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VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive Newsletter – November 2009

Buy medal winning wines, enjoy great wine travels

Quick link > win wine, hampers,  wine and food books and more »

 

Many of you have asked for this, and we have some exciting news for you: as of today  you can buy wine on VisitVineyards.com. Read the tasting notes, reviews and articles, click through to buy, and then have the wines home delivered. Not just any wines of course, but wines which have passed the taste test of an expert tasting panel, every one of which has been awarded medal status. All very exciting for both us and those of you who want a great selection - over 400 wines are available, from known brands to small boutique winemakers.

For those of you who don't know a lot about wines, all being medal winners means: no duds! And for those of you who do, we know you'll find some real gems in here - we are sure enjoying browsing, too! There are beers as well. Sourced from makers around Australia and overseas, all wines are tasted by the masters at our friends The Wine Society , Australia's most respected and longest-running wine club. They come with a guarantee: if you don't like them, you can return them for a full refund. You don't have to be a member of The Wine Society to buy, and they can be posted anywhere in Australia.

Find out more about the range of wines and a few of our picks for pre-Christmas drinking below. Watch this space in the months ahead as we select some real beauties and bargains from the extensive wine list.

It's like being given the keys to someone's private cellar! Just go to the new  BUY tab on VisitVineyards.com and start browsing for yourself.

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:

Q1. With the festive season fast approaching, what's your favourite festive season tipple?
A good bottle of French Champagne
Australian sparkling white, of course
I prefer sparking red
Riesling or semillon, please!
A chilled glass (or two) of sauv blanc or SSB
I'm a chardy girl or guy
Forever pinot noir
A nice, full-bodied shiraz
A earthy cab sauv
It's a beer for me!
I have another favourite (care to tell us?):


 

Q2: What's your ideal festive season break?
Off to the beach/coast
A wine region (or two!)
Yachting/cruising/boating
A holiday home (yours or someone else’s)
Pampered luxury in a hotel or resort
Anywhere out of the city
I live in the northern hemisphere – it’s cold!
I’m only having a short break this year
Holidays? What are they?

 


NEW: Buying wines on VisitVineyards.com - and our friends The Wine Society

We've looked for a long time to find a suitable wine partner - and not only are The Wine Society 's wines consistently of good quality and value, but in our experience  their service is exemplary - and friendly too. We haven't had one lost or broken bottle, and even some glasses arrived perfectly - and all within days. We are confident that they will deliver and meet or exceed your expectations, and hope you will enjoy this service and enjoy browsing the new wine store on VisitVineyards.com »

You don't have to become a member to buy these Wine Society wines - anyone living in Australia can (regrettably due to licencing laws the wines cannot be posted overseas - however you can buy them in Australia and post them overseas yourself if you wish). The wines range from $10 to $1000 - there really is something for everyone in this fabulous range. We just can't wait to start exploring and tasting more of them ourselves!

For those of you who are contemplating membership or who have been members of The Wine Society in the past, this also provides a great way of discovering the hundreds of wines they have on offer.

Check them out on our new BUY page - we think you'll be very pleasantly surprised.

 

Got a few questions?

How do the wines get to you? Freight is ex-Sydney by Australia Post (who in our experience deliver wines very reliably).

And the prices? Although their wine prices are already competitive, there is also VIP pricing for purchases of 6 or more bottles of wine, giving you an additional 10% off all wines except the Society's own-label wines.

I live overseas - can I buy? Yes, but unfortunately for now your wines can only be sent to an Australian delivery address (and then store or have them onforwarded to you). Anyone can of course buy wines for Australian friends or family and have them sent direct to them, too. (A simple Christmas gift idea!)

Do I have to join the Wine Society? No, you simply go to our BUY page, select your wines, and pay using their secure server.

However if you do choose to join The Wine Society - it's only A$50, refundable should you ever leave - you automatically get VIP pricing and freight is capped at A$7 per case - handy if you live in Western Australia! To join The Wine Society, please click here and quote the promotional code VINE000 (that's three zeros) on the form, so they know who you are and so you receive our special offers from time to time.

Either way, you now have a great new way to buy wines - stock up now in time for the festive season.

 

A special gift for you:

As a welcome gift, the first 20 subscribers to this newsletter who decide to join The Wine Society in November using the code VINE000 will each receive a free double Membership of VisitVineyards.com, valued at A$169 - or if you are already a VisitVineyards.com Member we'll extend it for a year and make it a double if it's not already.

