Bottled bliss bowls them over in Cairns
  • Saturday 16 July 2011

If the idea of a snifter of lychee liqueur gets your senses glowing, you’re clearly in good company.

You won’t have to look far to get the nation’s absolute best of it, either – because it’s grown and bottled right here on the Sunshine Coast.

Pomona’s Tomarata Orchard has taken out the one and only Gold Medal in the recent Australian Fruit Wine Competition in Cairns, with its Sensual Lychee Liqueur 2010, beating all comers – in its first-ever outing at the event.

Tomarata followed up that ‘best-in-show’ with bronze for its Sensual Peach Liqueur 2007 and further success with its Sensual Sundowner Liqueur (nectarine and honey) 2008.

"The judges said our ‘Gold Medal winner was a standout, with true fruit characters, good balance and length’," Tomarata owner Kerry Pool said.

John and Kerry Pool started out in the lychee industry 13 years ago and Tomarata Orchard was set up in 2005. They have always been passionate about value-adding their product and the liqueur business began in 2007.

"Our first lychee vintage was bottled in 2010; we had 900 bottles, 700 of which were sold in the first few weeks," Kerry said.

"It’s a beautiful product."

The fledgling liqueur specialist also took out first, second and third positions in the fruit wine section at last year’s Ekka – first time again.

Economic Development and Entrepreneurship portfolio councillor, Lew Brennan, said the company was a perfect representative of the type of modern rural industry that can thrive in the Coast hinterland.

"Seeing this type of quality boutique venture grow and be so quickly successful reflects exactly what our economic development strategy is all about, and is a great showcase for what innovative entrepreneurs can do in this region," he said.

"Even though Tomarata Orchards is already one of the larger lychee growers in the country, the value-adding that John and Kerry Pool have put into their business has paid off handsomely."