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Welcome to a new year of wine, food and travel

Quick link: Win cool climate or high country getaways, fine wine and dining, books and more - including 4 days at a cooking school in Tuscany »

Welcome to our subscribers from all parts of the world, whether you are sunning in summer south of the equator, steaming in Singapore, shivering in Scotland - or frosted in Florida, as one amazed subscriber emailed to tell us. We hope that you have all had a wonderful festive season and that the New Year brings you many happy things - including good wine, food and travels of course.

2010 promises to be a great year for VisitVineyards.com and WinePros Archive - we have some exciting surprises on the way for you in the months ahead. But for February, let's take a look at how vintage in Australia is progressing, what's on in the antipodean world of wine events (lots!), and what to drink and eat as our summer lingers on - especially for the most romantic day of the year, Valentine's Day.

February is also when VisitVineyards.com's oldest Member Dame Elisabeth Murdoch celebrates her 101st birthday (on the 8th), and perhaps she will be enjoying one of her favourite white wines, Delatite's Sylvia Riesling, for her birthday lunch. Join us in wishing her a very happy birthday, and you too may be able to enjoy this delicious wine if you enter our subscribers' competition below. If you are near Melbourne you can also enjoy an evening of jazz at her wonderful property Cruden Farm just out of Frankston at the gateway to the Mornington Peninsula on Saturday 6th February  - check out the events section below for details of this and other fabulous wine and food events coming up around Australia.

In this edition:

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Quick Links:

Upgrade and become a Member - A$99 for a whole year of benefits (A$169 per couple)

Quick Poll:

Q1. Do you see 2010 as being a better year for the Australian Wine industry

Q2: Recent industry reports have suggested that to remain competitive and to avoid the crisis facing the wine industry deepening, thousands of hectares of existing vines should be removed. Do you think this will solve the problem?

Q3: With the worst of the GFC crisis seemingly over, are you now more positive in regards to any travel plans you have this year? (either within Australia or overseas).

SPECIAL FEATURE - Tourism Tasmania together with VisitVineyards.com offers you the chance to win a A$3000 holiday in Tasmania's north, or one of 12 cases of cool-climate Tasmanian wine.

If you fancy a Cool Climate Getaway - keep reading!  One lucky couple will be spending four days in Tasmania's Tamar Valley getting up close and personal with some superb cool climate wines. With stylish accommodation at Rosevears Vineyard Retreat in the heart of the Tamar Valley, flights, car hire and a delicious lunch at Estelle Restaurant  all included, this is a fantastic opportunity to explore this wine and food-lovers paradise.

PLUS there are 12 cases of premium Tasmanian wine to be won by the runners-up. You could be sipping on wine from the north: Jansz , Dalrymple, Bay of Fires , Josef Chromy , Leaning Church and Native Point or from Pooley Wines and Nocton Park in the South. Or perhaps from the only vineyard in the Tasmanian Midlands - Barton. Our friends at The Wine Society have also provided three mixed cases of their own excellent  Society Tasmanian wines. That's another 12 fabulous reasons to enter now! »

All you have to do as an existing subscriber is to refer one friend to subscribe. No, we won't ask you for five - that's imposing way too much - or even two, just one is fine. Just make sure they love wine, food and travel as much as you do!

Either forward this newsletter to your friend   and ask them to subscribe mentioning your name (they can then enter too), or email them and include this page link with competition details so they can read all about it »

Then, when they have subscribed, simply fill in the form on the competition page, and include their name. Read more about this fantastic getaway, great Tasmanian wines and, importantly, enter now »



WINE: News, travels, books, makers plus our Top 12 Boutique Brews






TOP 12s:


COMPETITIONS: Getaways here and overseas, dining, wine, food and books

February might be a short month but we're not short on more fantastic prizes for subscribers and Members. There's a very special chance to get to the table with Tuscan Mammas at home in Italy, superb wine from Delatite and Angullong Wines, wine, travel and food books and did we mention the delicious Cocoa Farm chocolate packs? For Herald subscribers there's a 3 day gourmet adventure in Victoria's High Country plus dining and wine prizes.

1. SUBSCRIBERS' monthly competition - it's free to enter and you could win some great prizes so why delay?

  • First prize: two half dozen superb aromatic wines from Delatite Winery - celebrate Dame Elisabeth's 101st birthday with her favourite white wine, Riesling Sylvia 2008 and their 2006 Shiraz.
  • Second prize: Discover hand-crafted, stylish Australian travel experiences with Australia in Style . It's a visual feast of some of the best, but perhaps less-known outback options - luxurious but low key of course.
  • Third prize: at home and in the mood with Luke Mangan offers an array of recipes for enjoying with family and friends - one of the simplest and best joys in life.
  • Fourth prize: no excuses for burnt meat or dripping fat on the barbecue again with a copy of The BBQ and Grill Cookbook by Loukie Werle for The Heart Foundation.


