Fathers' Day in Australia is only a month away. If dad is a wine and food lover, finding presents that he will enjoy is easy; give him a good wine to drink on September 6th and take your pick from the range of great books, wines and other gift ideas that cross our desks at VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive, for year-long enjoyment.
In this edition:
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Macedon Ranges - a little luxury in every corner
What’s not to like about a wine region where visitors can luxuriate with every spring, spa and mountain top? The Macedon Ranges wine region is less than an hour north west of Melbourne and takes its name from the rocky volcanic outcrop that sees Australia’s Great Dividing Range split the region into two halves.
North or south, the Macedon Ranges is a patchwork quilt of small to medium-sized family owned vineyards producing artisan wines – wines that reflect the inherent terroir of their sites and their characteristic ownership. Explore it on VisitVineyards.com this month:
If you're visiting the Macedon region, remember that that the vineyards and wineries are more spread out than in some other regions, so allow more travel time between cellar doors.
What's new - top 10s, winemakers and great reading
We've got some great new articles and reviews on VisitVineyards.com to help keep you busy over the coming weeks.
- Frederic Mugnier, of Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier in Burgundy, visited Australia earlier this year and shared his philosophy of winemaking and great Burgundy with participants at the Mornington Peninsula International Pinot Noir Celebration;
- There are some great new Top 10 lists on the site. If you're looking for the perfect wine to take to your next dinner party then our Top 10 dinner party wines
list will be invaluable, or if you want a great conversation starter (and not a bad drop to boot) check out some of the wackiest wine names around in our Top 10 wacky wine names list;
- What to do after MasterChef? Get into the kitchen with some great new cookbooks. Maggie Beer's latest release Maggie's Kitchen
should become a kitchen staple, while Wild Foods will have you creating some uniquely Australian cuisine with authentic bush flavours;
- If you prefer to explore the world of spice and curry then Peter Kuruvita's Serendip is not only a culinary feast, but a visual one too - and you'll have fun finding wines or beers to match;
- Devilishly Delicious – recipes from Tasmania has been created by Tasmania’s Soroptomist International group in response to the Tasmanian Devil’s plight against the devastating Devil Facial Tumour disease. What a delicious way to
save endangered wildlife
! This is genuine regional cuisine, featuring ingredients like Heidi Farm raclette, Tasmanian-grown shiitake mushrooms and lots of seafood and berries. Includes recipes by restaurateurs and treats from local B&B's and bakeries, including one from Fiona Hoskins of the famous (and recently closed) Fee and Me restaurant in Launceston for apples in red wine.
- Of course the big wine book releases of the month are wine author James Halliday's annual Australian Wine Companion 2010
and his fabulous new hard-cover Australian Wine Encyclopedia »
August prizes: the latest wine books, superb chocolates, great wine, devilishly delicious recipes and more
As usual, our subscriber and Member competitions are choc full (pardon the pun) of great prizes. But this month we're having a change
. We're asking you to put on your thinking caps and reflect on your last trip to wine country, and tell us (and fellow subscribers) about the good - or not-so-good - cellar doors, wineries, accommodations, restaurants and more that you have experienced. So share a few hidden gems, tell us about some good tastings or meals you've had - and win one of no fewer than 19 prizes for subscribers, and another 14 premium gifts for our Members! Times are tough so we're being generous - and you'll also be helping businesses in our regional communities.
August winners will be drawn from all subscribers and Members who post comments - the more comments you post, the more chances you'll have of winning. You don't have to be poetic, or lengthy - the winners will be those who post comments we consider will be most useful to fellow travellers (and a bit of humour won't hurt!). See competition pages below for prize details and how to post comments.
Here's some feedback from July to help unleash your creative juices: on a Weekend fit for a King in Victoria's King Valley and Paradigm Hill in Victoria's award-winning Mornington Peninsula.
VisitVineyards.com SUBSCRIBERS :
There are two first prizes: win one of two hampers bulging with delicious Cocoa Farm chocolate including their wonderful wine chocolates (shiraz, merlot and pinot noir). We're in agreement here - wine and chocolate is a match made in heaven and these two hampers will include their entire range.
