueur has been named best liqueur.
The raw materials for their winery, sugar cane and tropical fruits, come from either the farm or neighbouring properties. The wines are produced up to 12 months before sale and adhere to wine industry standards for clarity and stability. It’s a working commercial winery with a special viewing platform for visitors. The cellar door is open 10am to 5pm.
Deep in Mungalli bush land Rainforest Heart transforms native fruit into wine. It’s latest – Davidson’s Plum Royale, a fortified native fruit wine aperitif. They also make fruit spritzers from the bush tucker grown on the 400 plus hectare property on the edge of Wooroonooran National Park.
Founded and managed by Margo Watkins and her partner Peter, Rainforest Heart offers personalised tours of this unique orchard and farm, near Millaa Millaa. The cellar door is by appointment only.
Written by Tanya Snelling. Originally published 16th July 2018