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Festive wine, food and travel ideas, new books and a gourmet holiday in Margaret River


SPECIAL FEATURE: Enjoy the best of Margaret River – in person

 

Hello,

The year is rapidly drawing to a close, and many of us are busy trying to get ready for either Christmas, end of term, the holidays, various other festivities, or everything at once!

Yes, December can be hectic, so I won't keep you long here. I would like to say thank you to everyone for being part of our wine and and food travel loving community; we hope you've enjoyed 2010 as much as we have!

I hope you have time to delve a little into this our last newsletter of the year – we have wine, food and book gift ideas, travel suggestions if you are taking a break, and lots more to enjoy.

As you probably know each month we give away lots of fine wines, books and holidays. To celebrate the opening of our new Win page – where as you have requested you will now find all our competitions on one page – in conjunction with Tourism Western Australia and Must Margaret River, we are offering a lucky subscriber and partner the opportunity to enjoy a five-day gourmet holiday in wonderful Margaret River.

There are over 20 additional Margaret River related prizes for the runners-up so the chances of you enjoying a taste of this great region are high indeed. The competition (and all others) is open to subscribers worldwide; the only provisos are that you need to get to an Australian capital city, and that we can't send wine overseas.

So even if you are in a hurry, try to find time to enter this fantastic promotion – as Kerry often says, someone has to win it; it could be you! Good luck and enjoy, and hope you enjoy the rest of December.

In this edition:


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Quick Poll:

Q1. With fabulous wine and food, and so much to see and do in the Margaret River region of Western Australia, have you ever travelled there?
Yes - lots of times
Yes - once
No - but would love to
Not Interested

If yes, do you have any experiences or secrets that you would like to share?




This month you can enter to win a special escape to the Margaret River wine region »

Prizes are brought to you by Tourism WA, Must, and all the generous prize donors. Click on the link above to find out more.

 

 

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SPECIAL FEATURE – Win a fabulous trip to Margaret River, WA wines, vineyard lunches and more

Over the Australian summer we are promoting one of Australia's premier wine regions, a name known to many winelovers around the world: Margaret River.

There is an awesome grand prize, and around 20 prizes for runners-up. We know you are very busy at this time of year, so you don't have to invent a recipe, think up a wine and food match, write us a poem or even tell us your favourite WA wine – even though we love getting and reading your feedback. All you have to do is fill in the entry form on our new WIN tab page »

And for every time you forward this newsletter to a wine and food travel loving friend, you receive an extra chance to win. We don't collect or even see their email addresses unless of course they choose to subscribe. But perhaps you might mention this amazing gourmet holiday to them, and if they win, well they might even take you!

THE FIRST PRIZE:

Experience for yourself the extraordinary wine and food of Margaret River over five luxurious days. Live overseas? Not a problem, as long as you can get yourself to a capital city in Australia, you can enter too.

Your return flights from any Australian capital city and car hire are provided by our friends at Tourism WA and you'll rest each night in a stylish suite at the newly opened Must Margaret River »

The days... ah, now they will be filled with some of the best wine and food in the region.

Just think about a personal vineyard tour and tasting followed by a delicious lunch at Voyager Estate with its unique architecture and exquisite gardens. If that sounds like a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, then why not do it all again the next day only this time in the picturesque surroundings of the ultra famous Leeuwin Estate?

But there's more than wine in Margaret River – it's now home to many a fine boutique brewery and you'll get to discover the amber nectar with a brewery tour, tasting and of course, tasty lunch at Cowaramup Brewing Company . Plus there's local hospitality with a meal at Settlers Tavern – the sort of pub every wine region should have!

To round off your five glorious culinary days, you'll be seeing coffee in a whole new light with a personal coffee appreciation course at Yahava KoffeeWorks (and a gift to take home too).

Sound like your sort of holiday? Then enter now for your chance to win this fabulous package valued at A$4,000 »

(Yes, we'd like to win it too, but we can't.... you'll just have to tell us about it!)

