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Wine and food make the world go round and it sure has been spinning during September. There are so many exciting things happening on VisitVineyards.com we can’t fit them all into one newsletter – better that you go and discover them for yourself. You’ll find amazing wine events, great tasting notes and winemaker interviews, delicious treats for our food fanatics and, of course, our bumper new Members’ section containing many fantastic offers and experiences to make tasting and touring wine and food regions the best holiday you can imagine.

I would also like to extend a special welcome to our new Members - thank you for joining us, and look out for your special treats (and to see who won the Yquem) below.

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VisitVineyards.com membership programVisitVineyards.com monthly competition

Vineyards in the Hunter Valley.Taste Food and Wine 2008: Jukes and Stelzer

Boutique Hunter Valley

Just a few hours up the road from Sydney and you’re in Australia’s oldest wine region. Get away from the crowds and go for Broke, a little town nestled at the foothills of the Brokenback Range with a unique collection of boutique wine and food experiences.

There's also heaps more tastes and travels in our wine section.

Taste Food and Wine 2009 – we loved the 2008 edition of this lively guide to the best wines in Australia and New Zealand so much that it’s become a regular column on VisitVineyards.com. We’re sure you’ll love the new release, too, which reviews the best of the latest vintage. From A$6.50 to $295 per bottle, find out what wines you should be drinking and collecting now.

If you are quick, the first 100 VisitVineyards.com subscribers to upgrade and become Members during October will receive a complimentary copy of Taste Food and Wine 2009 (RRP A$19.95) – we’ll post you a copy wherever you live. It’s only A$49 to join for a whole year of benefits (A$59 if you live overseas), so grab yourself a bargain and become a VisitVineyards.com Member now. And if you join before 13th October, you might also secure yourself a seat at a fabulous Burgundy dinner in Melbourne on 27th October (more details below).

Down to Earth Burgundy, Tyson StelzerItalian Local, Tobie Puttock

Win a European experience

The menu at The European will put you in a quandary. Everything sounds delicious, and will be if you can decide! This bustling city bistro is great any time of the day, and its rooftop garden is a must for warm spring evenings. The wine list is exclusively European, so it’s worth asking for advice from their sommelier for some new international selections. As a subscriber you can enter to win a dinner for two valued at A$150. Or you could be amongst the first to read Tyson Stelzer’s new book on Burgundy, or go Italian Local with Tobie Puttock. Get your entry in now.

Remember to check the site to see if you won a prize in last month’s competition. Please don’t think ‘I never win anything’ – we had a record number of unclaimed prizes last month, and nearly had to drink the case of beer ourselves - don’t let one of them be yours.

Witchmount Estate Rockbank WineryOcean 8 2007 Pinot NoirOcean 8 Cellars

Urban Wine - Top shiraz from Rockbank

Think great wine can’t come from within city boundaries? Think again (and think of Magill and Grange). "Sold out" are words uttered more often around Witchmount Estate’s cellar door these days thanks to the success of its 2004 shiraz, which earlier this year took out the top gong at the international wine competition known as Syrah du Monde.

Wine Find of the Month
Ever heard of Ocean Eight? Named in honour of the 8th hole at a Cape Schanck golf course, this is what Matt and Tyson had to say about their Pinot Noir 2007: "We tasted all the Kooyongs, Giacondas, PHI, Farr and Bass Phillips and there was something nagging at the back of our brains, and that was to return to Yabby Lake and Ocean Eight because they offered twice the excitement for half the money. Brimming with a fruit compote of mixed berries and red cherries, Ocean Eight Pinot Noir offers more action-packed excitement than Brad Pitt on the big screen.

It’s all mixed berries at the front of the mouth. Give it six months to soften on the finish. Lovely front palate, welcoming red cherry fruit and spice with lovely texture and length. Good length. Impressive".

At RRP A$40 a bottle, we agree with them. The nose is sensational, good mouthfeel and length, extremely flavoursome, rich cherry fruit and none of the burnt characteristics sometimes associated with modern pinot noirs. We gave it 18.5 - and estimate it will cellar 4-5 years (but will be happy to be proven wrong). If you can leave for 6 months it will really come together.

As you're amongst the first to know, get on the phone to Mike on (03) 5989 6471 - he'll let you have half a dozen, while the limited stocks remain. Make up a dozen with their pinot gris or Chablis-style chardonnay.

Steven Snow, Chef

Fishy Byron business

The bookshelves are groaning with cookbooks from cranky celebrity chefs, but a new release from Byron Bay chef Steven Snow is worth adding some extra weight. VisitVineyards.com editor Lou Johnson got chatting with the very happy chef about his beautiful book, the history of his seafood restaurant Fins, and his best kitchen secrets.

Find lots more culinary happenings in our food section here.

Oyster Little Bourke brasserie

Burgundy at Oyster Little Bourke – a special feature

Melbourne restaurant Oyster Little Bourke has teamed up with fine and rare wine specialist Darren Harris from Grand Millesime to present a tasting event for which 12 fortunate lovers of Burgundy will be racing. Enjoy a matched five-course dinner as you journey through the communes of Burgundy and taste 14 wines, including eight Grand Crus, from the spectacular vintage of 2005.

Become a Member now and you may be our guest. We are delighted to offer one of our Members a place at the Oyster table on Monday 27th October, tasting Burgundy’s 2005 outstanding vintage - worth A$525 - courtesy of Frank Wilden and his team. Be very quick! Become a VisitVineyards.com Member before 13 October and you’ll automatically go into the draw on the 14th. Or book direct on (03) 9650 0988.

Find more great wine and food events around the country here.

Bittern CottageRed Hill Vineyard RestaurantEndota Spa

Only the best for our Members

As if Burgundy dinners and the inside info on wine tasting 2009 aren’t enough, VisitVineyards.com’s Membership program launched in September - and it’s quickly becoming the busiest place on the wine web.

Great new offers – our Members have access to a growing list of amazing offers from our wine, food and travel partners. These are a few of our new favourites on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula:

Find out more about VisitVineyards.com Membership here - only A$49 for a year of exclusive benefits

Member’s offers are now mobile! Cut down on brochures and booklets. Find out how you can view, search and book these and more Members' offers on your mobile while you’re out in food and wine country, deciding what to try next.

Author, Jancis RobinsonHot Springs and thermal pools

Member’s October competition ... and a special invitation

Love pinot noir? Want to learn from – and rub shoulders with - the world’s experts? Then write and tell us in 50 words or less why you should join Jancis Robinson MW at the Mornington Peninsula International Pinot celebration in February next year, and one lucky Member could be part of the VisitVineyards.com team. This two-day event sold out within days, and tickets are valued at A$880. For your opportunity to attend, write to us now.

Or if you prefer to chill out and relax prior to next month’s Melbourne Cup, you might win a 'Spa Journey Pass' to your choice of three of the Mornington Peninsula’s luxurious spa resorts instead!

Robyn Lewis, CEO, VisitVineyards.com

Get in touch

We hope you are enjoying the new look VisitVineyards.com, your home for wine, food and travel on the web. Feedback is always welcome – please send your comments to editor@visitvineyards.com or get chatting on the forums, post your queries, and tell us about your greatest food and wine country experiences.

Don't forget to check the site to see if you won the Yquem, the magnums or other great prizes in September.

Good luck and good health!



Robyn Lewis and the VisitVineyards.com team