The Outback Town Turning Water into Wine 

If you travel five and a half hours west of Brisbane you’ll find red dirt, sparce landscapes and a thriving winery!

Riversands Winery is Queensland’s most western winery. It sits on the banks of the mighty Balonne River in St George. This waterway is what attracted owner David Blackett to the property 27 years ago. And he’s been turning that water into wine ever since.

David takes pride in educating visitors about their remarkable operation. Tastings and tours offer visits insights into the winemaking process and the region’s agriculture.

“Most people are surprised that we’re growing wine out here to start with, but I do explain that wines have been growing out here since 1862.”

But how is there a winery in the dry and hot outback? It’s all due to the water security of the Beardmore Dam.

However, out here,  it’s not as simple as turning on a tap.

David places a water order with Sunwater, and a specific amount is released from the Beardmore Dam into the Jack Taylor Wier in town, and then downstream to the waterhole on David’s winery. The water is then carefully directed from the waterhole to the filter shed, eventually reaching the vines, and David’s elaborate dripper system.

That means that Riversands Winery can boasts an impressive selection of wines, including rich reds, crisp whites, and sparkling varieties. However due to the region’s hot climate, the winery has become own for its fortified wines, such as ports and liqueurs.

Water from the Beardmore Dam serves not only the winery but also sustains the livelihoods of local farmers like Ian Todd, who rely on this vital resource for their cotton crops. Visitors can learn more about St George’s agricultural landscape by embarking on a Winery and Cotton Tour.

As the lifeblood of the town, these waterways play an integral role in the prosperity of the St George community.

They’re also popular for fishing and recreation.

While Sunwater love seeing people enjoying the waterways, it’s important to play it safe – always read the signs, stay upstream and at least 200metres away from weir or dam walls.

Make sure you check the Sunwater website or download the app before you hit the water. You can also stay up to date with alerts online.


You can find out more about the St George Winery and Cotton Tours on the visitor site.

And if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in town, we recommend Pelican’s Rest, just across the road from the Balonne River.



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