 20+ PRIZES FOR THE RUNNERS-UP:

In those oft-used words...but wait there's more, more wonderful prizes for the runners-up.

They are generous folk in Margaret River, and they want to make as many people as happy as possible. Runners-up will receive one of three mixed cases of fine wine from the Margaret River Wine Inudustry Assocation, as they gear up for their Festival next March, or a delectable case mix from Knee Deep Wines, named not just for their passionate commitment to premium wine-making but the laid back Margaret River state of mind that everyone finds so easy to fall into.

Then there are three superb vineyard lunches at:

  • Cullen Wines – one of the region's original vineyards. Enjoy lunch overlooking the historic vineyard knowing the dishes are all prepared using fresh, biodynamic organic produce. We know it will taste fantastic!
  • Vasse Felix – another of the first vineyards in the area. Receive a warm welcome, discover the underground cellar and then discover how perfectly your food complements their fine wines.
  • The Berry Farm – a delightful country style lunch featuring their tantalising range of jams, preserves, vinegars and fruit wines awaits in the Cottage Cafe with its wide verandahs and gardens full of birdlife.

Plus, there are double passes to the Margaret River Vintage Festival where you'll discover the passionate winemakers, inspired artisans and committed producers that make Margaret River the very special place it is. Experience the region's bounty of natural produce as you graze your way through offerings of over 60 wineries and 20 foodies.

It's part of the five-day Margaret River Wine Region Festival next March which has an abundance of wine, food, music and art experiences on offer. It's well and truly worth planning a WA trip around this celebration.

 

Did we mention the BOOK PRIZES?

Also up for grabs are copies of:

  • must eat by Must WA chef Russell Blaikie – another must-read cookbook from the west about the three tenets: provenance, seasonality and suppliers. Discover how Western Australia is developing its own culinary style. One of our Top 12 Cookbooks of 2010.
  • Ray Jordan's 2011 WA Wine Guide – more than a list of vintages, it's the ultimate guide to WA wines from a wine-writer with thirty years experience. Also includes wine advice, tips, recipes and handy map.
  • Margaret River Wine & Food Recipe Book  – a delightful book of favourite recipes from the region's chefs - all expertly matched with their wines of course!
  • Essential Margaret River Touring Map  – don't explore the region without this handy map from Conor Logan, a man with all the inside knowledge of the best the area has to offer.

So if you're a runner up and miss out on the major prize, don't be too disappointed – you'll still get a great taste of the Margaret River with these wonderful prizes »

This is one spectacular competition – our biggest ever – so please share the news with your friends. Forward them this newsletter or share it on facebook using the button below and each time you do, you receive an extra chance to win.

Or perhaps your friend will take you with them if they win!

 


WINE AND TRAVEL: Great gift ideas, food and wine trails and latest news

WINE BOOKS:

If you are still thinking about what to buy the wine lover in your life, then check out our list of favourite winebooks of 2010. We've selected books that we think you may enjoy, are informative and interesting and ones that we find are a pleasure to pick up and read.

Here's a phrase that is quickly becoming redundant: 'hot off the press'. This week Wine writer Tyson Stelzer is launching his new ebook The Champagne Guide 2011 – The Ultimate Guide to buying Champagne in Australia, and we've just had a sneak preview! Hot pixels, anyone?

An intentionally Australian perspective, The Champagne Guide 2011 features profiles of 52 brands from small grower producers to large houses, reviews of close to 200 champagnes from A$47 to $650+, a detailed Australian retail directory and some rather frank commentary on all the issues currently facing the Champagne region. Available from this Thursday 9th December for A$24.95. Read more about The Champagne Guide here »

 

 

GET OUT OF TOWN

Go west with food and travel writer Winsor Dobbin who gives us his top picks from a very recent visit:

Or hit the road on Sam Russell's gourmet discovery trail through the Adelaide Hills in South Australia.

  • Hans Heysen, Hahndorf and the Hills – There's more to the Adelaide Hills than wine. Try these suggestions for an engaging non-wine tour through some of Australia's most accessible and beautiful countryside »

 

Our resident expert and famous oenologist Ian Hickinbotham tells us some interesting winemaking facts and figures we may not know.