Second prize is a specially selected half-dozen wine pack from The Wine Society. It's a great mix of wines from the Barossa, Nagambie Lakes, Orange and New Zealand and even one to give you a taste of South America.
Third prize is a worthy consolation for those chocolate lovers who miss out on first prize - we've got four Cocoa Farm chocolate packs to give away including the wine chocolate selection gift box of shiraz barrels. Truly yummy.
Fourth prize is a devilishly good one - it's one of two copies of Devilishly Delicious Recipes from Tasmania, a book compiled by Soroptomist International of Tasmania and using the state's renowned fresh produce.
Ten runners up will each receive a funky new tchillbag. What's a tchillbag? It's a recyclable carry bag for wine, that can also be filled with ice and used as a cooler. Great for the warmer months ahead, and makes a fabulous gift bag for that special bottle you're giving away or taking out to dinner.
Read more about these prizes and find out how to enter here »
First prize for Members in August is a wonderful selection of half a dozen premium wines from the cellars of The Wine Society. From Marlborough, Bordeaux and four award-winning Australian vineyards, these wines will keep any wine-lover happy well beyond Fathers' Day.
With a copy of James Halliday's Australian Wine Encyclopaedia in your library, you'll have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. James' vast experience, gathered over 40 years in the wine industry, has been distilled into this book and this alone makes it indispensable to anyone serious about their wine.
Even if you're not travelling out west just now, our third prize of Pemberton Wine Region Westerna Australia by Alex Bond will be enough to prompt serious consideration to some wine travel to the south-west of WA. Full of glorious photographs of the region's vineyards and beautiful environment, it brings this small dot on the vast map of Australia to life.
Fourth prize is another valuable James Halliday resource - his Australian Wine Companion 2010. Released on the 29th July, we have a copy of this much anticipated book for one lucky Member with a gift for posting your own good review. With over 5,800 tasting notes and profiles on over 1,400 wineries, there's plenty of spring wine research to be done.
Ten runners up will also each receive a funky new tchillbag.
More on Members' prizes and how to enter here »
Are you a SYDNEY MORNING HERALD or SUN-HERALD subscriber?
Well, if you are, one of you will be in luck indeed. Following feedback from our NSW newsletter subscribers and Members, we're delighted to be offering subscribers of either The Sydney Morning Herald or The Sun-Herald the chance to win a romantic long weekend for two. This is no ordinary long weekend - you'll spend it in five star accommodation at Boroka Downs
, a couples-only 300 acre retreat in Victoria's Grampians, with five separate private boutique residences. Enjoy three nights of luxury, free return flights Sydney-Melbourne from Tourism Victoria and complimentary Hertz car hire to get you there »
Oh, and did we mention the VIP wine tasting that's included at The Gap Vineyard - sister to the well-known Langi Ghiran - and dinner at Kookaburra Restaurant
at Halls Gap? Soak up some of that Grampians magic, talk a walk through the forest, admire the views over lakes and plains, and treat yourself to a well-earned break in one of Australia's hidden gems ....
a holiday worth A$3100 - enter now »
Did you win in July?
With so many prizes on offer we can't directly notify all winners except for the Really Big Prizes and for tickets to events, so you need to check our prize winners' page and get in touch. Some prizes go unclaimed and if your name is drawn and you don't snap up your prizes we're obliged to redraw. So check for your name now and don't miss out »
Free cookbooks and some great travel offers for Members
VisitVineyards.com Members visiting Tasmania would be mad not to take advantage of this generous Member offer from Sheoaks on Freycinet on Tasmania's stunning East Coast. If you enjoy an evening meal at Sheoaks - who specialise in local produce and Tasmanian wine - you will receive a complimentary copy of the recently released recipe book
Devilishly Delicious Recipes from Tasmania. All recipes feature wonderful Tasmanian ingredients, making it a great memento of your holiday and Tasmanian food and wine. Find out more about this exclusive Member offer here
and read our review of this great little book here »
Winter getting you down? Got travel under your skin? Other great new Member offers in August:
- VisitVineyards.com Members who book an Escape Package at Boroka Downs, an exclusive, five-star, couples-only romantic retreat in Victoria, will receive an automatic upgrade, for even more indulgence;
- Ashok and Ritu Sikand from Eltham's Ginger Garlic restaurant invite you join them on the experience of a lifetime in India.
