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Despite what Chicken Little says the sky has not yet fallen in on Australia and its wine industry. Yes, we're suffering along with the rest of the world in this global economic turmoil. And yes, our wine industry is feeling the pressure of overplanting of some varieties and challenging times in retail and international exports. But  we're still making some very good wine, and finally, the drought might even be over....

Tough times make us work harder, especially our winemakers. But for lovers of wine,  Australia couldn't be a better place. As winemakers compete for your attention with delicious new varieties, a packed calendar of cellar door events and equally delicious prices, we have the opportunity to sample among the best wines in the world. And they are some of the best.  Australian wines took out 43 gold medals at the London International Wine Challenge in May, one of the most prestigious shows in the world. Our total medal haul was 591, placing us second only to France with 729 medals. Read about our winners and the judges' tastings notes here »

So chin up and cheers - get out and taste the work of our wonderful award winning, innovative winemakers. And be quick, you know what the chicken says...

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In this edition:

Quick Links:

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

Quick Poll:

Q1. Do you buy Cleanskins?


If so, what has been your general experience with them?


Any comments on your experiences with Cleanskins?

Q2. Do you think selling Australian wine in the USA branded as ‘Down Under’ at US$3 per bottle will harm our overseas wine reputation?

Don't know
It doesn't bother me

We wonder if it will be called ‘Three Buck Chunder’?


There's gold in that bottle!  Explore the Rutherglen wine region

Roaming the dusty streets of Rutherglen 150 years ago, good fortune might have you fall upon the odd speck of gold. Today, north-east Victoria’s historic township keeps liquid gold under lock and key, deep in the cellars of wine companies like All Saints Estate, Campbells, and Stanton and Killeen who have long histories of great winemaking in the region.  This month join us as we explore this gold-plated wine region »

More Rutherglen:

Top 10 vineyards where you can lay your weary head

It's tiring touring wine country and while some of our wine regions can be sampled in a day trip from many state capitals, sleeping among the vines and spending a leisurely second day exploring is sometimes the best way to absorb a region, especially if it's just the two of you, or for a group of friends.  Check out our top 10 selection of the best on-vineyard accommodations across Australia »

More wine:

Warm up, drink up or read up - prizes to do all this and more! SUBSCRIBERS:

It's FREE TO ENTER and you could win one of these great prizes. Discover the Rhone in Rutherglen, delve into the culinary history of Melbourne or hear it through the grapevine. »

Two lucky first prize winners will each receive half a dozen wines from our featured region - Rutherglen - and discover emerging Rhone varieties. The wines come from the leading vineyards in the region: 2007 Jones Marsanne, 2006 All Saints Family Cellar Marsanne, 2007 Rutherglen Estates Marsanne Viognier, 2008 Campbells Viognier, 2008 Anderson Shiraz Rosé and 2007 Valhalla Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre. Enter now for your chance to be sipping these in July »

Second prize will see two subscribers discovering the culinary history of Melbourne each with a copy of Flavours of Melbourne by Charmaine O'Brien. Discover some fascinating facts about some well-known and novel foods such as yum cha and hot dogs, try out the recipes of the times and get a feel for the social and culinary history of Melbourne.

Third prize is all about wine in the simple, down to earth style of Matt Skinner with a copy each of The Juice 2009 and Heard it through the Grapevine for two subscribers. Have some of the mysteries of wine explained or have a handy pocket sized guide of wine recommendations, tips and tricks.

 Try your luck and maybe you'll join our happy prize winners  in June » MEMBERS could be warming up this winter but no matter the season, it's always a good time to become a full Member - all new Members are automatically entered in the draw to win the monthly prizes, including.

First prize: Ready to relax and shake of the winter chills? You could win a great Dine & Bathe package for you and someone special at the fabulous Peninsula Hot Springs. And while you're on the Mornington Peninsula, why not take advantage of the over 100 Member offers, stay the night and enjoy some exclusive wine and food experiences avaiable only to Members?

Second prize is one of three bottles of Ocean Eight 2007 Pinot Noir from one of the most stunning vineyards on the Mornington Peninsula and hand made by passionate young wine-maker Mike Aylward. Tyson Stelzer and Matthew Jukes say this wine "offers more action-packed excitement than Brad Pitt on the big screen". Make sure you're in the draw to win some of this action!

Third prize: Ever get challenged by the myriad of wines with lovely labels beckonging you from the numerous rows of the bottleshop? Then the Penguin Australian Good Wine Guide 2009 could be the reference book you've been waiting for. It takes you past the packaging and advises as to the quality and flavours within. Scoring of wines is based upon on a 100-point system that is easy to follow and a very useful guide. We've got  three copies for Members to win in June - just in time for some winter research, by the fire with glass in hand of course.


Winter could be a lot more enjoyable with any of these great prizes so make sure you enter now.

 Existing Members simply click on this link to fill in the entry form for your chance to win


Are you a May winner?