  • Tasting is a word entirely inadequate for defining our popular wine appreciation past time. When tasting wine, we look, smell, taste, talk, listen to other opinions and read wine writers' reviews »
  • For oenologists, vintage is the culmination of the year's work and if you don't do the vintage and are prepared to work up to 20 hours a day, you might as well not be there the rest of the year »
  • It is reasonable to assume that the Stelvin , the sophisticated screwcap that has virtually replaced corks as closures for bottles, is Australian. The French invented the Stelvin but it is Australian winegrowers that have embraced the closure »

 

WINE NEWS:

Neil Paulett is the proudest winemaker in Australia after bringing home four individual trophies for his 2005 Aged Release Polish Hill River Riesling at the Canberra International Riesling Challenge. We're feeling mighty pleased we didn't drink all ours when it first came out (love an aged riesling). Hot tip: Freycinet 2010.

Australia's signature blend of cabernet shiraz is in top form in spite of the climatic extremes of recent vintages, according to the results of The Great Australian Red competition »

A 40-year commitment to promoting Coonawarra and viticulture in the Limestone Coast has seen vigneron Doug Balnaves bestowed with the prestigious title Patron of Coonawarra at the recent Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations »

 



OUR MONTHLY COMPETITIONS: It's celebrations all round with our new WIN tab page full of wonderful wine and food prizes

We're raising a glass to our new competitions page which is a direct result of your feedback, so thank you and please keep the suggestions coming. If you look on the VisitVineyards.com website it's a new Win tab on the right, next to MyAccount.

We're keeping the fabulous prizes coming too – in addition to the sensational Margaret River holiday that we all want to win, there are more wines and lots of books to give away over the holiday period.

You can just enter the ones you are interested in, or all of them if you wish. Right now the entry forms don't auto-fill your details, so please be patient, we'll introduce this feature in 2011.

 

WIN WINES TO POUR »

We're also celebrating with Rosevears Estate and their proud new owners Brown Brothers, heralding a new chapter in the Tasmanian wine industry.

We think this perfectly located Tamar Valley Estate with its stylish accommodation and restaurant is in good hands, and that the four half dozen Rosevears wine packs will also be going to good hands!

Here's cheers too to the newly released organic wines from Lowe Wines in Mudgee, NSW:  the 2006 Lowe Organic Shiraz, 2006 Lowe Organic Merlot and 2010 Tinja Preservative Free and Organic Merlot, all included in four mixed half-dozens that four lucky subscribers will be sipping on in March.

Enter to win these wines now before the festive season overtakes you »

 

OR LOTS OF BOOKS TO PORE OVER

1. A range of delicious tales and wine advice: Win a copy of Daring Pairings by Evan Goldstein, our Wine Book of 2010 and dare to Pair your food with emerging styles. Or bring the matching into your everyday cooking and Find your Perfect Partner wiht Ryn and Cordie – one of our Top 12 cookbooks for 2010.

Perhaps you would prefer to share a Masterchef's Family Table or cook, taste and live the world of honey, or discover some gold nuggets in Australian Wine Vintages 2011 by Rob Geddes?

To win one of 11 copies of these books enter HERE and tell us which you would prefer »

 

 2. Discover how to Picnic in Paradise: Tasmania is full of perfect picnic locations and there's plenty of local produce to complete the experience, all captured in Picnics in Paradise, a new book on picnicking around the island state by chef and author Karen Goodwin-Roberts.

Or perhaps you'd like to learn more about the Tassie lifestyle with an annual subscription to Tasmania 40 Degrees South ? With superb photography and inspiring words, these two beautifully produced publications will give you the taste for Tasmania. Enter to win these titles and tell us which you would prefer HERE » 

 

3. Mornington Peninsula is a wine and food lover's delight, and all brought together with rich imagery, inspiring quotes, insightful information and delicious recipes in Produce to Platter - Mornington Peninsula

Enter HERE for your chance to win one of TEN (!) copies »

 

4.  Australian wine regions at your fingertips:

The Wine Map of Australia by Max Allen is a great visual reference to the wine zones, regions and sub regions for the wine library or adorning your wall and there's one laminated map and four folded copies to be won HERE »

 

Keep a regular eye on our new WIN page – the new format means we can add competitions and promotions at any time! 

