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Your invitation to enjoy Grange '98, and wine, food and fun in the months ahead


Quick link: Win some great prizes in our monthly competitions, including a trip to Tasmania »

We've been absolutely blown away by the fantastic response to our annual subscribers' and Members' surveys - over 1000 responses came in in the first few days, mostly full of helpful suggestions about what we can do better. Thank you SO much if you have already responded. We've also been touched and occasionally delighted by some of the comments we've received, too. With great ideas for new content, what our subscribers like and what they don't - we'll be more than busy in the months ahead taking all the feedback on board and implementing improvements as soon as we can. And to those who gave us a pat on the back - thanks. We're only a small team but we try very hard.

There sure are some thirsty people out there, too! The Australian wine industry might be down at present, but with wine lovers like you, it's sure not out. To all the winemakers who are reading this, congratulations to you as well for the fabulous wines you continue to delight our subscribers with, and keep it up! Yes, wine times are tough but you make a lot of people very, very happy, and don't ever forget that. Australian wine isn't 'sunshine in a bottle', it's your passion, dedication, expertise and a good dose of Aussie true grit - and people love it.

We passed another milestone last week - our 25,000th subscriber. That's a lot of people - together you would nearly fill Geelong's Skilled Stadium! We'll be sending a special surprise to the lucky subscriber - Mr D. Hewitt of South Melbourne - half a dozen of the superb Zema Estate 2006 Shiraz . This estate-grown and hand-crafted shiraz reflects the best of the Coonawarra, famous for its reds. (Members, check our April competitions for your chance to win half a dozen for yourself, and another two delicious half dozens for subscribers from Anderson Winery). Forward this newsletter to a wine-loving friend and help us get to 30,000 soon - we'll reward you again then, too.

So thank you all, and for those who haven't yet had the time to respond to our survey, it's open until the 31st March - fill it in and you might be the lucky person to part me from my very last bottle of  perfectly cellared Penfolds Grange 1998, which this time last year I vowed I was going to drink, but luckily for one of you I haven't! Click here to complete our survey and you might enjoy this great wine, one of the best recent vintages »

At work? Don't have time or aren't able to read our newsletter or fill in the survey now? Then click here to forward this newsletter to your home email address (or somewhere else) » 

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In this edition:



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



Quick Poll:

No Quick poll this month! We encourage you to (if you haven't already) to complete our Survey and be in the draw to win a bottle of 1998 Grange or a 6-pack of fine Tasmanian Pinot.


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SPECIAL PROMOTION: Will your favourite gourmet experience be a winner?

Australian Traveller magazine, with its 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences will hit local news stands on Wednesday 24th March. A taste of what’s coming: worshipping the heat at Spice Temple , eating fish ‘n’ chips on the beach (anywhere, just make sure it's the right fish 'n' chips), the food stalls of Darwin’s Mindil Beach Markets and churn and turn at Pyengana Dairy in Tasmania.

That’s just four – there’s another 96 around Australia to discover, including the Number One, which  is.... we can't tell you! So make sure you grab your copy from your local newsagent, and check out the best near you.  We have 20 copies of Australian Traveller hot off the press to give away  – for entry details CLICK HERE »

There are another 260 great gourmet experiences right here on VisitVineyards.com for our lucky Members – just scroll down to find out what's new in March.

 


WINE: News, travels, books, makers plus our Top 12 picks

WINE:

Autumn fast approaches in the southern hemisphere, and across Australia the 2010 grape harvest is in full swing. So before we air our woolies and dig out our ugg (or bespoke) boots we invite you to keep that summer feeling alive with a selection of our Top 12 Indian Summer wines from The Wine Society »

How is this year's vintage? It's harvest to Americans, vendage to the French - the frantic few months when the usually peaceful vineyards and wineries come to life as the grapes ripen to picking perfection. It's the time to be out exploring -  the vines are laden, the mood celebratory and the weather generally perfect for the many tempting food, wine and music events. How are the wines shaping up and what's on amidst the vines in the:

 

TOP PICKS:

With over 600 cellar doors in Victoria and good food and wine in abundance, SA based Sam Russell went on tour to select his Top Picks for some lesser-frequented wine growing areas:

  • The Bendigo, Pyrenees and Heathcote regions became famous in the 1850s goldrush. Now famous for thriving towns, boutique vineyards and cafe society, wine travellers can readily find pleasures in abundance.
  • Likewise, in western Victoria and a must-visit especially if you are touring from Melbourne to the Coonawarra and Adelaide, are the regions of Henty and the Grampians »

Do you live outside Victoria? Want to see some more features in your own State (or somewhere else)? Then please ask your State or regional tourism authorities to get in touch with us, or forward them this newsletter and suggest that they do. Your rates and taxes pay their salaries, folks! We can't be everywhere....

