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Ideas for long weekends, Mothers’ Day and winter wines


This month's prizes: wines, books, chocolates - and a truffle dinner!

Vintage and Easter are now behind us and here in Australia we're heading into autumn. Time for some relaxation, some good food and a few wines! So sit back and enjoy your newsletter for a few moments.

Thank you to everyone who completed our survey in March - we received over 1700 responses, a fabulous result. Your suggestions and feedback will help us greatly as we move forward into another exciting phase of VisitVineyards.com; we'll certainly keep you posted on our developments as we roll them out. And we had a very excited winner of our bottle of Penfolds Grange 1998.....

Want to know your favourite styles of wines? How frequently our average subscriber drinks? What he or she pays per bottle? For those of you with an interest in statistics and the wine drinking habits of your fellow subscribers, you might like to take a peek here »

It's Mothers' Day on the 9th May. In Australia, the USA and UK, Canada, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, NZ and South Africa,  mothers will enjoy breakfasts in bed, lunches, flowers, wine, books, hand-made gifts and more - plus heaps of love, hugs and kisses! If you are stuck for gift ideas we have some suggestions for wine, cookbooks, vineyard lunches and even a fabulous $800 prize in the first section below.

And before you know it the June long weekend will be here in Australia. Check out our events section below for some of the fabulous places to enjoy our wonderful wine and food.  

In this edition:



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Quick Poll:

Q1. Disregarding the recently reported contents of PM Kevin Rudd's cellar, what wines would you recommend that he serve President Obama and First Lady Michelle on their forthcoming visit to Australia? (assume the menu will be built around the wines.)

Q2: Do you have any matching food suggestions?

The best responses will be published and sent to Kevin Rudd's office. You can also email us with further suggestions if this is not enough space.

 

 

 

 

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SPECIAL FEATURE: MOTHERS' DAY - wines, lunches, books - and support charity to win a fabulous lunch

Mothers' Day is just around the corner and what an enjoyable way to say thank you to your Mum by giving her some fabulous wines from our friends at The Wine Society . Whether you're planning a family lunch or just want to surprise Mum with something special - you can have them posted to her door - we have some great wines at a great price and have chosen 12 that mothers should enjoy. Check out our Top 12 Mothers' Day wines »

Are you in or near Melbourne? The classic Mothers' Day Sunday lunch is always a winner but instead of staying in the city, maybe this year take Mum out of town for the day to one of these relaxing vineyard restaurants »

Does mum like cooking? Buy her not one but two great cookbooks for only A$35 total: HEAT and Relish 2010, both full of achievable recipes for the home cook looking for something a bit different. All proceeds go to charity, and you might win yourselves a fabulous three course Mothers' Day lunch for four people at Mirka at Tolarno's Hotel in Albert Park, Melbourne and other goodies worth approximately A$800. If you live interstate it would be worth flying to Melbourne for the weekend (and the books can be posted to your mum anywhere). But get in fast, not only is Mother's Day in Australia on 9th May, but entries close on 3rd May - the winner will be emailed on 4th May. Find out more here »

 


WINE AND TRAVEL: Stories, news and reviews, plus two featured regions

WINE:

Hot wines and even hotter debate on Decanter.com, our resident expert and famous oenologist Ian Hickinbotham talks about high alcohol wine, its causes and what it means for you »

Enjoy cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay? This social revolutionary's story seems far removed from Australian wine, but Che Guevara helped Australia become the world leader of mechanical harvesting of grapes »

 

'By Appointment Only'. These can be daunting words for the novice wine taster. But don't let fear make you miss out on some hidden gems -  call ahead for that winery or cellar door visit »

At a recent blind tasting of Chardonnays in London, some of Australia's cheap wines tasted better to Jancis Robinson than older vintages of more famous wines but there were also some disappointing ones at the bottom end. Find out who were the high scorers »

 

More vintage news from around the vineyards:

 

TRAVEL - TOP PICKS:

There's a lot to be said for living in an ancient continent - no active volcanoes, for starters. Why put up with ash fallout, travel hassles and delays, or being stuck in an airport with millions of other people when most of Australia's wine regions are within one or two hours' drive of our capital cities? 

Winsor Dobbin, now based in southern Tasmania (but still a regular on flights around regional Australia), visits two wine regions this month: an off-the-beaten-track wine region in South Australia, and a well-kept secret in Tasmania. Here are his must visits for

Yes, you can access some great wine regions and their galleries without a car. V/Line offers the chance to relax and arriving refreshed to view amazing collections and exhibitions on show in regional Victoria »

 

Planning to visit a wine region?

Did you know that Australia has over 3000 wineries spread across more than 65 designated wine regions? That's about half as many as the whole of the USA (with less than 10% of the population)! No wonder we need to export our lovely wines. And just think, they're a lot less crowded - but with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to go and what to try. Our Top 12 Wine Regions guide might assist you »

Be quick! Let us know what your top Australian wine region is and why by the 30th April for your chance to win a copy of the excellent wine book Wolf Blass - Behind the Bow Tie »

 

REVIEWS:

 

NEWS:

Congratulations to the makers of the first Australian wine to receive 100 points. Wine Spectator magazine of New York has deservedly awarded 100 points to Campbells Merchant Prince Muscat »

The new Port Phillip Estate winery on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula has opened its dramatic front door - a spectacular home for renowned Kooyong and Port Phillip Estate wines »

 


APRIL AND MAY COMPETITIONS: Twilight Truffle hunting, fantastic wine, sweet treats, a taste of Tasmania and more.