Click here for details on how to claim your free Memberships when you join The Wine Society »


WINE: travels, makers, books plus our Top Dozens

South Australia is on the top of the list when it comes to wine touring with some of the most famous wine regions in the world to be found here. Many are within close proximity to Adelaide and can easily be visited in a day. Wineries, vineyards and cellar doors are not the only thing to be found though with the regions renowned for fabulous restaurants and food markets, cooking schools and gourmet retreats.

 

Wine books:

Barossa Wine Traveller by Tyson Stelzer and Grant Dodd will instantly take you to South Australia's Barossa Valley. The inside stories of 150 wineries and their wine makers are told for the first time, bringing this great wine region truly to life. It’s the Barossa like you've never known it »

Too shy to be involved in wine conversations or take control of the wine list in a restaurant? The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wine Basics (Second Edition) by Tara Q Thomas takes away the fear of making a fool of yourself and gives you the confidence to see, swirl, smell, sip and swallow with the best of them.

Everything you need to know about wine in New Zealand - Wine Class by Jo Burzynska is a great introduction to the world of wine - wherever in the world you may be.

 

Twelve of the most celebrated family names in Australian wine recently launched a globally significant initiative for the Australian wine industry. Together they have over 1200 years of winemaking experience under their belts. Who are our top 12 Australian wine families »

Rutherglen in North-East Victoria is Australia's oldest wine-growing region and is famous for its fortified wine. Read interviews with two winemakers who share a passion for the wine, land and people in this area.

 

At this time of year there’s often some pre-festive season gatherings with friends and family – to discuss holiday plans, Christmas or simply just to catch up before the silly season really hits its straps and we all turn into social butterflies. Here's a few suggestions for the various occasions requiring wine at this time of the year - all with tasting notes and available in our new online wine (and beer) shop »


WIN Pfabulous Pfeiffer Wines, chocolate hampers, great books and much more

Pfeiffer wines, Cocoa Farm Chocolates and guides for wine and food - all great prizes in our regular monthly competitions that could be yours in time for Christmas!  Plus we've also got four other promotions with more chances for you to  receive some goodies for the festive season »

 

 SUBSCRIBERS NOVEMBER COMPETITION - it's FREE to enter and it's all about superb chocolate and great dining experiences in Victoria.

  • First prize: wine and chocolate are a match made in heaven - we've taste tested these chocolates and it's confirmed - so two lucky Subscribers this month will each win a hamper brimming with the full range of Cocoa Farm chocolates.
  • Second prize is one of two copies of the 30th Anniversary Edition of The Age Good Food Guide 2010 . After all those years of dedicated reviewing and research, you can rely on these recommendations to discover the best in Melbourne and regional Victoria.
  • Third prize is another chocolatey affair with five wine chocolate gift packs from Cocoa Farm   to be won. Don't forget cocoa and grapes are very rich natural sources of anti-oxidants - that's if you need any excuse to try and win these prizes!

For more delicious details and Subscribers entry form, click here »

 

MEMBERS NOVEMBER COMPETITION - fabulous wines from Pfeiffer, inspiring garden reading and some gold wine advice.

  • First prize could see you toasting the festive season with fine Rutherglen Wines - we've got  two special half dozen wine packs from Pfeiffer Wines including their world-first Topaque and their signature Gamay to be won.
  • Second prize might have you spending summer busily digging up the lawn and making your own vegie garden dream come true. It's a copy of the inspiring and practical Harvest. A complete Australian guide to the edible garden by  Meredith Kirton.
  • Third prize is very timely for the festive season - get some gold wine advice from Rob Geddes MW with one of three copies of Australian Wine Vintages 2010 and you'll be serving your guests wines with confidence.

Read more on these Members' prizes and enter here »

 

EVEN MORE CHANCES TO WIN  (and one is a certainty - all you have to do is reply):

1. WIN a copy of Harvest. A complete Australian guide to the edible garden. Read the review then email us at Partners@VisitVineyards.com with your favourite post-gardening refreshment and you could win a copy of this delightful, practical guide to getting the best produce out of your garden patch. Two runners-up will each win a copy of Taste Food and Wine 2009 by Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer.