 

BOOKS:

WA wine expert Ray Jordan's 2010 WA Wine Guide is a must-have for anyone buying or interested in the wines of Western Australia. The '09 vintage was exceptional - the stands-outs amazing. And they are not all expensive. Another bonus this year is the handy pull-out wine map, one of the best we've seen »

Champagne. The very word says celebration. With over 200 of these ethereal wines matched to sumptuous banquets and French-inspired cuisine, Champagne and Chandeliers by Bernadette O'Shea is an elegant, creative and poetic tribute to what is perhaps the world's most famous wine. Bubbles anyone? »

 

NEWS:

For small winemakers the future is always uncertain and difficult and none more so than now. Brian Croser, leading light in Australian wine business, recently stirred up a hornet's nest about the challenge facing the Australian wine community for the next decades to 2030. Read it here »

 

WINEMAKERS:

Glen Erin Vineyard in  Victoria's Macedon Ranges combines 4.5 star luxury with country hospitality, and produces exceptional wines. Brian Scales transformed the property from neglected to inspiring »

How times have changed! Mark Davidson, Chief Winemaker at Tamburlaine Organic Wines in the Hunter Valley in NSW , remembers that in Australia in the 1970s wine was not something you talked about much »

 


OUR MONTHLY COMPETITIONS: Getaway to Tasmania, walk in Tuscany, drip with chocolate, sip on wine or catch up on some reading

Forget Tattslotto. You chances of winning something are far, far greater in the VisitVineyards.com monthly competitions! And because our prizes are about wine, food and travel, we know they'll be something you'll enjoy.

This month you could win - yes! - a four-day getaway to Tasmania, a walking tour in Tuscany, a divine massage, fabulous wine to celebrate the start of vintage and more sumptous books. 

 

1. WIN A 4 DAY GETAWAY TO TASMANIA » - staying in style at Rosevears Estate

With flights, hire car, elegant accommodation, a superb lunch at Estelle Restaurant , a wine tasting and vineyard tour all included, all you'll need to do is take some leave and pack your bags! If you'd like to explore the Tamar Valley cool climate wine region with someone special then ENTER HERE before the 31st March »

 

2. Win a guided Walk About Tuscany »

Tuscany is not just world famous for its food and wine but the warmth and authenticity of its people. Win this prize and you could be adding a guided walking tour of Chianti with Gianni to your overseas itinerary for an unforgettable Italian experience. ENTER before 31st March »

 

3. Chocolate with no calories for Easter - can this be true? »

You could be dripping in chocolate and melting under the gentle touch of a Ripple Massage therapist. One lucky VisitVineyards.com subscriber will win a two hour Chocolate Massage package valued at $195. It's drawn at the end of March so enter now for your chance to win this divine experience »

 

4. SUBSCRIBERS' monthly competition - fabulous wine, books and sweet treats »

  •  First prizes: three subscribers will join in the celebrations for the start of vintage in Tasmania's Tamar Valley and Victoria's North East Valleys, with 3 half dozen mixed fine wines from Rosevears Estate and Brown Brothers »
  • Second prizes: two signed copies of Tasmania's Table the sumptous journey through the food, drink and restaurants found in this produce-rich island. This book is already a collector's item, even more when signed.
  • Third prizes: for foodies of the west or those planning to travel, The Food Lovers Guide to Perth,  will bring you to face to face with wonderful producers and retailers inspired by what they do. We have two copies to give away.
  • Fourth prizes:  the sweetest prize - two strawberry packs from Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm  including jams and U-Pick tickets. Surround yourself with the sights and smells of these delicious red fruits - a must visit for strawberry lovers!

