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Enjoy some wine and food gift ideas this month, and discover how our exciting new wine region initiative can benefit you


Hello,

Here in Australia the worst of winter is over, and if spring bulbs and blossoms haven't appeared in your neighbourhood yet, they are not far away. Fathers' Day is just around the corner, September holidays are nearly here. For those of you north of the equator of course your days are shortening, but wherever, it's a lovely time of year, with lots to look forward to.

It's also the second birthday of our Membership program coming up on the 5th September. Yes, it's nearly two years since our launch at Australia's top wine tourism venue, Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove in the heart of Victoria's beautiful Mornington Peninsula. What a great two years it has been!

Despite the GFC which hit us and everyone else two weeks later, we've survived and grown, and recently welcomed our 27,000th subscriber. VisitVineyards.com now outranks the websites of four Australia state tourism authorities, such is the huge interest in food, wine, and travelling in wine country.

As you know, we're about connecting you with the fabulous growers, makers, producers and sellers of our wonderful food and wine around Australia, and since our launch we've expanded to include a selection of offers from New Zealand , France, Italy and now Greece (see below), too. However we don't rest on our laurels!

This September the 7th sees the launch of an even bigger initiative, the RACV Regional Wine and Food Program, to be held at the RACV's fabulous new Healesville Country Club in Victoria's Yarra Valley.  This beautiful wine region is only an hour's drive from Melbourne, and has well and truly come back to life after the February 2009 bushfires.

This is an Australia-first and is part of Show Your Card and Save, the world's largest member-benefits program. We're elated that a small, regionally-based business like ours has been able to successfully partner with both the RACV in Victoria and the RACT in Tasmania – combined membership 2.2 million (yes, it scares us a bit sometimes!) – to bring their members unprecedented access to regional vineyards, wineries, microbreweries, winery restaurants, tours, and in Tasmania, boutique accommodations and related attractions.

Many of you are of course already members of RACV, RACT, or the NRMA, RACQ, RAA or AAA organisation in your state or country (in fact there are 110 million members worldwide, an even scarier number). To find out what this means for you, and how you can benefit, read more below.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for gifts for dad on Fathers' Day, and what's new and interesting in wine and food, screw the cap off a nice bottle of wine, relax as you browse your newsletter and have a birthday drink with us!

In this edition:



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Quick Poll:

Q1. Do you use any of the following books or magazines as a guide to buying wine (tick all that apply):
James Halliday's Wine Companion
Robin Bradley & Rob Geddes' Australian Wine Vintages
Campbell Mattinson's Big Red Wine Book
Tyson Stelzer and Matther Jukes' Taste
Roy Jordan's WA Wine Guide
Nick Stock's Penguin Wine Guide
Wine Selector Magazine
Gourmet Traveller Wine
No, I don't buy wine based on guide books or magazines.
Other(s):

Q2. Do you use websites or blogs as a guide to buying wine?
Yes
No
If yes, which ones?




LAUNCHING the RACV and RACT Regional Wine and Food Programs

September 7th will see the official launch of two exciting new initiatives – both an Australian first! Together with the RACV in Victoria, and the RACT in Tasmania, current members of both these motoring organisations and of any other state (eg NRMA, RACQ, RAA etc) or visiting AAA members from overseas can now enjoy a range of exclusive discounts at selected Victorian and Tasmanian:

* wineries and vineyards
* food producers, makers and sellers
* winery restaurants (and other restaurants in Tasmania)
* microbreweries, and
* boutique accommodations and attractions (Tasmania only).

as part of the Show Your Card and Save program – the world’s largest member benefits program – sourced for you by the team at VisitVineyards.com.

This is great news for wine and food lovers, and anyone who enjoys travelling in regional Victoria or Tasmania! (If you live in other states, please be patient and we hope to be able to include you in 2011).


What does this mean?

If you are a member of any of these automobile associations, many of you might not know that you are automatically a member of the Show Your Card and Save Program. Your RACV (or other) auto membership card already gives you access to special discounts on a wide range of products and services, including sporting goods and apparel, golf equipment, home lighting, electrical appliances, homewares, shoe repairs, travel, and entertainment – and for the first time, now wine and food producers and sellers in the regions.

All you have to do is to present your current membership card wherever you see our program logos (on the left).

 

Who is involved and where can I use my card?

In Victoria, just go to the new RACV Regional Wine and Food Program 'microsite', where you can search and save in Victoria's wonderful wine and food regions. There's a map of all partner businesses on the home page, and a fully searchable, printable list on the second.