 

UNCLAIMED PRIZES: We email you, we phone, but sometimes we just can't reach you. We're clearing the decks for the New Year – please check the November winners' page to see if your name is there.

If it is then please email us now at winners@VisitVineyards.com and your prize could still arrive in time for Christmas!

 

Good luck and here's cheers!

 


FOOD: Favourite cookbooks and new releases to fill that Christmas stocking

Looking for that perfect present this Christmas? Cookbooks are on many wishlists, so we've put together our Top 12 Cookbooks of 2010 to make your gift buying easier.

So, what made the grade this year? There are a few surprises, including two or three totally new names, and some very late entries that have kept us up nearly all night for the last week or so.

From overseas and our home shores, the 2010 VisitVineyards.com cookbook award winners are..... »

 

Within Australia, there are some great things coming out of Western Australia, and not all from mines. Two great books are:

If you are looking for places to eat, drink and be merry over the festive season and during 2011 then look no further than the Good Food Guides. For the best food and dining in Victoria and NSW as well as what's new and what's special, these guides are indispensable.

 

Food News:

An opening event for the  Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in March 2011 will be the SBS Food Journey Festival, a celebration of the rich culinary and festive traditions of Australia's most culturally diverse city »

Wishing you all a foodtastic time over the festive season ahead.

 


VisitVineyards.com MEMBERS: where are you heading in Australia this summer?

Whether you have a short break or a long lazy holiday planned, don’t forget to pack your VisitVineyards.com Membership card and enjoy exclusive experiences including:

New South Wales: Wine, Tours and All that Jazz at Bago Vineyards »

South Australia: Take in a Shotfire Session at Thorn-Clarke Wines »

Tasmania: Discover beautifully handcrafted knives, swords and more at Bismarck Metal Craft »

Victoria: Enjoy a tasty discount on fabulous farmhouse cheese and more at Blue Bay Cheese »

Western Australia: Wine and tour at Voyager Estate »
 

Don’t forget to check out www.VisitVineyards.com/benefits before you go or simply view them on your mobile phone on the road.

 


RACV members: exploring regional Victoria this summer?

Enjoy discounts of up to 20 per cent along the way.

The RACV Regional Wine and Food program – brought to you by VisitVineyards.com – offers you discounts of up to 20% on purchases at regional cellar doors, winery restaurants, producers, microbreweries, gourmet provedores and more across regional Victoria.

So don’t forget to carry your RACV roadside member card with you, and to visit racv.VisitVineyards.com before you leave home or on the road.

We'd like to introduce you to two of our partner businesses: Plunkett-Fowles in the Strathbogie Ranges and Dinny Goonan near the Great Ocean Road. While these cellar doors are 250km apart, both have a passion for shiraz and riesling. 

 

Plunkett-Fowles:

Introducing Romeo and Juliet, Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch, Australia’s Best Shiraz and a 15% discount for RACV members… 

Situated on the Hume Freeway amongst the granite-strewn landscape of the Strathbogie Ranges, there’s a lot happening at Plunkett Fowles cellar door and café » 

 

Dinny Goonan Family Estate:

Enjoy tranquility and birdsong, some of the finest riesling and shiraz around, the best coffee in the district and a 15% discount for RACV members

Learn more about the fascinating Dinny Goonan and his Family Estate in Bambra towards the Great Ocean Road »

 

Inspiring Itineraries for RACV members

Planning a Yarra Valley or Mornington Peninsula getaway over the summer months? Perhaps these inspiring itineraries with discounts of up to 20% on food and wine along the way will arouse action:

 

Click on racv.VisitVineyards.com/Save for the full list of over 50 great discount offers for RACV* members.