 2. WIN Penfolds Grange - join VisitVineyards.com before the 30th November and you could win a perfectly cellared bottle of 1998 Penfolds Grange valued at $600 explore the benefits of Membership and join here »

 3.The Age Subscribers - from 14th November you could win a VisitVineyards.com wine and food experience with a difference - a cycling, wining and dining weekend from Beechworth to Bright »

4. Receive a back issue of Tasmania 40 Degrees South - simply tell us why Tasmania is special to you - or why you would like a copy - and we'll send you a stunning back issue of this state's flagship magazine »

 

"This is the first prize I've ever won"  Could this be you?

"I never win anything", "This is the first prize I've ever won "and "You've made my day, thank you VisitVineyards.com" - are just some of the comments Kerry gets when we finally track down our prize winners.

Please check our winners' page - our competitions are only open to you, our subscribers, not the general public, so you have good odds of winning a prize - and if your name is there, email us with your postal address and claim your prize. Otherwise .... we have to redraw them.


Food, glorious food, plus cookbooks for Christmas - and some great gift ideas

We review three books about cooking your own-grown produce this month.

The first title says it all - The Kitchen Companion - dig, plant, water, grow, harvest, chop, cook. Stephanie Alexander claims this book doesn't aim to be an encyclopaedia but simply a guide, but this wonderful, weighty linen-clad book is certainly close to it. Full of easy-to-follow growing advice and tasty recipes along with great tips on getting kids involved, The Kitchen Companion is an inspiring and helpful volume, whether your vegie plot is vast or simply tubs on a patio »

With a rise in popularity of organic food and the reduction of food miles, and establishing one's own fruit and veg patch, Meredith Kirton's new book, Harvest - A complete Australian guide to the edible garden, offers the novice gardener and professional alike sound advice on how to establish and maintain your own edible garden. You could also win your own copy of Harvest »

Grow It Cook It by Sally Cameron is another book to motivate us all to eat fresh and eat as local as you can get - your own back yard. Each vegie, fruit or herb has growing tips with delicious recipes designed to make the most of your crop, including preserving and storing an abundant harvest. It's undeniably a very satisfying process to reap what you sow »

 

Full of juicy gossip and insightful information, reading Curiosi-tea is like sitting down with a fascinating old friend for a cuppa and a long afternoon catch-up. With Christmas almost upon us, this would make an excellent present for any tea lover in your life, young or old. Satisfy your Curiosi-tea with Camellia Cha »

How to catch fish and cook it by Alistair McGlashan is a unique book covering the catching, caring for and cooking of a wide variety of sea fish - fifty species in all, Australia-wide - and doing it well. A handy reference in both boat and kitchen, not to mention a great Christmas present.

 

We all know olive oil is good for us but what makes a good olive oil?  Zani Flanagan, an olive oil judge, tells us what she looks for in an olive oil and what makes one olive oil superior to another, in this interview with her at the Royal Hobart Fine Food Show »

 

For the ultimate guide to the best food and wine available in Sydney check out the Foodies Guide to Sydney 2010. With more than 450 butchers, bakers, food stores, wine merchants and chocolate makers, the guide is a must-have for locals and visitors alike.

Want to know the best places to eat in Sydney and Melbourne? Great stocking fillers for Christmas are The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2010 and The Age Good Food Guide 2010.

Ensure all your efforts in the kitchen are met with success with the Bourke Street Bakery book. From wholesome sourdough breads and tasty pies, to a broad range of delicious tarts, cakes and biscuits, this delightful cookbook is for both novice and professional in the world of crust and crumb.

 

Visiting Australia from overseas? Wondering where to spend your 2010 vacation? Selecting your next VIP destination just became easier, with a menu of spectacular Antipodean choices that will see you experiencing Australia in Style. Dedicated to 'off the beaten track' travel (without compromising luxury), Australia in Style by Outback Encounter offers a fabulous range of unique Australian experiences.

Get together with some friends. Outback Encounter offers VisitVineyards.com the first four Members who  book a fabulous VisitVineyards.com Flying Food Safari in South Australia a Penfolds pack (including Grange and St Henri 2004) worth A$800 per party. Wow! »


MEMBERS: More great benefits around Australia - and beyond

Members, have you been to the Macedon Ranges lately? Perhaps it’s time to re-acquaint yourself with this sparkler of a region. Only an hour’s drive from Melbourne and chock full of fabulous wine and food, as Members you’ll enjoy some great benefits too:

 

Feel like venturing a little further afield in Aus? Or across the Tasman, perhaps?