New regions and businesses are being added weekly, so please ensure you check this new site often. The website address to bookmark is http://racv.VisitVineyards.com (no www).

If you are in or planning a visit to Tasmania, check out VisitVineyards.com's Wine and Food Selections with RACT or bookmark http://ract.VisitVineyards.com (no www).

 

We've already signed up over 40 great partners in Victoria including big names like Balgownie, Best's , Boynton's, Delatite , Hickinbotham, Pfeiffer , Plunkett Fowles, Punt Road , Rutherglen Estate and Shadowfax , and hidden gems that we are sure you will enjoy discovering, like Brammar Estate, Morning StarThe Cups and Windy Ridge. (Click on any of these names for more information).

In Tasmania some names you may recognise are Ashgrove Cheese, Barringwood Park , Bruny Island Cheese, Frogmore Creek , Goaty Hill, Josef Chromy , Pinot Shop, Pooley Wines and Three Wishes. Have a look at both sites, there are too many to list here – we'll feature more in depth next month.

 

With savings of up to 20% this new program is worth remembering. And as well as saving yourself money, you're buying direct from the producers, helping them and their regional economies to stay afloat, too.

If you have any favourites or suggestions that you'd like to see included (or have your own business and would like to be involved), for Victoria please email Sara and in Tasmania please email Kerry. You can also email any other suggestions to us here »

 


WINE Travel, Itineraries and Top 12s

Looking for that special gift for Dad for Fathers' Day? If he's a wine or beer enthusiast, loves being in the kitchen and cooking – or both! – then maybe we can help find that perfect Fathers' Day present.

We have plenty of suggestions below to take the stress out of buying for Dad (or yourself) and to help we've put together our Top 12 Wine and Food Books for Fathers' Day 2010 »

  

BOOKS and REVIEWS

  • Launched on the 28th July at Mezzo Bar and Grill in Melbourne, perfectly timed for Fathers' Day, James Halliday shares his extensive knowledge of wine in his Australian Wine Companion 2011 via extensive tasting notes as well as details on wineries and information about winemakers. It's an indispensable reference for all enthusiasts of Australian wine. An update of the Wine Companion iPhone app was also released but was withdrawn from sale due to technical issues. We're advised that these have now been resolved and our review will follow. Meanwhile please enjoy the  Australian Wine Companion 2011 media release »
  • Australian Wine Vintages (2011, 28th edition) – aka the Gold Book – by Rob Geddes MW is Australia's longest-running wine guide and is not only of interest to serious wine drinkers and collectors but will quicken the pulse of anyone with even a casual interest in wine. The book will be on the shelves in time for Fathers' Day.  Read the press release here »
  • Jancis Robinson believes Riesling is the greatest white wine grape in the world .  Riesling nuts and any Australian wine lover with more than a passing interest in how our wine industry has developed and where it is going should buy Riesling in Australia by Ken Helm and Trish Burgess. It delves deep into the history, the regions, the legends and the producers of this esteemed variety in Australia »
  • Greg Duncan Powell has gone the hard yards with this one bringing you 174 beers from across Australia sniffed, sampled and scored – from boutique lovelies to mass-market brews. Read the press release for Beer »
  • Finally Dads can get what they've always wanted for Father's Day: not more socks and jocks but a book about beer .  Match it with a 6-pack of his fave and you'll be a favourite, too. Read The Beer Lovers' Guide to Australia press release »

We apologise for the number of media releases this month but four of these books are either yet to arrive or have only just done so. As we actually read them before writing the reviews, please check the home page of VisitVineyards.com in the next couple of weeks for our recommendations.

 

Our resident expert and famous oenologist Ian Hickinbotham tells us about the use of barrels in winemaking, facts and figures we may not know.

  • When Max Schubert copied Bordeaux winemaking methods for the initial 1951 making of his beloved Penfolds Grange , Australian winemakers started to take barrels seriously and to age table wine in barrels »

 

TRAVEL - TOP PICKS:

Veteran wine, food and travel writer Winsor Dobbin gives us his top picks for some alternative food and wine tasting routes to explore in New South Wales and South Australia.