Subscribers' competition closes 31st March so don't delay, enter now »

 

5. MEMBERS - your special March prizes »

  • First prizes: four mixed half dozens of magnificent Mudgee wine from Robert Stein including their award-winning riesling and highly rated, full bodied shiraz. Perfect for autumn. 
  • Second prize:  A copy of Wine and Food by chef, wine and tourism expert Kate Lamont. Put the wine first says Kate, and adapt your recipes to suit. How easy is that!? We believe her book will become a classic - the recipes are fabulous, too.
  • Third prizes: Wolf Blass - Behind the Bow Tie celebrates 75 years of the life of one of the most influential characters in the modern Australian wine industry (2 copies to win). Ray Jordan's extensive knowledge of Western Australian wines is captured in an easy to read, very well produced book - Ray Jordan's 2010 WA Wine Guide (1 copy to win).
  •  Fourth prizes: (2 copies to win): get the good oil with A Guide to Australian and New Zealand Olive Oils - never be put off or confused by the myriad of olive oils on the shop shelf again. 

Members' competition closes 31st March, please enter here »

 

APRIL COMPETITIONS  Don't be an April fool - remember to check VisitVineyards.com on the 1st (after midday, of course!) when there'll be yet more superb wine, food, travel and book prizes available. Ms M Walsh of Sydney, the very happy winner of our February Tutti a Tavola competition, will be fulfilling her own lifelong dream when she cooks with the Tuscan Mammas. We'll have more very special prizes in the coming months, so stay tuned.

 ARE YOU A WINNER IN OUR FEBRUARY COMPETITIONS?

Subscribers and Members, don't forget to check to see if you won the superb Angullong or Delatite wines, or other great prizes - we had a lot in February to give away!  If you find your name there, please email us with your postal address and your prize will be on your doorstep in no time. We just tried the Angullong verdelho and found it a sensation - and great value at A$15 a bottle! - and their pinot gris is a good drop, too. James Halliday recently said on Twitter that he had never bought a bottle of pinot gris - well, perhaps he hasn't tried Angullong.

Thanks for your very creative suggestions for the best wine to drink whilst listing to Bohemian Rhapsody - the winner of V/Line tickets and passes to see Queen - the Unseen Archive, was Mr D Toma with his suggestion of pinot noir 'because Freddy Mercury was light and dark, delicate and exuberant'. We couldn't agree more!

Just a note for some survey respondents  - none of the above producers or authors pay, bribe or otherwise cajole us to be featured on our website or in this newsletter - we try to pick out what we consider the best and most interesting from what comes our way or that we research ourselves. VisitVineyards.com is totally independent, and any advertisements are always marked as such.

However we can't consider or feature what we don't know about, are able to visit or are sent, so if your favourite wine, winery, event, accommodation or regional restaurant (or even a region) is not here, then perhaps you should let them know and ask them to get in touch! They can email us on promotions@visitvineyards.com  

 

 


FOOD: Fresh, real and the very best

Tasmania's Table by food author Paul County is a sumptuous publication that quickly hit number one on Tasmania's bestseller lists. It's not hard to see why. With elegant and evocative photography by Nick Osborne, even if you are only a half-interested food lover you will be dreaming of a trip to Tasmania the moment you open it. Explore the bounty of Australia's island State; PLUS you can buy it at a special subscribers-only price »

How many times have you bitten into a store-bought peach or apricot and been disappointed by the bland flavour? Well you won't find such fruit - or any other tired and boring groceries, fish or cakes - in this treasure trove of Western Australia's culinary cornucopia, Perth. This is the sort of book every large city in Australia needs.  The Food Lovers' Guide to Perth by Julie Mews and Lisa Hummel-Robson »

At an altitude of 500 to 600 metres in the Chianti hills of Tuscany in Italy, Muricciaglia is located in the heart of an area long esteemed for the quality of its grapevines and olive oil. An invitation to pick olives and make olive oil was therefore too good to pass up for a VisitVineyards.com staff member. From picking the olives to tasting the pressed oil it was a journey of discovery, delight and surprise - take it yourself »

Want to know more about cheese? Passionate about regional and seasonal Australian produce, cheese judge and educator Helen Waterworth tells how the cheese industry has changed and what a judge looks for in a winning cheese »

Confused about chocolate? Get in early this Easter and find out what the different percentages of cacao mean for the taste and how you cook with it, from Spanish chocolate master Ramon Morato »

Can't cook? No time? Working too hard, or raising a family, and missed the decade's food revolution? Then Lyndey Milan: The Best Collection might be just what you need with fast, fabulous food from the noughties . It's a happy book and sure to get your creative juices flowing. Check it out here »

 

A FOODIE'S ADVENTURE ITINERARY

Enjoy fresh air and adventure with your local food and wine? Bruny Island in Southern Tasmania offers you the lot: an award-winning eco-cruise with Bruny Island Cruises , tasty treats from the Cheese Company, fresh oysters, Berry Farm creations and of course wine. Discover an island that's only small on the outside » 

 


MEMBERS - browse our pick of exclusive offers this autumn

Not a Member yet? As a VisitVineyards.com Member you’ll enjoy 12 months' unlimited access* to 260 (and growing) exclusive benefits, experiences, offers and savings at wineries, restaurants, accommodation providers and more, across Australia and beyond. For $99 p.a. ($169 per couple) - with special rates for RACV Club and Wine Society members (email us to enquire). *You can use your card as many times as you like.

