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Winepros Archive and VisitVineyards.com: Wine, Food and Travel

Autumn Mist over Vineyards, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, AustraliaIt's May, it's autumn... a warming welcome to all.

Around Australia the last lingering traces of summer are finally receding. Many regions had a bumper vintage, despite drought, heat waves, floods and mini-cyclones - others have not fared so well. But whatever Mother Nature has thrown at us, the grapes are in, the wines are mostly made, and it's time to relax with a glass or two, some great food and a good newsletter to read.

You are receiving this wine and food newsletter because you've subscribed to Winepros Archive, Australia's largest collection of wine information, or to our partner website VisitVineyards.com. If you haven't heard already, Winepros Archive has teamed up with this exciting new wine, food and travel site - which officially opens its doors in June - to bring you the best of wine, food and travel around Australia. So sit back and enjoy the journey.

Subscribers of VisitVineyards.com who are receiving this newsletter for the first time may not yet know of the treasure trove that is Winepros Archive. If you've ever yearned for a wine library in your own home then it is as simple as subscribing to Winepros Archive, which is FREE.

To access this feast of wine information (over 100,000 pages of wine region articles and wine reviews):

  • If you are a new subscriber to Winepros Archive, go to the top LHS of the home page, enter your e-mail address and fill in the form on the next page. (VisitVineyards.com subscribers please use your display name as your Winepros username - if you have forgotten it, simply e-mail us).
  • Then, to access the entire Winepros Archive website, simply enter your Winepros username and password under the Wine Clique login on the Winepros home page and, as you browse the site, all articles will be unlocked.
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Read more in 'next month' below about our new wine and food travel partners, VisitVineyards.com and their forthcoming launch and exciting events in June!

This month, in keeping with wine and food travel theme our featured 'book' is a map - the Wine Map of Victoria with text by noted wine scribe Max Allen and cartography by Martin von Wyss. We have 3 copies of this map to give away to lucky readers in this month's competition.

Now, please sit back and take a little time to enjoy your May newsletter. In this edition, we look at some wines for Mother's Day reviewed by Jancis Robinson MW.

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Wine Reviews - Celebrate Mother's Day!

Sparkling South Australian WineCelebrate Mother's Day! Being a mother (or indeed a father) is an unpaid, hard job, often physically (and certainly mentally) demanding - and a life sentence. Sounds like colonial days of transportation? Well it is, but more often transportation to a delightful place - of laughter, joy and fulfilment. So what better way to celebrate either being a mother or to reward the mother(s) in your life, than with a joyful sparkling wine?

The best sparking wines come from cooler wine regions, where the grapes (usually a mixture of chardonnay and pinot noir) can develop their fine flavours without reaching excessive sugar levels (just like good children).

We consult the opinion of mother of three Jancis Robinson MW, who, with her assistant Julia Harding MW (referred to as JH below), has given us exclusive permission to reproduce some of her tasting notes of Australian wines. Jancis uses the 20 point wine scoring scale, also used by the Australian wine show societies in awarding their medals (gold medal = 18.5+).

  • From the cooler Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia comes Parri Estate, Salmon Brut 2005. Southern Fleurieu.

    Named after its pale salmon colour. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. Only the second vintage. 18 months on lees and this shows in both aroma and texture. Clean, pure, tightly formed and dry (only 4 g/l residual sugar in the final wine). Good value for a bottle fermented sparkler. 12.5% Points 16+. Drink 2008-09 (JH)

  • Other sparking wines recommended by Jancis include Kreglinger Sparking 1999 (formerly Pipers Brook) and non-vintage sparkings from Stefano Lubiana, Claudio Radenti of Freycinet Vineyard, Jansz and Clover Hill from the cool region of Tasmania (the latter is one of our favourites).

  • Elgee Park makes one of the Mornington Peninsula's best sparking wines, their award-winning Cuvee Brut, made from 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir, aged on yeast lees for 3 years. Enjoy now or cellar for several years. 18 [RL]

However if the budget is a bit stretched this year, you won't go wrong with Preece NV Sparking, Wolf Blass Red Label, or Jacob's Creek Sparking Rose NV, all bargains at less that A$15. Team up with some special gourmet gifts (a great hamper, perhaps?), a hug and a 'thank you mum' and you have one very happy mother in your life.