  • Cowra and Canowindra in the Central Ranges region of NSW have been producing wines commercially for over three decades, but both fly a little under the radar despite a number of excellent producers offering good value for money »
  • Coonawarra in SA is a place of pilgrimage for wine lovers from around the world – and may soon be for those who follow saintly footsteps. There are several iconic spots on every visitor's itinerary but here's an alternative itinerary (including a dash of Mary McKillop)  taking in some less well-known Coonawarra gems »

 

Dining experiences without the car

Victoria has a deeply entrenched food-loving culture and a culture of eating out. Ideal for a day trip or a weekend away, V/Line offers convenient and affordable transport to excellent dining options West of Melbourne »

 

WINE NEWS:

Cowra winemakers are now taking a leading role in the development of sustainable agriculture with growers creating a better future for the region whilst building the quality of their wines. Find out what the Cowra Sustainable Wine Partnership is about »

Congratulations to Printhie Wines in Orange, who have been awarded 5 Red Stars in the 2011 Australian Wine Companion – the first winery in the Orange region to achieve this rating »

 


ENJOY more fabulous wine, craft beer, dinner for two, books and more this month

It’s always a privilege to share really great wine with our subscribers and Members and this month we have superb wines from around the country: Shaw Estate in Murrambateman, Best’s Wine in Victoria and Lamonts in Western Australia. Microbreweries are also bringing flavour back into the beer industry and to celebrate we’ve got a case of mixed beer styles from Bright Brewery. And in a special Lamonts promotion, you could be fine dining, fine wining or fine wine and fooding!

 

1. Win dinner at Lamonts, Lamonts wine or your own copy of Wine and Food

Where better to discover why Kate Lamont's philosophy on wine and food matching works so well than in one of Lamont's wonderful restaurants in Western Australia – in Margaret River , Cottesloe, East Perth or Swan Valley? (and there's another one on the way, Kate tells us).

This month we're celebrating Kate's classic book Wine and Food and you could be the winner of a dinner at Lamonts for two valued at $150, a mixed half dozen of fine Lamont's wines or a copy of the book that makes wine and food matching easy! A meal at Lamont's is sure to become one of your most memorable dining experiences.

For your chance to win the best from the west, see ENTRY DETAILS HERE »

 

2. CountryStyle,Country chefs – discover some of our much loved country chefs

Move over Tuscany, we have some wonderful food tales and regional roots right here in Australia, and this is your chance to discover them.

CountryStyle, Country chefs, edited by Victoria Carey, is a wonderful collection of stories and recipes from some of our best-loved country chefs. This is a beautiful book for locals or visitors to Australia alike.

Find out how you could win one of two copies here  »

 

3. Taste of Melbourne - be quick to win a double pass, drawn this Friday 13th 

Celebrate the best cuisine the city and surrounds has to offer with your someone special. Enjoy signature dishes in a festival atmosphere and rub shoulders with award winning chefs from 26 – 29 August.

You could win one of five double passes so ENTER NOW.  Make this Friday 13th your lucky day »

 

4. Subscribers:  fine wine, boutique beer or a sumptous produce tour of the Mornington Peninsula

First prize: from fine wool to fine wine, Shaw Estate has made the transition in a blazing style. Four lucky subscribers will each win a half dozen wines including their renowned chardonnay and shiraz cabernet.

Second prize: discover what real beer tastes like if you win this case of mixed beer styles from Bright Brewery where they use mountain water and premium local ingredients to brew their MountainCrafted beers.

Third prize: just released and already receiving great reviews, Mornington Peninsula Produce to Platter is a magnificent celebration of local producers that is sure to get your mouth watering and the Victorian travel plans reinvigorated. Enter now and you could win one of four copies.

Read more prize details and ENTER HERE »

 

5. Members: Best's wine with a sweet surprise, wine history or gold advice

First prize: Wine and chocolate are always an indulgent pairing so we’ve put together some of the best. We have three twin packs of Best’s Chardonnay and Bin 1 Shiraz along with a Cocoa Farm chocolate surprise to be won.

Second prize: Riesling is making a resurgence and this is the perfect book to make sure you have the background and tasting wisdom to make the most of it. Riesling in Australia by Trish Burgess and Ken Helm has just been released and we have two copies to give away in August.

Third prize: possibly the last in captivity before the release of the new edition, we have two copies of Australian Wine Vintages 2010. Make sure you can compare the two! (The new edition will be out soon, if it arrives in time we'll send you one as well).
 

Members, for your chance to indulge or enjoy a good read, ENTER NOW »

Everyone who becomes a Member or renews this month is automatically entered in the Members' draw, so be tempted by our special Winter Welcome rates and you may just be pleasantly rewarded....

 

WINNERS MISSING IN ACTION:  please check our winners' page and email Karen with your prize details and postal address - we need to make some room on the prize shelf for spring!

 


FOOD: Home-preserved produce, vineyard style and country cooking

We've got some great reviews for you this month, books that feature good honest country cooking and gourmet experiences, and others to inspire daydreams and weekend adventures.