2. MEMBERS' prizes for February - 12 prizes this month!:

  • First prize : from the foothills of the picturesque Mt Canobolas near Orange in NSW come these wonderful white wines from Angullong Wines. Get a taste of cool climate wine from ancient soils with one of four mixed cases of their 2009 Verdelho and 2008 Fossil Hill Pinot Gris to be won.
  • Second prize: start your WA wine travel plans off with a copy of Pemberton Wine Region   by Alex Bond who has beautifully captured the vineyards, forests, lakes and spirit of this wonderful area.
  • Third prize : it's February and with talk of Valentines Day, oysters may well be on the menu! For any oyster-lover The House of Oysters by Bernard Lloyd and Paul County is a must -have. Not only are there over 50 recipes from Australia's A list of chefs, there's interesting history, biology and trivial information on the oyster.
  • Fourth prize: what else can we say but yum!  Cocoa Farm Chocolates are probably the hardest prizes for the VisitVineyards.com team to keep their eyes off. We've got 6 mixed gift packs of these indulgent, delicious chocolates to give away. Who needs Valentines Day or Easter as an excuse?


3.  SPECIAL PRIZE - experience the heart and soul of Tuscany - yes, in Italy !

Tutti a Tavola - Everybody to the Table! The Italian table that is.  You could be at the table of the Tuscan Mammas in the heart of Chianti in Italy! 

We're offering only lucky VisitVineyards.com subscriber a place at their famous four day culinary program . If the thought of travelling the world enjoying regional wine and food along the way is even vaguely on your mind, then this prize could well be the prompter for your next trip away and an altogether unforgettable experience. For a taste of what you'd experience and entry details, read more here »


 4. HERALD SUBSCRIBERS - a High Country gourmet adventure, dining and fabulous wine 

If you're a Sydney Morning Herald or Sun-Herald Subscriber, you could be enjoying a three day gourmet adventure amongst Victoria's rugged bush beauty with Hedonistic Hiking. With accommodation at a luxuty eco-retreat, a five course degustation dinner and a gourmet picnic atop a mountain this High Country gourmet adventure with an Italian touch. Flights and car hire are also included and there's more »

There's also another 16 great dining and wine prizes to be won including a sumptuous meal at the renowned Simone's of Bright , fine wine from Delatite and Boynton's Feathertop Winery and wine books. Read on for more prize and entry details »



Like to be amongst the first in the world to see Queen - the Unseen Archive at the Art Gallery of Ballarat in Victoria's Goldfields? It's the only place in Australia to show this amazing collection of unseen images, rare memorabilia and even some of Freddie Mercury's glamorous costumes. Win this gift pack from V/Line and you'll be on board and bound for Ballarat before you can say Scaramouche, Scaramouche....



On again this March, the Festival promises to be even better than last year. If you'd like to get prepared with a free copy of the MFWF 2009 Recipe Book then email us now  - we've got 10 to give away - first in best dressed!



Subscribers and Members, don't forget to check to see if you won wine, books - including the fabulous Vineyard Cookbook - hampers and more on our winners' page. If you find your name there, please get in touch and we'll have your prize winging its way to you in no time.

The winners of the three Vineyard Cookbook lunch experiences in McLaren Vale, Margaret River and Launceton will be announced later - we have to read all your fabulous feedback first!



FOOD: Cookbooks and ideas for summer daze

For many Australians, summer means one thing - the sea - so now that the holidays are coming to an end, what better way to prolong the relaxed feeling of summer than with lashings of fresh fish and seafood from our wonderful coastline? Oceans by Andrew Dwyer is full of great recipes as well as ripping tales from Australia's maritime history »

Get a taste for Australia's wild side as well as some more traditional fare in one cookbook, by trying out the recipes in The Produce Chef by rising chef Matt Clark »

If you're a Masterchef fan then you'll enjoy Luke Mangan's at home and in the mood. But this is not about plating up, it’s about shared dishes, served ‘family style’. And what better time than when we’re feeling chilled out after a holiday – and if you’re in Australia, while summer shines blissfully on?

Don't know your extra virgin olive oil from your pure? Robust from delicate? Over the past two decades the growing of olives and making of olive oils has proliferated in Australia and New Zealand. Find your way through the growing range of olive oils with A Guide to Australian and New Zealand Olive Oils »

Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers opened the legendary River Cafe on the River Thames in 1987 and have changed the way we cook, eat and think about Italian food. Their new cook book, The River Cafe Classic Italian Cookbook is about the traditional, regional food that they love to eat when they are in Italy, the food they cook at The River Cafe, and the food they cook at home for their families.

