Riversands Vineyards has been a Blacket family venture since 1996. In that time David and Alison have developed the vineyard and raised three boys, Nick, Loxlee and Jock.
David had worked in the Qld Dpt of Primary Industries for 15 years as an Agricultural Extension Officer in the dryland cropping and pasture industries . After 15 eventful years it was time to venture into his own business.
Alison had worked as a Registered Nurse and was keen to stay in the west and give her children a country upbringing. "We always had a passion for the land with both of us being raised on rural properties at Yuleba (Alison) and Dunkeld south of Mitchell (David) in South West Queensland."
David had watched his own family wrestle with devastation of drought for many decades. "I wanted to ensure our own business was fully irrigated."
Alison remembers ‘We faced additional challenges in 1995 when our firstborn son Nick was born with a severe disability, Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome. For Nick that diagnosis meant he was fully dependent on others and required life long care. Help Kids Like Nick is a charity founded in his name to raise funds for families across Australia affected by Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome.
David remembers "We purchased Riversands in 1996 as an established table grape vineyard and relocated to St George. Riversands ticked all the boxes. A key attraction was a good water licence supplemented with the water security offered by the Beardmore Dam and immediate income. And we were close to the St George hospital for Nick's care." Alison said "We had the double input of growing a family and a small business at the same time but thankfully St George turned out to be a good town for services and support."
David goes on to say "While we initially purchased Riversands to grow table grapes, the original wine grapes had been planted in 1992. We decided to keep the wine venture going alongside the table grapes. We not only had to learn about table grape production quickly but also the wine industry!"
"Two decades on in 2018 the vineyard has been largely redeveloped and expanded to its current size of 20 ha (50 ac). In that time we encountered poor table grape prices, the record local floods of 2010, 2011 & 2012 and a devastating fire at Ballandean in which the majority of our wine stocks were lost. Through these tougher times we had to find survival skills. In 2016 we enjoyed a record table grape harvest which put us back on the front foot, consolidating the business with a good harvest in 2017."
Today three quarters of the vineyard still produces table grapes with most of our premium fruit sold to Woolworths and Coles. We produce 3,000- 4,000 dozen wine per annum which are mostly sold on the Queensland domestic market via shows, retail outlets and web orders and to grey nomads travelling the Great Inland Way via our cellar door.
We are best known for our delicious fortified muscats and ports. We also produce a range of dry white and red table wines along with the ever popular sweeter Moscato styles.
At Riversands you can create your own 'bush story in every glass'.... or discover one of ours!