So curl up in front of the fire and plan those days ahead whipping up masterpieces in the kitchen. Dads might enjoy some of these, too. Once, real men didn't eat quiche – now they're cooking, harvesting and growing food sustainably. Just ask proud new father Matthew Evans.

  • CountryStyle Country chefs edited by Victoria Carey takes you on a sumptuous culinary journey at home with stories and recipes from Australia's best-loved country chefs. Enjoy this true visual feast »
  • A mother and a daughter's love affair with the Mornington Peninsula inspired Produce to Platter offering a window into one of Australia's most renowned gourmet regions »
  • Sally Wise is passionate about preserving food, cooking and making the most of home-preserved produce. In the aptly named Out of the Bottle you can learn from this preserving genius with tested recipes that work and will delight »
  • The vineyard cookbook by American author Barbara Scott-Goodman will tempt you to visit featured vineyards and wineries from coast to coast USA, as surely as you'll be enticed to try her easy entertaining recipes and wine matches inspired by 32 of America's leading vineyards and wineries »
  • Back in Australia, from the Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans, comes The Real  Food Companion, an inspiring book to help us know how our food is made and grown, the ethics behind the choices we can make and all importantly, re-discovering that real food has real flavour »
  • Be quick to be inspired and create a heart-warming feast with Winter Cooking – Food to Warm the Heart and Soul . Despite the title, the recipes will last you well into the warmer months, and will put some pizazz into everyday meals »
  • Bursting with energy, Britain's Olly Smith has just launched his first book: Eat and Drink: good food that's great to drink with . It won't be long before his enthusiasm and knowledge wends its way to our fair shores,  just as he's taken the UK by storm »

 


MEMBERS! The daffodils are out and so should you be.

  • Victoria: Book into a specially priced private tutorial with Jen Pfeiffer of Pfeiffer Wines in Rutherglen » 
  • Or enjoy a complimentary woodfire pizza with any of their delicious pizzas ordered at Gisborne Peak »
  • Western Australia: Cape Mentelle’s degustation tour and tasting is specially priced for Members »
  • New South Wales: Greekalicious offers Members complimentary classes when you join one of their gastronomic travels through Greece »
  • South Australia: Shingleback Wines of McLaren Vale invite Members to enjoy a free third bottle for every two purchased - a bonus of four bottles per case »
  • Tasmania: Meet the two families behind Goaty Hill Wines for a private wine tasting with the owners just for Members »

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

 

If you're a food grower or maker, or you operate a cellar door, regional restaurant, provedore, market, tour, gallery or other attraction in one of our fabulous wine and food regions (which is pretty much around the country – your food is pretty good in FNQ and the Top End, too!), and you want to reach and attract our Members at NO COST, then please get in touch with Sara our delightful and friendly Partner Manager, who will only be happy to send you some information on how to get involved.

Here's what  John and Sandra Annison of The Gatehouse at Villa Raedward in Victoria's Yarra Valley, had to say: '(Yours is) exactly the market segment we are trying to target. (Because) there is no upfront cost (we can save) on advertising... The cost is contingent upon Members taking the offers up so it’s ‘payment by results”.

 

Not a VisitVineyards.com Member yet? As a privileged 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. (This is in addition to the discounts we now provide members of the automobile associations). Members also enjoy access to even more special prizes and giveaways.

Now is a great time to join or renew at our Winter Welcome rate – only A$49 single or $69 per couple, for an entire year of benefits that you can enjoy as many times as you wish. You can easily get your VisitVineyards.com Membership back in one purchase, tour or weekend away. Find out more and join or renew before 31st August  here »

 


EVENTS: What's on in food and wine around Australia?

The Taste of Melbourne is a stunning four-day celebration of the best cuisine that Melbourne and the surrounding region has to offer. Expect to be entertained and indulged at the Taste of Melbourne 26th-29th Aug »

Subscribers and Members of VisitVineyards.com can save $20 on Premium Tickets to the Taste (offer valid to 20th Aug).  Find out more about this special offer now »

VisitVineyards.com still has 5 double tickets worth A$55.00 each to the Taste of Melbourne Festival to give away but be quick and ENTER NOW as this competition closes 12th Aug » 

 

Other events include:

ACT: Be sure not to miss the Fireside Festival taking place in and around Canberra during the month of August. Cool climate wines, great food and music while you relax in front of open fires – Canberra region 1st-31st Aug »

