MICHAEL RICHARDS

Nothing to wine about, Gecko Valley now has local beer

THE owners of Gecko Valley winery are toasting a new business venture - local beer.

Coleen and Tony McCray are rebuilding the business after fire swept through the vineyard in 2011.

"It's been six months in the process but we finally have a full open licence," she said.

"We will be stocking all the beautiful central Queensland products like the new Baffle Creek beer range, Great Northern, Rekorderlig Cider and our very own honey beers down the track."

Mr McCray said was a move that would not only better serve customers but also promote authentic central Queensland products.

"For years we've had comments from (our female) customers that their husbands would come if there was an option for beer," he said.

"There's a real downturn in CQ at current so if we can help we'll do it.

"For this reason, we won't stock Crown Lager and other brands because they will compete."

Also brewing this year is the re-release of the couple's famous Chardonnay, and if Mrs McCray has her way, in-house-made goats cheese could make its way to plates too.

"I'm a master cheese maker - quark, mozzarella, ricotta, blue vein, camembert and brie," Mrs McCray said.

The couple has excelled since opening the business in April, 1999.

"They say 80% of people's dream is to open a winery. Well we were in the other 20%," Mr McCray laughed.

"We originally were going into native flower export. But we made the right decision."



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