* Reciprocal rights exist for members of other motoring organisations within Australia and internationally. So if you're a current member or policy holder of NRMA, RAA, RACT, RANZ, AAA etc, you qualify for all these discounts too!

 

If there's a business you'd like to see in this program (perhaps your own), or another state that you think should join, please email Sara, our friendly Victorian Alliance Manager with your suggestions.
 

 


Enjoy Tasmanian food, wine, boutique beer and accommodation for less this summer

Fine Tasmanian wine, boutique beer, a room on a river, a room with an ocean view and the perfect way for a wine-lover to relax – introducing some wonderful new selections for RACT members*.

  • In the heart of the lush Huon Valley in Tasmania's south is Home Hill Winery and Restaurant. The colours and textures of the valley are captured in the materials of the building, whilst the flavours of the soil are reflected in their range of award-winning wines and in the delicious dishes in the restaurant. Save at the Home Hill cellar door with 10% off wine purchases , and in the restaurant too.
  • Staying in the Huon Valley, travel around the Cygnet Coast Road and you'll find the picturesque Panorama Vineyard. Relax on the shaded verandah with a glass of wine or even a port or liqueur and enjoy the warm welcome and river views, then save 10% on your purchases as you leave.
  • To the north of the state and another valley: The River House is perfectly placed to offer wine lovers the ideal base for their vineyard adventures through the Tamar Valley and north east. End your travelling days with a warm welcome, a tranquil stroll around the garden and relaxing panoramic river views.
  • The cellar door at Moores Hill not only offers vineyard views, tastings, sales and savings but importantly, the chance for a bit of a yarn. Find out how their tiny vineyard produces wines of distinction (whilst tasting them of course) that reflect their unique parcel of the Tamar Valley. They're also serving Bruny Island Cheese on their tasting plates – yum!
  • White Sands Estate recently opened their spectacular new building after some massive, literally earth-moving renovations. Stunningly located on the East Coast, there's beachside accommodation, fine-dining restaurant Le Blanc, Providore (full of local produce and goodies), the Brewhaus Café and Bar and with IronHouse Brewery at its heart. Save 10% three times – on accommodation, Providore purchases and when you tuck that pack of fine IronHouse brew under your arm.

 

More exclusive savings to RACT* members:

Trying to find that perfect pampering present? Consider a wine-bath package at Hamony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa Retreat . There could surely be no better way to relax and what a unique and special gift, at a 10% saving that you are sure to enjoy.

Take your someone special on a tour to remember. Ask Judy at Eye See Personalised Tours to craft an itinerary just for you that takes in the experiences you both enjoy.

With summer here and the north west looking so lush with growth, it's a great time to enjoy the rolling hills and views around Barringwood Park Vineyard. Stop for some tasty farmhouse cheese at award-winning Ashgrove offering you a tasty 10% discount.

Remember to check the website ract.VisitVineyards.com before you travel and to carry your RACT* membership card!

 

* Are you visiting from another state and a member of an affiliated motoring organisation (RACV, RACQ, NRMA etc)? You can enjoy these savings as well, just make sure you carry your card.

 

If there's a business you'd like to see in this program (perhaps your own), or another state that you think should join, please email Kerry, our friendly Tasmanian Alliance Manager with your suggestions. 

 

EVENTS: Celebrate the festive season – eat, drink and be merry!

It's the party season celebrating summer, Christmas and New Year, major sporting events like the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race as well as our beloved tennis and cricket.

Whether staying in the city or heading for the beach shack, we've chosen some events around the country to crank up the fun and get you in the mood.

