Winemaker sniffs taste of success
By ED SOUTHORN
THE Tweed's only winemaker, Mark Quinn of the family-owned Ilnam Winery at Carool, is planning to have his quality whites and reds widely available soon along Kingscliff's famous restaurant strip.
Mark has been hard at work among lots of wet grapes as he completes Ilnam's annual wine crush.
Since the first crush in 1999, the Quinn family has been quietly building up its wine stocks.
Until now, the best place to find Ilnam wines has been at the picturesque winery's cellar door, where a steady flow of customers have promoted Ilnam's good reputation with word-of-mouth recommendations.
Mark has been waiting for enough of his wines to mature sufficiently to be able to keep up steady supplies of the locallygrown product for restaurant diners.
Over the next few months, Mark will be looking to have his wine stocked in district restaurants and some clubs.
"We'll be knocking on their doors soon," Mark said.
Although Ilnam's 2000 merlot won a second prize at the Australian Small Winemakers Show, Mark plans to also focus on some more unsual grape varieties over coming years.
Already, Ilnam is growing marsanne white grapes and petit verdot red grapes, both lesserknown varieties.
Mark said his crop for this year's harvest had been hit by a leaf disease, nevertheless producing around 30 tonnes with very good flavours and relatively high alcohol content.
He expects more wine growers to set up in the Tweed over the next few years, in line with the growing population and emerg- ing local tourism industry.