VisitVineyards.com is heading further afield! Generous and wise guides, Ashok and Ritu have devised two exotic tours for VisitVineyards.com Members that will excite the senses in the majestic North in Rajashtan and in the idyllic state of Kerala.
- Greekalicious' culinary adventures will uncover the secrets of Greek cuisine and joys of cooking delicious local food. Yes, in Greece
. When VisitVineyards.com Members book and pay for a tour in full, you will receive a complimentary double pass to a Greekalicious cooking class on your return, or in preparation for the adventure ahead.
- Fancy somthing a bit closer to Australia? Members who book an epicurean journey through New Zealand with Food and Wine Travel will receive a complimentary case of select wines upon full payment. Their next tour departs in October 2009....
- As a special reward to VisitVineyards.com Members, The Bordeaux Wine Experience - the leading wine tour company in the Bordeaux region of France, who specialise in luxury wine and culinary tours - offers Members an exclusive saving on your total tour price and a
bonus gift of a 10 year old Second Growth Bordeaux wine »
- A bit closer to home you can experience a barrel tasting and tour with winemaker Bill Asby at Longview Creek in Victoria's Macedon Ranges, only 40 minutes from Melbourne, or head a bit further west to Warrenmang
in the Pyrenees for an underground cellar tour with vigneron and host Luigi Bazzini and a generous discount.
- Harpers on the Beach - the only absolute beachfront accommodation on Tasmania's Tasman Peninsula - offer Members an exclusive dinner, bed and breakfast package for August and September. Shed your cares and walk on beautiful White Beach.
Not a VisitVineyards.com Member yet?
If you love wine and food you should be! Join VisitVineyards.com and take advantage of our fast-growing range of unique wine and food experiences and great value offers available exclusively to our Members at cellar doors, restaurants, provedores and accommodation and tour providers across Australia (and beyond). We are offering special rates for members of The Wine Society
(see join up page for details).
It's your passport to wine country and you shouldn't be visiting wine regions without one of our cards in your pocket. Find out what you're missing and join us today »
Taste Coonawarra and discover wine and food events across Australia
The Coonawarra Roadshow comes to the state capitals this month
and is one of the best ways to sample the new vintages from the famous Coonawarra wineries, under the banner of the Coonawarra Vignerons Association. The events are held in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth from 17 to 26 August, so check our website for local dates »
Other great food and wine events this month:
- In Melbourne? The Fed Square Annual Wine Awards Showcase is on Wed 5 (awards night) and Thursday 6 August - tasting starts at 4 pm, awards presented 8 pm Wed. See you there - come and check out all the winners!
- Take advantage of the last few days of the Put Victoria on Your Table campaign, which ends on 9 August, and get out into the regions to taste some of Victoria's finest wine and produce.
- Tasmania Unbottled is on in Sydney on 11 August and Brisbane on 13 August
. Come along and taste the wines that Tasmanians sometimes keep to themselves.
- Seduction By Tastebuds is an annual series of amazing food and wine experiences across Victoria's Pyrenees Wine region
- this month at the famous Dalwhinnie near Moonambel, on 15 August.
- In Sydney on 11 August The Wine Society is holding a Riedel Masterclass and Dinner
at Table for 20, Surry Hills, and another in Perth on 14 August »
- Heading to South Australia? Be sure not to miss the fourth annual Langhorne Creek Cellar Treasures Weekend on the 15 and 16 August.
- Queenslanders can shake out the picnic rug and get ready for the Fraser Lions Hervey Bay Seafood Festival's 10th birthday party on 17 August.
