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VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive Newsletter – December 2009

 

Wishing you a happy festive season + wine, food and travel ideas for the holidays


Quick link: Win wine, vineyard lunches, books, hampers and more  »

Another year has almost gone - 2009 will be one to remember, for many reasons. Now December is here and we can put it - and hopefully the GFC - behind us, and think of more festive times ahead, fun times with friends and family and some relaxation over the holiday period. Some of you may already be prepared for seasonal festivities, but for those of you who are just starting your Christmas shopping - like me - or are seeking fresh ideas for your feasts or gifts, we hope you'll find some inspiration in our last newsletter of the year.

Books always make good presents; we also feature some lovely wines of course, and even some spectacular tours if you want to treat yourself and a loved one to an unforgettable experience in India this January, or - a great last-minute inclusion - a sumptous safari through the winelands of South Africa's Western Cape in March.

Fill in our quickpoll on the right this month and you will go in the draw to win one of 14 gifts in time for Christmas. Enjoy!

In this edition:

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Quick Links:


Upgrade and become a Member - A$99 for a whole year of benefits (A$169 per couple)



Quick Poll:

Every quickpoll that is submitted this month goes in the draw to win one of 14 prizes. Competition closes 17th December. Prize details here . If you are unable to access the quickpoll below, you can fill it out online

Q1. Have you even flown as part of a journey to a wine or food region in Australia? (eg fly to Perth or Adelaide, drive to Margaret River or the Barossa, etc). Note we include such regions as Far North Queensland or Broome as food regions – we know they don’t make much wine apart from mango, but they have great food!
Yes
No

Q2. If so, what domestic airline did you use (on your most recent wine or food travels)?
Qantas
Virgin
Jetstar
Tiger
Rex
Other (please specify below)

Q3. What is your preferred domestic airline?
Qantas
Virgin
Jetstar
Tiger
Rex
Other (please specify below)

Q4. Do you associate any airline with wine or food travels or regions within Australia?
Yes
No
Which airline?

And why?

Q5. Have you taken an overseas wine or food holiday in the past few years?
Yes
No
What was the destination?

Q6. What airline did you use on your most recent international wine/food holiday


WINE: Stocking up for the festive season?


The team at VisitVineyards.com has been handed the keys to the extensive cellars of The Wine Society, Australia's longest-established and most respected wine club. Well, not literally - but we, and you, can now access almost their entire range of wines direct from your home on the VisitVineyards.com website. Check out our new Buy Wine page, where you can spend hours browsing - they have lots of special wines, and some special prices, too. Order now and the wine will be with you by Christmas.

We've done some of the work for you and selected a range of sparklings and white wines for the festive season. Here's a few wines for your partying that won't break the budget or leave you looking like Scrooge »

 

At a glamorous dinner at the Westin Hotel in Sydney recently attended by some 500 wine industry dignitaries, The Wine Society revealed the Young Winemaker of the Year as Ryan Aggiss from Flying Fish Cove in Western Australia. Jen Pfeiffer from Pfeiffer Wines in Rutherglen, Victoria, took out the Sommeliers' Choice award and Peter Kelly of Thorn-Clarke Wines, South Australia, won the Members Choice award.

The Wine Society awards recognise the importance and best efforts of young people in the wine industry and our winemakers of the future. Congratulations to Ryan, Jen and Peter along with all the finalists »

VisitVineyards.com Members will be pleased to know that they are invited to attend Thorn-Clarke's 'Shotfire Sessions' tutored tastings at no cost - offering all wine enthusiasts an insight into the award-winning wines of Thorn-Clarke - and get a 20% discount on any case purchases.

And at Pfeiffer Wines, Members can book into an exclusive wine-tasitng tutorial with Jen Pfeiffer herself. Get a group together and find out why she's the Sommeliers' Choice, and explore your choice of her wines.

(If you want to enjoy these experiences and you aren't already a VisitVineyards.com Member, please join now, then make your bookings quoting your Membership numbers.)
 




WINE AND TRAVEL: Great gift ideas, grape escapes and Top 12s

Looking for gifts? Wine and food lovers are surely amongst the easiest to buy for. VisitVineyards.com has put together some great gift ideas that will not only impress your friends but take any stress out of buying.