  • ACT: Welcome in 2011 with a giant street party in the heart of Australia's capital city – Canberra 31 Dec – or celebrate what's great about being an Aussie at the country's ultimate celebration i.e. Australia DayCanberra 26 Jan »
  • WA: Pack a picnic and wave the flag at the Albany Australia Day Free Family Fun Day and Fireworks –  Albany 26 Jan »
  • NSW: Don't miss the Sydney Festival , a rich program of music, dance, family entertainment, theatre and visual arts – Sydney 9-30 Jan – or enjoy a two day extravaganza of gourmet food, regional produce, award winning wines and beer at the Shoalhaven Food and Wine ShowNowra 8-9 Jan »
  • NT: Tantalise your senses each Saturday morning at the Parap Market with a mixture of Asian cuisine and the aroma of fresh coffee. A great place to buy local arts and crafts – Darwin 8am-2pm every Saturday »
  • Qld: The Woodford Folk Festival is one of the largest folk festivals in the world, with concerts, workshops, a children's festival, late night cabaret and special events – Woodford 27 Dec-1 Jan »
  • SA: Enjoy stunning seafood and fine wine against the backdrop of the Southern Ocean at the Cape Jaffa Seafood and Wine FestivalCape Jaffa 9 Jan – or celebrate everything vibrant that the Adelaide Hills has to offer at the Crush Food and Wine FestivalVarious Adelaide Hills locations 26-30 Jan »
  • Tas: Showcasing the uniqueness and diversity of Tasmania's produce, gourmet food and wine, The Taste Festival is Tasmania's premier summer event – Hobart 27 Dec-2 Jan – this year with a revamped format and more wine masterclasses.
  • Don't miss the 3rd MONA FOMA festival also in Hobart which will push the boundaries and entertain with a host of events – Hobart 14-20 Jan, prior to the opening of the spectacular MONA from 21st-23rd January. Many of these events are free, but be warned, accommodation in Hobart is quickly booking out.
  • Vic: Awaken your senses with a weekend of delicious regional food and exciting cool climate wines at the Alpine Valleys Gourmet WeekendBright 7-9 Jan – or head to the Mornington Peninsula for two full days of tasting pinot noirs from around the world at the International Pinot Noir CelebrationCape Schanck 28-29 Jan »

If you are heading to New Zealand in January then all pinot noir addicts should attend the three day Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebrationvarious locations 27-29 Jan – or savour the diversity of Hawke's Bay wines at the Hawke's Bay Wine and Food FestivalHastings 29 Jan »

 

There are literally hundreds more wine and food events on over Christmas, New Year and summer – too many to list – so browse our national wine and food events and festival calendar here and start planning for your holidays »

(And if you have one and it's not listed – no matter how large or small – please email us details asap, or enter them into our calendar yourself at www.VisitVineyards.com/MyAccount).

 

  

 

 Wishing you all a happy, peaceful and safe festive season.

As 2010 draws to a close the team of VisitVineyards.com and WinePros Archive would like to thank you all for your interest and support over the past twelve months. It's been a massive year for us, with two new and exciting alliances in place with motoring organisations RACV and RACT in Victoria and Tasmania, and more to follow shortly.

We love bringing you the best of our regional producers and travel providers, and helping you connect with them. Australia is very blessed not only with our wonderful produce but the fabulous friendly people in our regions whom we continually meet both online and in person (or IRL as a facebook friend told me the other day – In Real Life!), and this site is a testament to you all and your wonderful products and services. Thank you.

Literally as I write this we are welcoming our 29,000th subscriber into our wine and food travel (and fun!) loving community, which might not seem like a lot of people until you think of everyone in a sports stadium or at a concert. Congratulations to Mr M. Bakrania of Perth WA who will be receiving some very nice Best's Great Western shiraz in time for Christmas.

We have grown from very small beginnings to a team now spread over 3 States and about to expand even more. We all love what we do, but even more we love sharing the best of what we find with you. Thanks for making this community what it is today.

May we wish you all a very happy, safe and peaceful festive season, and good wine, good food and good cheer.

Safe travels, and we look forward to seeing you all in the New Year!

Kind regards from

Robyn Lewis and the VisitVineyards.com team: Kerry, Sara, Charlie, Trish, Graham, Mike, Andrew, Laura, Marie-Paule, Dominic – and MOG.

 

PS Don't forget that each time you forward this newsletter to a friend (we don't see or collect their email addresses, unless they choose to subscribe) or share via facebook using the link to the left, you get an extra chance in the draw to win the fabulous Margaret River prizes. Good luck!