The Granite Belt comes to Brisbane with cafe and wine bar Balance & Blend
Southeast Queensland wines are having a moment right now, with the Granite Belt in particular vying for a place among Australia’s wine-growing pantheon alongside the likes of the Margaret River, Adelaide Hills and the Hunter Valley. One homegrown operation leading the charge for recognition is Balancing Heart Winery, a picturesque estate near Girraween that is peddling primo handcrafted and textural vino crafted from grapes grown in the rich soil of the Granite Belt. Before it seeks to build its name nationally, the winery is looking to first win hearts closer to home with its new cafe-meets-cellar-door Balance & Blend, which opened in Coorparoo last week.
We all love wine, but very few of us can manage to take our oenophilia as far as buying an entire winery. Greg Kentish is the one lucky soul that’s managed to achieve to his (and our) dream. After a career in the psychology and wellness sphere, Greg took the leap into viticulture when he purchased Balancing Heart Winery – then known as Balancing Rock – situated south of Stanthorpe on the Granite Belt. Since taking over, Greg spends most of his weekends at the Wyberba-based winery, working across all aspects of the business while simultaneously spearheading a revitalisation and expansion effort. That work has now reached Brisbane in the form of Balance & Blend, a brand-new 24-seater cafe and satellite cellar door nestled in the heart of Coorparoo. The corner space, formerly home to Cafeine Cafe, has been established with two purposes in mind – to show off Balancing Heart’s range (the best produce from the Southern Downs region) to the community and also encourage locals to visit the scenic winery and its surrounds to better connect with the Granite Belt’s natural splendour. The Balancing Heart team has recruited Sharon Penny to craft Balance & Blend’s interior aesthetic, implementing a modern-luxe style using a palette of rendered concrete walls, timber panelling, brown leather and pale-green VJ boards.
In the coming months, Balance & Blend will debut a nighttime menu showcasing a matched food-and-wine offering, but is electing to kick things off with an all-day menu of breakfast, brunch and lunch classics first. Early risers can treat themselves to breakfast rolls, eggs Benedict and granola bowls, but those seeking something more indulgent should opt for the French toasted croissant, which comes topped with vanilla ice-cream, maple syrup and fresh berries. A selection of toasties, salads and burgers will satiate midday hunger pangs, while barista-brewed cups of Stel Coffee will help keep minds and bodies energised all day long. As the site is doubling as a Balancing Heart cellar door, wines are also a big fixture. Bottles are available to purchase for takeaway, and after 10:00 am guests can partake in a wine tasting, which runs the gamut of Balancing Heart’s headline varieties – each of which showcase the art and science of small-batch winemaking. Flights of vino offer tastes of fruit-forward drops such as the Synergy & Wild (wild-ferment syrah), Alchemy & Art (rock shiraz), Quantum & Passion (petit verdot), Essence & Bloom (verdelho), Energy & Grace (chardonnay), and Evolve & Inspire (vioginer) – all boasting unique and nuanced profiles plus commonality afforded by the granitic qualities of the region’s ancient soil. Greg and his team are currently in the process of cultivating more Italian grape varieties at the vineyard (seasonal additions to the wine offering expected as the year progresses) while a new winery cellar door experience is in the works for visitors to enjoy. Balance & Blend is the first of many planned satellite locations for Balancing Heart, with plans to open an additional six cafe, wine bar and cellar door hybrids across Brisbane.
Balance & Blend is now open to the public. For operating hours and contact details, head to the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.