With so many prizes on offer each month, we don't directly notify winners except for the Really Big Prizes - 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 wines, hamper or book we're obliged to redraw. So check for your name now and don't miss out »

New to

We're Australia's wine travel guide. You can subscribe for free and enjoy unlimited access to suggested itineraries, tasting notes, the forums and other great content across the website, or become a Member and take the site into the real world by taking advantage of the amazing Members' offers and money-can't-buy experiences »

Members' offers around the country

Two special events are coming up at Veraison Restaurant at Bluestone Lane Vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula. On 27 June they're hosting a new releases dinner with a five course degustation menu with matched wines, while on July 25, the team invite you to celebrate a Winter Christmas with a traditional three course lunch. They're offering Members a special offer on half-dozen purchases at the new releases dinner, or at any other time, you can enjoy a complimentary bottle of Bluestone Lane Unwooded Chardonnay with any two-course meal and a 30 percent discount on return visits to the restaurant.

More new Member offers this month:


Not a Member yet?

If you love wine and food, you should be! Sign up to 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 providers across Australia. It's your passport to wine country.  Find out what you're missing and join us here today »

Engineering wine and food matches

We pore over published tasting notes trying to find the perfect wine to go with meals, and it's more important now than ever with more people eating at home and taking their own wine to restaurants. Tim Hanni MW says it's time to throw out the rule books. With a little lemon and a dash of salt you can successfully match any food and wine combination »

More food:

Making plans - the best food and wine events, and our new national events calendar »

One of Australia's favourite wine regions, the Hunter Valley, is celebrating during June with the whole month dedicated to showcasing the amazing variety of wine and food. Winemakers are hosting dinners at the winemaker table events, there are cooking classes and wine and food matching demonstrations, biodynamic vineyard tours and plenty more throughout the month.

More June/early July wine and food events:

  • Brisbane is celebrating wine, with its annual Fine Wine Festival from 26-28 June. The festival features fine wines and food from all over Australia, including Queensland of course, as well as some highly regarded imported wines.
  • In South Australia, spend a cold June weekend afternoon at the Sinclair's Gully Winter Warmers as you watch the mist roll through the valley of candlebarks while sipping on a muscat and warming yourself around a brazier. Bring your coats, gloves and scarfs and join the winemaker at Adelaide Hills' only eco certified vineyard and cellar door.
  • Browse 50 years of Australian aquatints by the late Australian landscape artist  Max Ragless at Fox Creek Cellar Door in the McLaren Vale »
  • The Barossa Valley opens its doors on the weekend of 27-28th June, when you can spend the weekend with the winemakers, in their cellar doors and at special events thoughout the valley at Barossa at Home »
  • Enjoy three nights of flame, food and spectacle in The Rocks, Sydney at the annual Fire Water festival from 12 - 14 June. Fire sculptures, light installations, music, floating lantern workshops, flame-grilled food from local restaurateurs and the dramatic burning of the Three Bees will turn The Rocks into a spectacularly warm winter haven.
  • Also in Sydney is the Boutique Wine Festival and Presentation Dinner at the Marriot Hotel, coming up on 3-5 July, where you can taste boutique wines from around Australia and New Zealand »
  • Enjoy fortnightly Friday night winter jazz or match duck with pinot noir at a very reasonably priced four course degustation from 7 pm on 26th June at Vines in the Yarra Valley »
  • June also marks the release of the internationally renown 2007 De Bortoli Noble One - the 25th anniversary! Special events will be held throughout the month and a special 25th anniversary vintage bottle will be available at the De Bortoli cellar door in the Yarra Valley. If you're a fan of Noble One and sauternes (including Chateau d'Yquem) then book now to attend a tasting dinner on 1st August, including the never-before-released 1981 vintage »


Finally, you can search and browse wine and food events across the whole country in one place (and some in New Zealand too) on our new national events calendar »

Prefer a list view? Scroll through events month by month and plan you next wine escape »

If you're hosting a wine or food event, please let us know well in advance so we can include it »

New: post your own and read others' reviews

We hope you had a great long weekend, with friends or family, good food and good wine, whether you were at the Mornington Peninsula's Winter Wine Weekend, Rutherglen's 25th anniversary winery walkabout, at home by the fire or at one of the many wine and food events that fill the June long weekend with such enjoyment across the country.

Found a hidden gem that's just too good to keep to yourself? Now you can tell us all about your favourite events, places to stay, taste and dine on our new-look product pages. Add comments, read our recommendations and those of fellow wine travellers on each and every one of the thousands of listings on our website.  Just look the name up on type the name of your favourite winery (or restaurant, accommodation, etc) into the keyword search box on the RHS, click on the listing you want, and post your comments in the new box on the left below. Can't find your fave? Then use the advanced search , or email us and let us know »

Reward yourself, too; contributors of  the ten best comments posted in June will each win a new groovy tchillbag - the new and recyclable wine carry bag/cooler - valued at A$14.95 plus postage. We look forward to reading your comments and reviews.


Robyn Lewis and the team

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