A VisitVineyards.com Membership can pay for itself in your purchase or first weekend away, and is the best value and most fun investment you’ll make all year »

 


EVENTS: Food and wine events around Australia over March and Easter

The great Australian summer is nearly over, but the wine, food and fun has barely begun.... Enjoy the last of the sunshine as well as the Easter break by heading outdoors to some great food and wine events. Don't miss the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, in full swing from 12th-23rd March, with hundreds of events in Melbourne and around Victoria. It's the largest celebration of its kind in the world!

Other events include:

  • NSW: Head to Orange FOOD Week, 9th-18th April, to celebrate the region's produce, producers and food providers in a truly regional food experience. Over 60 events that allow you to travel on a journey literally from farm gate to plate.
  • Join the Hunter Valley wine family for an unforgettable weekend of simply sensational Hunter Valley Semillon lunches, dinners and tastings. Held over three days and including more than 20 events the Hunter Valley Semillon and Seafood Festival is on 16th-18th April.
  • NT: Join in the excitement of horse racing in the heart of Central Australia with the Alice Springs Cup Carnival, a program of five race days over a four week period starting on the 10th April.
  • QUEENSLAND: High quality cultural performers come from all over Australia along with local talent for the Fraser Coast Cultural Festival on the 28th March. Entertainment, craft and international food stalls as well as a parade.
  • SOUTH AUSTRALIA: It's that time of the year again - the grapes are off the vines, the vintage has begun, it's time for the Harvest Festival. A feast of fun, food, wine and entertainment for the whole family. Riverland Harvest Festival and Great Grape Stomp - 26th March »
  • Get ready for the Adelaide Food, Wine and Cooking Show on 24th-26th April. Now in its sixth year, this is one of Adelaide's favourite lifestyle events where thousands of visitors come to tempt their tastebuds on a huge variety of food and wine products, plus experience free cooking demos by celebrity chefs.

If you are an event organiser and your event is not listed, no matter how large or small - and in NZ too - please email us details asap, but preferably 2-3 months prior. We've had requests from overseas subscribers wanting event info up to 2 years in advance, so they can plan their trips down under - and believe us, we'd love to be able to provide it - but we are getting a little tired of being emailed on a Tuesday or Wednesday asking us to list an event for the next weekend! If you want to attract visitors (and their money) beyond your own mailing list, town or region, give us and them some more notice, please - they can only attend if they know about it. Thousands read this.

 

Have you found a great event to attend? Don't forget you can find (and book) places to stay nearby in our accommodation section - many are hidden gems not on Wotif or large booking sites »

 


SAVE: discounts and special offers - a thank you to our subscribers

To thank you, our 25,000+ valued VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive subscribers, we're working to bring you more special offers on some of the great wine, food and travel products we've found - here's a taste:

We're always on the lookout for more special offers for our subscribers - email us your suggestions »
 

 

 

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

To tweet or not to tweet? That is the question...

According to our survey results so far, half of you love to share your lives on facebook, to tweet or network with your peers on LinkedIn - especially some winemakers out there - the other half can't bear the thought and would prefer to be out tasting wine! Life was once to short to stuff mushrooms, now (for some) it's too short to read tweets. Yes, tweeps (that's those who tweet) and peeps (that's people who don't), it's a big divide, and somewhat surprisingly it's not all based on age. We'll bring you some more Gen X and Y vs BB findings next month.

Meanwhile, if you're Irish enjoy St Patrick's Day, and if you're a tweep we post occasional updates and RTs (retweets, folks - i.e. passing on select goss and news) from winemakers and foodies - that is when they're talking about wine and food happenings, not just the weather or what they had for breakfast. If you're a tweep, see www.twitter.com/visitvineyards.com, or join our group on facebook to keep up with happenings between now and your next newsletter.

And winemakers , please continue to send us your vintage news, by tweet or email. We love to hear from you.

 

A safe and happy Easter to all, from

Robyn Lewis and all the VisitVineyards.com team

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