NSW: September is Wine Festival month in Mudgee and there is no better time to visit – Mudgee Wine Festival 3rd-26th Sept. Don't forget also, as part of the Fireside Festival, Shaw Vineyard Estate near Canberra, has pizza, pasta and trivia every Wednesday night –  Wine, wisdom and wood fired pizza 4th-31st Aug »

NT: In Darwin find a feast of local, national and international performances to excite, inspire and entertain at the multicultural Darwin Festival 12th-29th Aug. Also, Central Australia's premier arts and cultural festival celebrates the desert and its peoples – Alice Desert Festival 10th-19th Sept »

QLD: Indulge in two weeks of food and wine in true Gold Coast style at the Taste of Gold Coast Food and Wine Festival 26th Aug-5th Sept »

SA: Set your taste buds free with a weekend of indulgence in the Barossa Valley – Barossa Gourmet Weekend 21st-22nd Aug »

Tas: Bringing together the best of art and culture, food and wine, music and theatre in the Apple Isle is Lumina, A Winter of Festivals, until 29th Aug. Also, Launceston celebrates the premium cool-climate wines and produce from the Tamar Valley at the renowned Taste of the Tamar 11th-12th Sept »

You'll need to get in early if you want to be in this one: the Alcorso Foundation Annual Dinner and Auction at Moorilla/MONA in Hobart on 2 Oct. Honouring cultural and winemaking pioneers of Tasmania, the late Claudio and Lesley Alcorso, with funds raised supporting the arts, environment and social justice, with food by chef Philippe Leban this will be a fun and memorable evening – or make a weekend of it »

Vic: A fabulous event showcasing the wonderful array of gourmet food and wine from the Goldfields and central Victoria – Taste, Ballarat Food and Wine Expo 12th Sept »

There's still a week left of the Young Guns of Wine 2010 festival at various restaurants and bars around Melbourne, through to the Awards Night on Monday 16th August at The Melbourne Supper Club. This is a fabulous week so be in it if you're in town.

WA: This is one of our favourites. If you love good food and wine, the beautiful countryside of the Perth Hills, and getting away from the crowds (numbers are limited), you'll love this small and bespoke Flavours of Chittering Annual Food and Wine Festival 12th Sept »

 

There are heaps more events, festivals, dinners, tastings, activities and exhibitions in our national events calendar. Check it out here and start planning your next wine and food getaway now »

 

List your own event:

If you are a wine or food event manager or organiser and your event is not listed, no matter how large or small – and for those in NZ too – and you want to advertise it on our website (it's free) please visit our new My Account section to create your own listing,  or  email us and we'll let you know how  to add it our calendar »

 


 

Keep up with our latest articles and news on our VisitVineyards.com facebook group – and if you have a vineyard or other related business, you can post your events and other happenings here as well. Click on the facebook link below.

THANKS to you all – and happy days

Thank you to everyone who has helped us grow VisitVineyards.com over the past two years. We'd never have been able to talk to the 'big boys' – let alone establish alliances with them – if it were not for you, our subscribers, including those of our sister site WinePros Archives. We love you all and truly enjoy being able to bring you the best of wine, food and wine country on our websites and in our seasonal newsletters.

I read recently about another online company who said 'the first 30,000 was the hardest'. Well, we are nearly at that milestone, and that will certainly be something to celebrate! Meanwhile our 27,000th subscriber was Ms. J. Korn of Malvern, Victoria and a bottle of Best's Great Western Shiraz Bin 1 will be winging its way to you shortly. We've tried it, we're sure you will enjoy it!

Mr H. Sander of Broadbeach Waters in Qld was last month's quickpoll winner; another bottle of Best's will go to a lucky quickpoll entrant again this month too, so don't forget to let us know your thoughts on the latest round of wine books, magazines, websites or blogs in our quickpoll on the RHS. It's great to get your feedback.

You're always welcome to send us your thoughts on our newsletter, ideas for stories or even to submit some yourselves. Two of our current writers are subscribers who thought they could add something of value – and they were right! So feel free to email Trish our Editor with any suggestions you'd like to make.

For members of the RACV and RACT, and other AAA members visiting VIctoria and Tasmania, be sure to have a look at our two new websites http://racv.VisitVineyards.com and http://ract.VisitVineyards.com before you plan your next wine region trip. Our new partners are looking forward to welcoming you.

Wishing you all a very enjoyable month ahead, and for those of you who have or are fathers, enjoy your special day. Have a drink for us as well – it's our second birthday, too!

Cheers  everyone – from Robyn Lewis and the VisitVineyards.com team.