Want to give someone a gift that lasts the whole year? An exclusive package of benefits and experiences they won't find anywhere else? Giving a wine and food lover a VisitVineyards.com Membership provides them access to unique experiences when they visit our fabulous wine regions - for just A$99. Presented in an attractive lime green gift card - all you have to do is write in their name (or we can do that too, and post it to them if you wish). Simply phone us on (03) 6248 4476 or email us and we'll look after it all for you »

 

As well, we have a Christmas present for you: Buy a Membership for yourself and get one free for a partner or friend - the perfect present!  Again, just phone us on (03) 6248 4476 or email and we'll have your gifts to you in no time »

With over 260 exclusive benefits and experiences for Members to choose from, you will benefit with a diverse range of bonuses, exclusive experiences and discounts in food and wine regions around Australia as well as other countries.

Take a look at our Top 12 experiences and benefits for Members to enjoy over the next few months »

 

Other gifts for wine, food and travel lovers:

  • The Vineyard Cookbook is part cookbook and part sumptuous armchair journey through some of Australia's best wine regions. A celebration of food and wine from Australia's grape-growing regions - it's our pick of the year!
  •  Four wine experts share their international wine knowledge - Refreshingly ego free, this introductory wine text is a must-have for any serious wine student seeking A Taste of the World of Wine »
  • Wolf Blass: Behind the Bow Tie by Liz Johnston. A well-written biography celebrating 75 years of the life of one of the most influential characters in the modern Australian wine industry. Happy 75th to Wolf Blass - and what a great gift this biography would be for anyone interested Australian wine. A must-read for budding wine makers and marketers, too.
  • Looking for a holiday that combines vineyards, food producers and national parks? We've done some digging through Australia's National Parks by Lee Atkinson to bring you some holiday ideas that combine wine, food and nature.
  • Check out our Top 12 food and cookbooks for the past twelve months and more gift ideas in the food section below.

 

Grape escapes

  • The South Australian region of McLaren Vale is only a short 40-minute drive from central Adelaide making it a perfect day trip or weekend destination. Be warned though, surrounded by stunning beaches and packed full of award-winning wineries, galleries, restaurants and one of the best farmers' markets around, a weekend in South Australia's McLaren Vale could easily stretch into a week.
  • Ready for a relaxing weekend enjoying fabulous food and wine? How about picking up a hamper and a bottle of wine and sitting by the river? Greg Lawrence, Cellar Door Manager, St Leonards Vineyard , talks about life in North East Victoria's Rutherglen and why people love this area. Only three hours from Melbourne and perfect to recharge those batteries.

 

Wine

The Barossa Valley is probably Australia's best-know wine region, with a reputation based on consistently good wines, passionate winemaking and commitment to quality. Authors of the recent Barossa Wine Traveller , Tyson Stelzer and Grant Dodd, state that 'the best wines of the Barossa stand shoulder to shoulder with the great wines of the world'. You won't go wrong giving any one of these best of the Barossa Valley »


COMPETITIONS: A festive feast of prizes including three fantastic vineyard restaurant lunches to be won

Great wine from the Mornington Peninsula, gourmet gift hampers from Margaret River, plenty of books to inspire, educate and entertain plus something extra special - three superb vineyard restaurant lunches to be won.

Just like you, we're getting caught up with preparations and joining in the holiday festivities so these competitions will run through December and January.

1. SUBSCRIBERS' MONTHLY COMPETITION: it's free to enter - and these are prizes to sure to delight:

First prize: Red Hill Estate Chardonnay - sip on chardonnay from the boutique vineyard with the best views on the Mornington Peninsula. Combining fruit from the elevated cooler parts of the vineyard with that from the warmer more northerly regions results in the 2007 Red Hill Estate Chardonnay having a beautiful cool climate smooth creaminess but with a crisp acid finish. 

Second prize: Peter Howard's BBQ Collection - you might not want to cook a souffle on the BBQ, but there are ideas and recipes aplenty to to make you view the humble BBQ in a completely new light.