What a huge mix of fabulous prizes!  We cover the country with wonderful wine from Coonawarra, Rutherglen and Manjimup, unique gastronomic experiences, sweet chocolate and honey treats and feasts for the eyes and some brain food as well. April's competitions are closing soon so make sure you enter now.

1. SUBSCRIBERS: be quick to win fine wine, a visual taste of Tasmania or superb chocolates - closes 30th April »

First prize: two half dozen of the finest rose from Rutherglen's Anderson Winery. Inspired by the roses of southern France this wine is neither sweet nor light red and two lucky subscribers will get to taste this delicious drop first hand.

Second prize: two annual subscriptions. Get in deep with the island state through Tasmania 40 Degrees South. A premium magazine brimming with stunning photography, stories on lifestyle, wilderness, innovation and much more.

Third prize: two gift packs: Easter's gone but chocolate is still on our minds and taste buds with delicious products from Cocoa Farm. Words like divine, superb, mouth-watering all describe the taste...

Fourth prize: two copies: A valuable pocket guide to get through the myriad and mystery of olive oils - A Guide to Australian and New Zealand Olive Oils by Jenny Birrell - will dispel the confusion and give you the good oil.

ENTER BEFORE 30TH APRIL »

 

2. MEMBERS: more fine wine, a taste of Tasmania, gold advice and mouth-watering chocolates»  

First prize: one half dozen or choose your own wines. Get a taste of the unique Coonawarra terroir with a superb shiraz from Zema Estate or choose your favourite wines from boutique  Puddleduck Vineyard in Tasmania with $150 voucher to spend.

Second prize: two signed copies. Tasmania's Table by Paul County and Nick Osborne will have you boarding the next flight to this produce rich island or if you're lucky enough to live here, you're guaranteed to find a few more delights.

Third prize: three copies. Worth its weight in gold  Australian Wine Vintages 2010 by Rob Geddes MW  will soon have you delving into the over 2,000 tasting notes to discover just what might be waiting in the local bottleshop.

Fourth prize: 3 gift packs. It's amazing these Cocoa Farm chocolates have remained safely on the prize shelf this month - the VisitVineyards.com team take their taste testing responsibility seriously and we seriously love these products!

Your April prizes will be drawn within days so ENTER NOW »  

 

3. Hunt for black gold by winning a Twilight Truffle Hunt  »

Take your someone special and discover the rare and sumptuous delights of the truffle with a Twilight Truffle Hunt including a five course degustation dinner matched with fine wines from The Wine & Truffle Company in Manjimup, Western Australia, valued at $490. There are also four standard truffle hunt tours to be won so if you're in WA or heading west soon, enter now for your chance to win this exclusive and world-class gastronomic experience »

 

4. Win a DVD of the movie The Boys are Back »

Filmed against the magnificent background of the McLaren Vale wine region and Fleurieu Peninsula, this moving drama about single fatherhood has now been released on DVD. Reviews have talked not just of the heart-felt story but the stunning images and backdrop of South Australia. For your chance to win one of ten copies, tell us which other Australian wine regions would make a great movie setting and why »

 

5. SUBSCRIBERS: win Coonawarra wine, a taste of sweetness or wine history in May »

FIRST PRIZE : four half dozens. From Brand's Laira, a vineyard dating back to 1893 in the heart of the Coonawarra come these luscious reds and vibrant chardonnay reflecting the rich history of the vineyard and the distinct terroir.

SECOND PRIZE: three gift packs. Savour nature's sweetest with a delicous offering from Beechworth Honey. Brimming with natural goodness, this variety of delicious treats is sure to bring a smile to your taste buds.

THIRD PRIZE: three copies. Find out more about the Australian wine industry icon who famously said  'My wines are sexy. They make weak men strong and strong women weak' in Wolf Blass - Behind the Bow Tie by Liz Johnston.

 Rich wines, sweet tastes and some great reading -  enter in May for your chance to win »

  

6. MEMBERS: your May prizes »

FIRST PRIZE: four half dozens. Manjimup again features  - this time fine wines from Koolama Estate. See why Ray Jordan rates the chardonnay so highly and savour award-winning semillon,  cabernet sauvignon and merlot.

SECOND PRIZE: five gift packs. Plump, flawless caviar from nurtured salmon - what could be more indulgent? Yarra Valley Salmon, a boutique acquaculture farm, sustainably tends its fish in a natural environment and it shows in the taste.

THIRD PRIZE: three copies. Discover the world of bees, honey and bee keepers plus delicious recipes and tasting notes in Cooking, Tasting, Living Honey by Jodie Goldsworthy, a fourth generation Beechworth Honey bee keeper.