- The famous annual NAB Barossa Gourmet Weekend on 22 and 23 August is one of the best ways to enjoy the finest wine from cellar doors throughout this world-famous South Australian wine region.
- The same weekend restaurants and bars around inner Melbourne play host to 12 Young Guns of Wine as they vie for the Young Wine Gun of the Year Award, and the People's Choice (to be determined at a half-day of tasting on Saturday 22
), both announced at a wine night of nights on Sunday 23 »
- From 22-24 August, Romsey in Victoria's Macedon Ranges will host the National Farmers' Market Conference
. At last count there were 120 across Australia - anyone who's involved is invited to come along and listen to international speakers, meet fellow market enthusiasts, dine on Macedon fare and sample regional produce.
- Taste of Melbourne from 27 to 30 August is a stunning celebration of the best cuisine that the city of Melbourne and the surrounding region has to offer.
- Explore Victoria's Sunbury region - just west of Melbourne - during their annual Sunbury Wine Festival on the weekend of 30 August.
- Bendigo is the showcase wine region at Fed Square on 3 and 4 September
- and don't forget VisitVineyards.com Members get 20% off entry each month - just show your card.
There are hundreds of events during August and many hundreds more in the months to come so check the VisitVineyards.com events calendar when you're planning your wine country travel or just your next weekend. Includes wine and food events in the city, too.
Go wine touring with a VisitVineyards.com itinerary
The VisitVineyards.com staff love visiting vineyards and our team are out among the vines every week - and most weekends - tasting and testing and finding the best experiences to tell you about. Our product manager Sara is especially busy signing up new partners to provide great offers to our Members - you can now easily browse them by State (or country), region, category and type. Find out more about VisitVineyards.com Membership and the hundreds of exclusive and great value offers already available here »
Here's what the VisitVineyards.com team has been exploring this month:
- The Macedon Ranges sit on Melbourne’s doorstep
, less than an hour from the city. The region’s vineyards are located along either side of the Great Dividing Range, with the wine of reflecting the climate and topography of this area. Our suggested itinerary is a great way to start planning your exploration of the region, with some great wines to taste and some special offers for our lovely Members;
- Explore shiraz country with a daytrip into the Heathcote wine region where you'll find some of the finest red wines and friendliest cellar doors in Australia;
- An English winemaker has found his castle at All Saints in Rutherglen. Dan Crane shares his favourite wine and food destinations around this historic region.
Share your favourites
Have you found a hidden gem that's just too good to keep secret? Support their business by letting fellow wine travellers know about your favourite wineries and cellar doors, places to stay, events, restaurants and provedores and more on our new-look product pages. You can add your comments, read our recommendations and those of other wine travellers on each listing on the VisitVineyards.com website.
In addition to your chance to win one of the great wine, chocolate and book prizes above, 20 people who post comments in August will each receive a runners-up prize of a funky new tchillbag
- the portable ice bucket and gift bag all in one - valued at A$14.50. To post a comment, all you have to do its to type the name of your favourite winery, restaurant or whatever in the search box locate on the RHS of VisitVineyards.com
, click on its heading that appears in the search results, open the listing and add your comments below (scroll down). Don't forget to give it your star rating, too. Comments will be judged on usefulness to other visitors (your reviews need not necessarily be good - just keep it polite, please), plus a bit of humour won't hurt your chances, either. The more comments you add, the more chances you have to be taking home some delicious wine, chocolate hampers, books or a tchillbag.
We look forward to reading your recommendations and reviews, so get posting. Here's a couple more from July to get you inspired: Foxey's Hangout on the Mornington Peninsula, and Morrisons of Glenrowan. Come on non-Victorians, let's hear what you have to say about the Granite Belt, Orange, Barossa, Swan Valley, Freycinet and more.
Wishing everyone who has a father in their lives a very happy Australian Fathers' Day - and look out for some BIG surprises here in September!
Good luck in the competitions - especially for the Boroka Downs long weekend (we wish we could go, too).
Robyn Lewis and the VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive team.
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