Third prize: How to catch fish and cook it - we know fresh is best and this book will show you how to catch, care for and then cook your catch making it easy to follow the directive of eat more fish!

Fourth prize: Curiosi-tea and tea to taste - discover the world of joculari-tea, frivoli-tea with this delightful book covering the history and development of tea as an international beverage of choice. There are two copies to be won each coming with a special tea-pack from Bianca's Tea and Coffee.

Fifth prize: Seafood and Huon's Connoisseur's Guide to Salmon - a fishy combo sure to add plenty of Omega 3 to your diet - along with some pleasurable dining of course.

 

2. MEMBERS IN DECEMBER: fine wine, gourmet food and inspiring books:

First prize: sip and savour the best of east and west with superb chardonnay from Red Hill Estate and a bonus gourmet gift hamper of tasty treats from The Berry Farm in Margaret River.

Second prize: A taste of the world of wine - take your wine knowledge into the global sphere with this book from Patrick Iland, Peter Gago, Andrew Calliard and Peter Day, four respected people with vast wine knowledge and hands-on experience. A must have for the serious wine-lover's library.

Third prize: Salsa  - journey to Port Douglas for a taste of the tropics. Full of local specialties and ending as all good tropical experiences should  - with cocktails brimming with fruit and flavour.

Fourth prize: Et Voila! French pastries from Choux Cafe   - set the alarm a little earlier at the weekend and cook up croissants for your own touch of France.

Fifth prize: Greater Noosa Local Produce to Platter  - combine the good sun, soil, rain and people of this region and you'll come up with a unique range of produce. Discover that the beautiful beaches are are just the backdrop for wonderful wine and food experiences - Queensland style.

 

AND THERE'S MORE, so much more....

 

3. Yes, there is such a thing as a FREE LUNCH! In fact there are three. Both Members and subscribers can enter to win one of three unique Vineyard Cookbook lunches, created exclusively for recipients of this newsletter:

To celebrate the release of this superb new book that shares our love of wine and food in wine regions across the country, VisitVineyards.com is giving you the chance to enjoy lunch at one of these three fantastic vineyards which are all featured in our book of the year - the fabulous Vineyard Cookbook »

* travel and accommodation is your responsibility - only enter if you can get there yourself, please. You can enter to win more than one lunch but please enter each one separately.

 

4. Can't make it to McLaren Vale, Tasmania or Margaret River?

We don't want you to feel left out.  There are also three copies of the stunning Vineyard Cookbook to be given away so you can travel Australia's wine regions from home and cook up your own vineyard-inspired storm. And yes we can post these prizes overseas. To enter this competition, all you have to do is post a comment on any winery, vineyard or place in one of our wine regions that you have visited or stayed at recently - it's easy »

 

5. Specially Tasmanian: Do you think Tasmania is special? Or would you like to find out more?  Simply fill in this form and tell us why you'd like a copy or email us and we'll send you a free stunning issue of Tasmania 40 Degrees South - Tasmanian's premier magazine showcasing everything wonderful about Australia's island state, from its wine and food, to art, science, nature, history and much more.

Homesick expats are welcome to a copy, too - these can also be posted overseas. So don't be shy, get in touch!

 

UNCLAIMED WINE AND BOOKS - are they YOURS?

Our prize shelf is getting back in shape again but we are already collecting goodies to give away in 2010 so we need to clear the last few prizes from October - including (no, we can't believe this either) some beautiful wine from Granite Hills and (Members!!) Hanging Rock . This is great wine, folks - and there are some books still here, too! Please CHECK THE WINNERS' PAGE and if your name is on it, then email us with your postal address. (Hint - you can do a search of the winners' page for your name if you can't spot it straight away.)

Remember: you have a far higher chance of winning one of our competitions than of winning Tattslotto - so please check. The next draw will be at the end of January and winners announced in our February newsletter.

 

 


FOOD: Can you ever have too many cookbooks? Here's some favourites and new releases.

