FAST TRACKED: $4m overhaul set for Granite Belt winery
PLANS for a $4 million expansion to a Granite Belt winery could be completed in less than a year, with the owners eager to help boost the region's profile.
The proposal for a 40-seat restaurant and two additional cellar doors at Balancing Heart Winery (formerly Balancing Rock) are expected to be put to the council for approval in the next month.
Winery owner Greg Kentish hoped to create an experience similar to those in prominent wine regions the Barossa and Hunter valleys.
A menu for the restaurant is yet to be decided, but Mr Kentish said he hoped use local produce while serving up an a la carte menu.
"We have such quality wines in the district and if you have that quality wine, people want a quality experience," Mr Kentish said.
"It wants to be that higher level of experience, that's what we're wanting to create for people.
"The region needs seven or eight great places (to eat)."
Having owned the Wyberba-based winery for just four months, Mr Kentish already has plans to build 12 villas on the property once the restaurant is complete.
The investment in the region is one Mr Kentish hoped others would be willing to make.
"I want to be a bit of a pioneer for the district because there's not a lot of serious investment that's gone into the region," he said.
"That's what I'm trying to encourage; people bringing investment in to elevate the region to another level."
Mr Kentish wants to encourage tourism at wineries on the Granite Belt all year round.
"I have a more robust view of the region, it's very much a four-season district and it needs more promotion of it," he said.
"It's the same in other parts of the country, it's freezing in the winter and hot in summer but people flock to the vineyards all year round.
"Now is the time for the entire district to give it a good shake and try something different."
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