 

Did you back Shocking in the Melbourne Cup? Sara, our Partner Manager - who brings you all these fabulous offers -  did.  She has another great insider's tip for you:

As a VisitVineyards.com Member you’ll enjoy 12 months access to now over 260 exclusive benefits and experiences (and expanding weekly) at wineries, restaurants, accommodation providers and more in regions across Australia and beyond. For $99 per single and $169 per couple, a VisitVineyards.com Membership is the best bet you’ll make all year »

 

Can't find an experience or offer in your desired region? There are over 260 to choose from now - and we're working on them as fast as we can! Winemakers and restaurateurs are busy folk, and sometimes take a little time to reply to their emails... We also have New Zealanders, Italians and the French coming on board - Americans, South Africans and other wine regions welcome too.

We're also working on our iPhone app so you can find our benefits on the run. You can already search them on your mobile phone here - simply enter this URL into your mobile search www.visitvineyards.com/mobile and you can take the list with you anywhere.

Got a suggestion for a great Members' offer? (or have one yourself?) The send it to Sara at: partners@visitvineyards.com and she'll follow it up.


Celebrate summer with wine and food events around Australia and New Zealand





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Enjoying wine - a beachside tale

I was in NSW a couple of weekends ago, enjoying a picnic on the beach. It was beautiful 27C, sunny, slight breeze, a perfect day. Another guest offered me a choice of wine with my lunch: red or white? Not knowing this person at all - but not wanting a heavy cabernet or shiraz at that time of day - I hesitated, and then asked: do you mind if I ask what type of wines they are? His answer? "Oh, you're a wine snob are you?" This was not delivered as a compliment.

Well, I do know a bit about wine, but no, I'm not a wine snob - I will happily drink $10 bottles if they are OK, and will try almost anything once. Sure, I prefer a good wine if one is on offer - most people I know would - and I care about what I put into my stomach, but really, does that make me a 'wine snob'? No. I don't regard anyone who knows less about wine than me as inferior - the meaning of snob.  This from an educated, otherwise cultured man who holds a senior position at a prestigious Sydney boys' school. Somewhat astonished, I punted for the white. But I was 'the wine snob' for the afternoon (and I hadn't even told him where I work!)

It later got me thinking about wine, and people's attitudes to it (and also the massive job facing the wine industry to break through these sort of attitudes). Clearly, wine still scares or intimidates a lot of people, who then react with such responses. Say the same conversation was about tea: would I prefer black tea or herbal? If I asked 'what sort? or even 'do you have coffee?', would that make me a tea snob? Or a milk snob if I didn't take it with milk? I don't think so.

It's time to be a bit more open-minded - and a little less scared - about wines. It's about what you like, but as everything in the world - your favourite sport, hobby or even sex - the more you know about something, the more you can enjoy it. I hope you can all learn something on our website, and enjoy wines - and your wine travels - a little more as a result. Meet the winemakers, watch the videos, read the articles, read Wine for Complete Idiots (which is very good) - but most of all, get out there and enjoy wines - preferably at the source, but if you can't get there, in the cheerful company of good friends.

And have fun!

Robyn Lewis and the VisitVineyards.com team.

PS I've since found a Wine Snob Dictionary on Amazon.com, which looks like tasting terms, but I'll get hold of a copy - hey, they've got an iPhone app (I'm a new addict) - and see. Has anyone else had similar experiences when asking about wine? Drop us a line if you want to share them, to: info@visitivineyards.com

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And once the bottle's empty, the tchillbag folds softly and quietly away into the picnic basket, backpack, drawer or even handbag.

Show special friends and family that you think of them by using a tchillbag as a gift bag for a bottle of wine instead of the boring old metallic or brown paper wine bags, which are used once then thrown away. Tchillbags are made to be re-used over and over - they're sturdy, durable, non-toxic and 100% recyclable, making them kinder to the environment. Yes, you can even put beers and soft drinks in them.

Tchillbags come from an Australian owned and operated company and are available for sale online »

 

VisitVineyards.com bonus: every member of The Wine Society who joins VisitVineyards.com at your exclusive TWS rates in November will receive a free tchillbag worth A$14.50, as well as the chance to win a perfectly cellared bottle of Penfolds Grange 1998 »

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