Is there any better gift for a food lover than a cookbook? We've put together our wishlist of fabulous cookbooks - ones that are inspiring with beautiful photographs, clear instructions and do-able, innovative (and tested) recipes. Even for those who only need one or two cookbooks in their lives, there's something for everyone in our 12 of the Best - check out our baker's dozen selection for 2009 here »

Relax or be inspired this summer with some new cookbooks featuring food from around the planet. Travel the world without leaving your very own loungeroom or kitchen. Some more good releases include:

  • Thai Street Food by David Thompson - step out of your comfort zone and into the fascinating world of Thai Street Food as David Thompson takes us on a whirlwind tour of the people, places, stalls, markets and ingredients that make up this fascinating nation. A truly stunning and epic journey through the food packed streets of Thailand.
  • Songs of Sapa - stories and recipes from Vietnam - by Luke Nguyen - experience the authentic cuisine and people of Vietnam with Red Lantern's co-owner and chef Luke Nguyen. Join him on his travels through his parent's homeland as he discovers the food and culture of Vietnam for himself.
  • Cooking for Christmas - from Murdoch Books: whether you're a dab hand at turning out the turkey or envisioning your first festive feast with trepidation, this book will offer you plenty of tips and recipe ideas to take the stress out of what should be a relaxing time with family and friends »
  • Greater Noosa Local Produce to Platter is a wonderful guide to the food and lifestyle of Queensland's Noosa region , which has established itself as a foodie destination on Australia’s eastern seaboard and has pioneered the sunshine state’s move to culinary centre stage.
  • My Greek Family Table by Maria Benardis - written with passion, this is a personal invitation to experience all the depth and flavour of Greek cuisine and the wonderful spirit of kersma - the offering of food to those we love.
  • et voilà! - French pastries from Choux Café - by Emmanuel Mollois - pastry is one of those little pleasures in life we think we don't need but what better way is there to start the day than with a pastry? Chef Emmanuel Mollois' irrepressible enthusiasm is baked into every page of this gorgeous cookbook.
  • They say you can tell a lot about a place and its culture by what its people eat for breakfast, and where. Find out from chef Bill Granger what modern Sydneysiders eat to start their day, and how you can make it at home - no matter where you live »
  • Peter Howard's BBQ Collection - fire it up and grab those tongs, it's time to rule the BBQ and with this book in hand you can serve up a gourmet three (or more) course meal with ease and complete with accompaniments, straight from the humble BBQ »
  • One of our year's 12 Best Cookbooks, Pizza Modo Mio by Australia's own world pizza champion John Lanzafame, has just been released in softcover prepackaged with a pizza stone for the same price as the original hardcover - a bargain and would make a great Christmas present »

Just in and yet to be reviewed are Lindey Milan's The Best Collection, Oceans by Andrew Dwyer, and Luke Mangan's At Home and In the Mood  - look out for these on VisitVineyards.com over summer.

A great little stocking filler also just arrived is A Guide to Australian and New Zealand Olive Oils available direct from Australian and New Zealand Olivegrower and Processor at A$17.05 including postage, A$18.50 overseas. We're looking forward to trying some new things with olive oil over the holiday season and will share these with you too.
 


MEMBERS' BENEFITS:  What's new, what's fun and our Top 12 Experiences for inspiration

Members, make the most of the months ahead with 'create-your-own-wine' classes in the Mornington Peninsula and McLaren Vale, wine tours in the Hunter Valley and South Africa, massages that come to you and more...

 

Need more inspiration to join us? Our Top 12 Member Benefits and Experiences list will tempt you »

Looking for that perfect gift? Giving a loved one a VisitVineyards.com Membership means they’ll enjoy 12 months access to over 260 exclusive benefits and experiences at wineries, restaurants, accommodation providers and more in regions across Australia and beyond - and the list grows weekly. For $99 per single or $169 per couple (and special rates for Wine Society members), a VisitVineyards.com Membership truly is a gift that keeps on giving »

 

And just in time for Christmas, we have a special offer - buy a Membership for yourself and get one free for a partner or friend, buy a couple Membership and get a free couple membership for your friends and enjoy our wonderful wine regions together. We'll post them to you in a gift card in time for Christmas. 

It's very easy and it's the perfect present for your friends or family - and you!