With these rich and flavoursome prizes on offer, don't forget to enter in May »

 

So you think you never win? Please - think again!

Phew! What a time we had tracking down our winners from February and March. One even thought our reminder email was a hoax! Please do check our winners' page and email Kerry with your postal address and prize details to claim your win. (Kerry is a real person!) Unclaimed prizes will be re-drawn - she'd hate you to miss out.

 


FOOD: Gourmet Experiences and some mouth-watering cookbooks

With a new crispness in the air, a new season of MasterChef, and the nights growing longer it's time to start planning ahead for winter foods, good red wines, log fires as well as that next escape or weekend break. To help and inspire, Australian Traveller has revealed the best of the best foodie experiences from around the country , calling on a panel of respected industry experts to judge and rank experiences that emphasised food, location and sense of occasion. What are the 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences? Find out »

You can also win your own copy of this collector's edition of Australian Traveller just by telling us your own favourite gourmet experience but be quick as entries close 30th April »

 

REVIEWS

 

NEWS:

Chef Simon West has returned to the Mornington Peninsula to take up the head chef position at Port Phillip Estate, in a new jaw-dropping building with views to match. It's great to be back, says Simon »

 


MEMBERS: Autumn offers to enjoy

Autumn is the most beautiful time in the vineyards, as the vines turn to a vast sea of reds, oranges and yellows. We invite you to escape into the regions and appreciate them in all their autumn glory:

  • Mornington Peninsula, VIC: 2010 International Cool Climate Wine Show. Autumn is a time of celebration of the harvest past and what better way to celebrate than by tasting your way through the 600+ fine cool climate wines?

Wed May 19: only $10 for Members, you are invited to the Public Tasting from 6pm at the Mornington Race Course.

Fri May 21: tickets to the much anticipated Awards Dinner are only $100 for Members. This is your chance to mingle with the makers and celebrate their successes first hand »

Looking for more great wine and food experiences and benefits in other regions, or countries? Click here »

Planning a visit to Victoria's Mornington Peninsula? A VisitVineyards.com Membership not only unlocks Australia's wine regions but more importantly it saves you money along the way. Find out how you can get your money back and much more in just one short trip to the Mornington Peninsula »

Not a Member yet? As a VisitVineyards.com Member you’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. For $99 per single and $169 per couple, a VisitVineyards.com Membership is the best investment any wine or food lover will make all year »

 



EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN WINE REGIONS

South Australia hosts Tasting Australia, our biennial national food and wine extravaganza (details below), and Victoria leads the way in May with many festivals and end-of-vintage events held all around the state.

First and foremost is the 2010 International Cool Climate Wine Show on the Mornington Peninsula on 18th and 19th May ending with the Awards Presentation Dinner showcasing Peninsula produce on Friday 21st May. Come along and meet some of the VisitVineyards.com team! With over 600 wines to taste, this year's judges will be busy, but they're more than up to the task »  

If you'd like to come along and taste some of the wines at the Cool Climate Wine Show public tasting in Mornington on Wednesday May 19th, email Kerry right now - she's got two to give away, drawn 1st May.

Tickets to both events are still available, and if you are a VisitVineyards.com Member you can buy both (or either) at specially discounted prices simply by quoting your Membership number »


Other events include:

 

The Queen's Birthday June long weekend (this year 12-14th June in the eastern states, 5-7th June in WA, where it's the Foundation Day long weekend) is always full of great wine, food, music and more, including:

Whew! There's a lot on, and heaps more events and festivals in our national events calendar.  Check it out here and start planning your long weekend or next wine region getaway now »

If you are an event organiser and your event is not listed, no matter how large or small - and in NZ too - don't miss out - please email us the details and we'll make sure it's added to our calendar »

 



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WANTED: Your wine suggestions for our Prime Minister and President Obama

Once again, thank you to all our subscribers for being part of VisitVineyards.com - we're busy taking all your feedback on board, so look out for some very exciting developments in the months ahead.

In the meantime you can post comments, reviews and feedback on any wineries and vineyards, restaurants, accommodations and other places you visit - we've had a few amazing ones lately! (both brickbats and bouquets - visible in the forum module on our homepage ). Or simply send us an email and say hi!

And don't forget to fill in this month's quickpoll - what wines do you think our PM should serve President Obama and the First Lady of the USA on their forthcoming visit to Australia? We'll be publishing them and sending them to the PM's office as well. The form is on the right hand side of this newsletter, scroll back up and to the right - fill it in and send in your best suggestions! (and tell us why if you like), or email them to us. Our PM certainly needs some wine advice.

 

Good health and happiness from

Robyn Lewis and all the VisitVineyards.com team.

 

PS: Join the Queen of Wine Jancis Robinson at exclusive special rates and save

If you enjoy Jancis Robinson's articles on the VisitVineyards.com website, with the Australian Dollar so strong, what better time to take up a Membership of her Purple Pages and access even more? All VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive subscribers receive A$35 off membership to JancisRobinson.com - now only A$79 p.a. instead of A$114 (was A$149 before the A$ leaped to new heights).

Subscribe now (it's free) then click here to access the special code you'll need to enter when you join her website (instructions are on this page too).