If you have already signed up to Jancis Robinson's website via our subscribers-only special offer*, you can read more than 250 of her recent tasting notes of Australian wines, covering many more varieties and styles. Her site is regularly updated - and yes, Mother's Day gift subscriptions are available! (gift details on the subscriber's code access page above). Sign up your wine-loving mum at 30% off* today (and don't forget the flowers).

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Jancis Advert

Food - Cheeses!

A selection of fine cheesesI've been privileged to steward at a number of Royal food shows, including the cheese and dairy sections, and to hear the opinions of several of the nation's top cheese experts including the irrepressible Helen Waterworth (read an interview with Helen and listen to her speaking about cheese here). So on a recent visit to the Mornington Peninsula - a region that is increasingly becoming Victoria's fine food larder as well as a premium wine region - I was astonished at the high-quality produce of an almost undiscovered cheesemaking duo, twin brothers Andriy and Taras Kogut, originally from the Ukraine.

Andriy and Taras might look identical, and both are expert cheesemakers - they studied food technology and cheese production for no less that 9 years in Kiev - but Andriy is the extrovert, and once you get him talking about cheeses, well, time melts away like a good mozzarella. But not just any mozzarella - goat's mozzarella, and organic to boot. Their cheeses are not only unique, but utterly delicious, and healthy too - only the best local milk is used and of course they are preservative-free.

Fortunately for us, the Blue Bay Boys brought their wonderful cheesemaking skills to Australia. The brothers established Blue Bay Cheese factory and outlet behind Mornington 5 years ago now, which sounds like a while to become discovered, but not when you realise that their Romano, Stilton and other matured cheeses can take up to 3 years to reach perfection. Believe me, these are seriously good cheeses, and would easily take out gold medals if they had sufficient quantities and the time to enter show awards.

Read more about their fabulous Blue Bay Cheese range here.

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What's on in Wine Country around Australia this month?

Vintage Festival, Barossa ValleyStarting in the far south this Mother's Day, both Meadowbank and the Coal Valley Vineyard in Southern Tasmania are hosting special Mother's Day lunches - and it's a fair bet vineyard restaurants from Bendigo and Balingup to Stanthorpe and the Southern Highlands will be too. Book now.

The Hunter Valley is celebrating all month! The inaugural Hunter Wine and Food Month will host a spectacular line up of unique events throughout May. The events and activities will celebrate the fabulous wines and produce grown locally in the Hunter region. From Duck Delights at Bimbadgen Estate to Autumn Cheese Tastings, Ten Tenors, olive crushing, golf clinics and the Cessnock Races, May has it all in the Hunter. Download a printable list of Hunter Valley Wine and Food events for 2008 here.

May's feature event is the Lovedale Long Lunch on the weekend of 17-18th May, and the month culminates on 29th May with the black tie Hunter Valley Legends dinner at Wyndham Estate, Hunter Valley. The dinner celebrates and awards those who have made major contributions to the Hunter Valley Wine industry. Awards include, 'Winemaker of the Year', 'Hunter Valley Rising Star of the Year', 'Vineyard of the Year' and 'Cellar Door of the Year'.

Like music with your wine? In Victoria, genial hosts Andrew and Terryn Hickinbotham of Hickinbotham at Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula are hosting another in their Music on Sundays series, this time with Mamas Mountain Jug Band, from 1 - 4 pm. There's another follow up on Sunday 25th May, featuring Raw Silk.

Around the country, there are many fabulous reasons to visit wine and food country, so get out there!

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Competition

Winter Wine Fest, Mornington Peninsula, VictoriaThis Month's Winepros Archive and VisitVineyards.com Competition: win one of 3 pairs of tickets to the Mornington Peninsula Winter Wine Fest!

The vignerons of the Mornington Peninsula cannot think of a better way of celebrating during the June long weekend than their Winter Wine Weekend, a calendar 'must' since its inception in 1988. The biggest number of wineries participating yet will launch the winter program (53 Peninsula wineries this year). The June long weekend becomes a three-day immersion in fine wines from a unique cool maritime wine region.

The launch event is the Winter Wine Fest (Saturday 7 June, 11am - 4pm Red Hill Showgrounds, Mel Ref 190 J3) which traditionally marks the beginning of the Winter Wine Weekend program. Over 200 wines will be on taste and sale by the glass or the case from 51 Mornington Peninsula vineyards including Ten Minutes by Tractor, Main Ridge Estate, Eldridge Estate, Five Sons, Yabby Lake, Paringa Estate, Stumpy Gully Vineyard and Kooyong - all undercover. Tutored Tastings with key winemakers will be offered during the day - learn and enhance your appreciation of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and cool climate Shiraz.