'Tis the season to be jolly - and have lots of fun

With celebrations around the country for Christmas and New Year, not to mention Australia Day in January, major sporting events including the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and festivals galore, it's going to be a busy summer down under. We've chosen just a few festivals and events to get you in the mood for the party season.

  • If you happen to be in Alice Springs on 11 December then the Christmas Carnival is jammed with activities and live entertainment for people of all ages as well as stalls for that last minute Christmas shopping.
  • On 8-10 January in Bright, Victoria, at the Alpine Valleys Gourmet Weekend, awaken your senses with a weekend showcase of delicious regional food and exciting cool climate wines.
  • The Portarlington Mussel Festival on 9 January showcases local produce from the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria including wine, olives and cheese and of course those fabulous mussels to sample and purchase prepared in a variety of ways.
  • Also in Victoria, on 16-17 January, Tastes of Prom Country will feature some of the best food, wine, beer, produce, music and art the South Gippsland district has to offer. Come and taste the best of country life.
  • Tassie is the place to be this summer. For 7 days and nights, 28 December to 3 January , Hobart's historic Sullivans Cove is transformed into a smorgasbord of events for all the family to enjoy. The Waterfront Festival includes the not-to-be-missed Taste which is Tasmania's biggest food and wine showcase »
  • MONA FOMA follows almost straight after from 8th - 24th January. Last year's inaugural festival with Nick Cave was just a warm up to what promises to be a spectacular musical, art, wine, food and cultural event that is putting Hobart on the world stage, fast. Book very soon - John Cale of the Velvet Underground will be performing. Find out more and check out the full program as soon as it's announced »
  • Sculpture in the Vineyards shows over 60 large scale outdoor works displayed amidst the five vineyards of the Wollombi Valley Wine Trail in NSW. An eclectic mix of art and wine. Until 31 January 2010.
  • A two day NSW extravaganza of the best gourmet food (from olives to cheese), regional produce (from quail to oysters), award winning wines and beer (enjoy by the glass or take home a bottle) and delicious food from local restaurants - Shoalhaven Regional Food and Wine Show - 9-10 January 2010 »
  • Canberra welcomes in 2010 with a giant street party in the heart of the city on New Year's Eve. Entertainment, dancing, fireworks, everything »
  • Australia Day - 26 January. Come and celebrate what's great about being an Aussie in the Nation's Capital. From bush picnics to music festivals and more »

Send off 2009! There are literally hundreds more wine and food events on over Christmas, New Year and summer - too many to list - so browse our national calendar here and get planning for your holidays »

(And if you have one and it's not listed - no matter how large or small - please email us details asap).

 


Season's greetings to all our subscribers and Members

May we take this opportunity to thank you all for your support over 2009, in what has been a big year of expansion for us, and to wish you, your family and friends a joyful, safe and peaceful festive season, and a very happy and healthy New Year. We look forward to seeing you again in 2010 and to wonderful wine and food travels ahead.

Season's greetings with all our best wishes,

Robyn, Kerry, Trish, Sara, Charlie, Andrew, Graham, Mike and the rest of the VisitVineyards.com team.

PS: Last minute offer -  first to respond wins tickets for 2

Race to Hanging Rock with V/Line next Australia Day: Enjoy a day at the races sampling local food and wine soaking up the country atmosphere. If you'll be in Victoria on the day and are able to attend , be the first person to email Kerry at winners@visitvineyards.com and you'll win a special double V/line pass worth A$65.60 which includes economy return tickets from Melbourne's Southern Cross Station to Woodend, shuttle transfer to and from the racecourse and entry to all public areas at the track.

For 12 days of wine travel get in touch with Jean Wethmar of The Cape Club and secure your places for the fabulous South African wine safari next March. Don't leave it too long - the tour has just been announced and at this price will book up very soon. Get a group together while you still can. A review of Cape Winelands will be posted on the VisitVineyards.com website over summer - but we can tell you now it's superb. Meanwhile you can salivate over the full itinerary (we all want to go, too!)

And don't forget to fill in this month's quickpoll on the right and you might receive one of 14 gifts for Christmas including the excellent biography of Wolf Blass.

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