Escape the summer heat and head for the Granite Belt in Queensland . The Granite Belt is unique in Australia combining severe winter frosts with Queensland's sunshine to produce a wide range of produce and intense flavoured apples, pears and stone fruit. Combine fresh regional food, outstanding award-winning wines, excellent accommodation, popular events, and country hospitality and it is not difficult to see why it has become a destination of choice in south-east Queensland.


MEMBERS: Lazy long lunches, romantic wine escapes, behind-the-scenes tours and more...

  • Thinking of heading to the Victorian High Country? Then note Saturday, February 20 in your diaries as Hedonistic Hiking invite you to their luxuriously Lazy Lunch: A Taste of Piedmont, at The Buckland Retreat. Exclusively for Members, take advantage of this too-good-to-be-true dining experience and bring along a friend for free - with a saving of $135 this will be an unforgettable experience for you both »
  • For Members planning a trip to New Zealand's Marlborough wine region, consider staying at the luxurious Bec Spa Resort Lodge in the heart of the region. Members, you are offered an indulgent three day Romantic Wine Escape at an exclusive price including two all day winery tours, a full body massage each, three-course dinner and much more »
  • Visited South Australia’s Clare Valley lately? Jeanneret Wines offers Members a generous 14 to the dozen for Members visiting the cellar door and a bonus nights' accommodation along with four complimentary bottles of wine for those who stay in their delightful Grace and Favour cottage »
  • Tasmania’s Tamar Valley has quite a reputation for its cool climate wines, beautiful vistas and friendly locals. A visit to Goaty Hill Wines ensures to reinforce this reputation as Members are invited to complete a cellar door tasting of the current vintages with one of Goaty Hill’s owners and to hear the story of Goaty Hill thus far »
  • Bago Vineyards, just outside Port Macquarie on the NSW North Coast invites Members to their Annual Harvest Dinner on April 17th with a tempting 15 percent discount on the ticket price. Plan your holiday now, then look forward to an evening of fun, feasting and dancing the night away amongst the picturesque grounds of the estate »
  • The internationally award winning Voyager Estate is a jewel in Western Australia’s Margaret River region. Members are invited to join a behind-the-scenes tour and will receive two tour passes for the price of one, a saving of $25. If you have the time, a meal in their divine restaurant may tempt you also - find out for yourself why it has won so many awards. Here, Members will enjoy a complimentary glass of the ultra premium Tom Price Sauvignon Blanc Semillon or Tom Price Cabernet Sauvignon »

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

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 you’ll make all year »


EVENTS: Food and wine events around Australia

Holidays are mostly coming to an end but events around Australia are just starting to come to life. Just when you thought you were winding down after Australia Day, it's time to crank up with some of our biggest events and festivals including Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year. And there are some HUGE concerts in vineyards coming around the country.

Victoria will be the place to be in March with the largest celebration of its kind in the world - the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival . From 12th-23rd March, Melbourne and Victoria burst with hundreds of flavoursome food and wine events. Learn the secrets of top chefs and winemakers from around the world at the Master Classes. Read about wine celebrities visiting for the festival »

Other events include:

These are only a small selection from our national wine and food events calendar - be sure to check it out before planning your next short break or vacation, or for one of the amazing concerts coming up. You can view by State and/or by month - and if you like art, music or sport with your wine and food, you'll find plenty to tempt you.

(If you are an event organiser and your event is not listed, no matter how large or small - and in New Zealand too -  please email us details asap, but preferably 3 months in advance!).








Keep up to date with the latest news from VisitVineyards.com - you can find us on both Twitter and Facebook.

We'd love to hear from you

Thanks to everyone who provided us with feedback in our quickpoll about your newsletter - and to those of you who sent us Christmas cards! Most of you are very happy with your newsletter, while some of you think it's a bit long - and we agree, but there is so much happening it's hard to cut it down... So we've decided to make it more seasonal. This means than instead of monthly we'll be sending you two newsletters instead of three per quarter up to June, when we'll reassess - or earlier if we get howls of protest!

We know you are busy people and have lots to read in your mailboxes, and we don't want to add to the clutter - but we don't any of you to miss out, either! So get in touch and let us know if you have any strong feelings on this change. In the interim you can keep up with wine events and happenings by visiting our website regularly, checking out the events calendar , joining our facebook group or on our twitter page »

And keep posting your comments as well - your feedback has been great so far, and it sure helps other people plan their visits! You can post comments on anywhere you've been to lately - just search for the name then click on the listing to add your feedback. Don't forget to add your star rating!

Also remember that if you enter any of our competitions, you'll need to check the winners' page at the beginning of each month. We will also email or phone you for Really Big Prizes, and we post notices of competitions on facebook and twitter too.

We'd love to hear your thoughts about the wine industry in this month's quickpoll, and your travel plans too.


Until next time, happy days and wine travels from

Robyn and the VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive team

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