More serious wine lovers can enrol in one (or all) of the tutored mini tasting seminars that will be held throughout the Winter Wine Fest day. It's a great way to learn more about the Peninsula's benchmark wine varieties, growing techniques and their impact on flavour and wine styles. The seminars will be conducted by selected winemakers and will focus on the Peninsula's major grape varieties. The palate work-out sessions will include:

  • Chardonnay: Cool but not bananas
  • Pinot Envy: Discover Peninsula pinot noirs
  • The Grey Grape: Discover Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio
  • Shirazamatazz: The Peninsula's other red grape

Entry to the Winter Wine Fest is $35 (includes GST) at the door ($30 pre-booked) and includes MPVA wineglass, Seminar attendance, tasting notes and recipes. Food purchases are not included. Transport options to the event will be coordinated by Red Hill Shuttle and tickets for designated drivers will also be available.

Bookings ph (03) 5989 2377 or at MPVA

Look out for the Winepros Archive/VisitVineyards.com stand! Please come and make yourself known to us, and enter our promotion to win a case of Mornington Peninsula Wines or one of our famous Mornington Peninsula hampers.

Enter now for your chance to win one of 3 pairs of tickets to this fabulous event, drawn on 19th May (transport and accommodation not included).

There are also 3 second prizes, which can be posted anywhere in the world: Max Allen's Wine Map of Victoria, courtesy of the publisher Martin von Wyss.

Thanks again to all subscribers who kindly completed our wine survey. We appreciate your input and the results are posted on the Winepros Archive home page.

Please note that one of the 2 winners of the thank-you hamper has not come forward to claim his prize. Can all entrants please check on Winepros Archive and e us if this is you, and/or check your mail accounts (including spam folders). If the prize is not claimed, it will be redrawn.

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Our new look website is opening in June!

Golf in the Blue MountainsJune 2008 will be an exciting month for us - and for wine and food lovers nationwide - as we unveil your new look VisitVineyards.com website, the first national website dedicated to the pleasures of wine, food and travel - golf, walking, spas and other enjoyable pursuits included.

With over 30,000 products listed (including more than 3000 wineries, cellar doors and vineyards), around 20 wine and food writers contributing fresh new articles, heaps of videos, interviews and more, this will be a regular must-visit site for anyone interested in the latest on wine and food around Australia.

We've simplified our search, and it will be much easier to find what you are looking for, from wine reviews to somewhere to play golf and enjoy wines, take a massage and spa retreat in a food lover's region, or to discover what's on in wine country this weekend. You can book accommodation and events Australia-wide (in real time), buy tickets, and even reserve a seat at your favourite regional restaurant.

Our newsletter will have a new look, too. Check out our great opening month wine prizes as well - they just keep getting better and better! (but don't forget, this month's competition to win one of 3 pairs of tickets to the Winter Wine Fest closes early - enter by 19th May)

Robyn Lewis - CEO of VisitVineyards.com Until June, happy reading, wining and dining...

Robyn Lewis
Acting Editor
,
Winepros Archive and VisitVineyards.com Newsletter.

P.S. Winepros Archive and VisitVineyards.com are searching for a wine, food and travel loving newsletter editor. If you live in Australia, have editorial experience, IT skills and love to write about epicurean passions, please contact us and outline your experience. MWs most welcome! (We haven't advertised this position yet so this is your special opportunity...).

We're also on the hunt for a wine retailing partner (maybe more than one). Neither Winepros nor VisitVineyards.com sell wine, but you - our subscribers - sure buy and drink a lot of it. If you're a wine merchant and would like to learn more about this opportunity please contact us with your credentials.

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Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association

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© Winepros and Visit Vineyards® 2008
All rights reserved.
Visit Vineyards Pty. Ltd. - PO Box 488, North Hobart TAS 7002.

All images are © of their respective Copyright owners and are used with permission.
The header image is of Scotchman's Hill, Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria, Australia. 'Golf in the Blue Mountains' © Tourism NSW. 'Regional cheese selection' © Development of Economic Development, Tasmania. 'Winter Wine Fest, Mornington Peninsula' © MPVA