PLANS ON THE TABLE: Bent Road Winery is looking to build a gin distillery at its Ballandean vineyard. The application to start construction is currently sitting with the Southern Downs Regional Council.
PLANS ON THE TABLE: Bent Road Winery is looking to build a gin distillery at its Ballandean vineyard. The application to start construction is currently sitting with the Southern Downs Regional Council. Pcholik

Winery looking to add a spirit to their drinks list

THE Granite Belt may be known for wine, but one vineyard is looking to delve into a different kind of drink.

Bent Road Wines has lodged an application to build a gin distillery at its Ballandean property.

If approved the winemakers will truck in spirit from Tarac Technologies, a South Australian based supplier of fermented wine marc.

It will dilute the pure alcohol at the new Bent Road distillery and add the gin's signature botanicals before taking the final product to market.

Bent Road already has approval from the Australian Taxation Office to truck in the base spirit and most of the water used for dilution will come from a pre-existing, on-site supply.

The liquid waste will be stored on site and monitored by the ATO while the development application stated solid waste will be composted for use on the winery's grape vines.

The application claims there will be little in the way of noise and odour concerns because the distillery will be set on a 40ha property, surrounded by other farming operations.

Fun gin facts

- Dutch physician, Franciscus Sylvius, has been credited with the invention of gin in the mid-17th century but it's closely related to another older Dutch spirit, genever.

- English soldiers fighting alongside the Dutch against the Spanish during the Eighty Year's War would drink genever for its 'calming' benefits before battle, this is where the phrase Dutch courage comes from.

- There are three ways to make gin:

Pot distilled gin is the earliest style of gin and is traditionally produced by pot distilling a fermented grain mash (malt wine) from barley or other grains, then redistilling it with flavouring botanicals to extract the aromatic compounds. 

This type of gin is often aged in tanks or wooden casks, and retains a heavier, malty flavour that gives it a marked resemblance to whisky. 

Column distilled gin is produced by first distilling high-proof neutral spirits from a fermented mash or wash using a column still. The fermentable base for this spirit may be derived from grain, sugar beets, grapes, potatoes, sugar cane, plain sugar, or any other material of agricultural origin.

The highly concentrated spirit is then redistilled with juniper berries and other botanicals in a pot still.

Most often, the botanicals are suspended in a "gin basket" positioned within the head of the still, which allows the hot alcoholic vapours to extract flavouring components from the botanical charge. This is how London Dry Gin is made.

Compound gin is made by simply flavouring neutral spirits with essences or other natural flavourings without redistillation and is not as highly regarded as distilled gin.

The Gin and Tonic was introduced by the army of the British East India Company. Soldiers serving in malaria prone areas would mix their gin with tonic, which contained quinine, a compound used to treat the disease.