Scotchman's Hill, Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria, Australia.

 

September is an exciting month at VisitVineyards.com because we’re launching our membership section and a whole case of great new features for our wine and food-loving readers.

If you’ve been a subscriber to VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive for a while you’ll have noticed the massive changes taking place on the sites over the last few months. Well, a facelift and fresh new content aren’t the only things we’ve been working on.

From September 5th, that’s this Friday, we open our cellar doors and invite you, as a loyal subscriber, to become a Foundation Member of VisitVineyards.com at the special introductory price of only A$49 for an entire year of benefits (price valid to end Feb 2009). This exclusive offer gives you access to:

  • Over 100 exclusive offers from our partners (wineries, restaurants, provedores, accommodation and more), which range from benefits and value-adds at the cellar door right through to special barrel tastings and exclusive tutored tastings; accommodation benefits; great deals and special extras at some pretty fabulous restaurants, golf courses and more; check them out here
  • A membership card to take with you when you’re touring wine and food regions to identify yourself as a VisitVineyards.com Foundation Member;
  • Tasting notes – if you want the inside on the best new release wines in the country then check out the tasting notes for the latest vintage release, compliments of the boys at Taste Food and Wine 2009, Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer. Their new book is released in October and we’ll start a fortnightly tasting column then too;
  • Members-only exclusive content – our writers have been busy hunting out some great articles, winemaker interviews and touring itineraries for our members, and the offers from partner companies make these tours very sweet;
  • Monthly members-only competitions with some fabulous prizes – starting in September with a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem 1993, valued at A$650. Read more about this and our other collectable prizes below.

So don’t be shy – find out more about the VisitVineyards.com membership program and join now for a year of wine and food travelling pleasure.

If you haven't yet logged into our new site using your username and password, now is the time, so you can access your subscribers-only recommendations and reviews, and if you would like to join as a Foundation Member. Simply go to VisitVineyards.com and enter your username and password in the box on the RHS (your username may be your e-mail address). You can retrieve your password here, or if you have any difficulties please e-mail us and we will be pleased to assist you.

Of course, there’s a lot of wine and dine going on during September, and some great new features and competitions for you:

Quick Links:

VisitVineyards.com
Membership:


VisitVineyards.com membership programVisitVineyards.com monthly competition

View over vineyards on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria [copyright Visions of Victoria]

Sunday cruising on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

The first of our wine-tour itineraries around Australia, this tour is designed to fill in a lazy Sunday out of Melbourne. It’s not too taxing and we’ve mixed up a boutique winery, the red soil of Red Hill, a great lunch with a view and some olive tasting. The Peninsula really has it all, and you’ll squeeze in a great sample in this Sunday drive.

Thomas Hardy Cabernet Sauvignon, Hamelin Bay Shiraz, Balnaves Cabernet Sauvignon [copyright Isle of Wine]The Oxford Companion to Italian Food by Gillian Riley [copyright Oxford University Press]

September Subscribers' Competition – win a trio of great Australian reds

As a subscriber in September you could win an outstanding trio of iconic Australian red wines (RRP A$250 plus postage) brought to you by VisitVineyards.com and The Isle of Wine. The trio includes:

  • Balnaves The Tally Cabernet Sauvignon 2004. Recognised as one of the best Australian cabernets and is only produced in years with peak conditions in the vineyard to maintain its reputation as the best of the best.
  • Hamelin Bay Five Ashes Reserve Shiraz 2003 shows a strong sense of terroir, consequently it’s not filtered to deliberately enhance that characteristic. It’s at its drinking peak now, so bottoms up.
  • Thomas Hardy Cabernet Sauvignon 2002. This wine is released each year in honour of Hardy’s founder and is made from the best parcels of premium cabernet sauvignon from Margaret River and McLaren Vale.

Second prize is the foodie's Italian connection - The Oxford Companion to Italian Food by Gillian Riley (RRP A$59.95 plus postage). If you love Italian food then this is the book for you. Third prize is a copy of Grape vs Grain by Charles Bamforth (RRP A$49.95 plus postage), which compares beer to wine. Please refer to our competition terms and conditions.

Get your entry in today. (All subscribers can enter once each month, and it's free.)

1993 Chateau D'Yquem Lur Saluces Sauterne [copyright Image supplied by Isle of Wine][copyright Isle of Wine]

September VisitVineyards.com New Members' Competition

This is something really special! We also commence a regular members-only monthly competition, with some even more fabulous prizes to tempt wine and food lovers. If you become a Foundation Member in September you could win your very own piece of French wine history with this bottle of 1993 Chateau d’Yquem Lur-Saluces Sauternes (valued at A$650 plus postage).

Second and third prizes are a magnum of 1991 Orlando St Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon (RRP A$250 plus postage) and a magnum of 1993 Hardy’s Eileen Hardy Shiraz (RRP A$250 plus postage), both in their original presentation cases.

Read more about these three fabulous wines - worthy of a place in anyone's cellar or to delight your guests at your next dinner party.

Sign up to become a Foundation Member then enter the September draw now. It's worth joining just for the chance to win one of these world-class wines.

[Barossa Valley Vines copyright Winepros]

The New Australian 250 - cool pinot and hot shiraz

In the next set of our exclusive tasting notes from wine diva Jancis Robinson, she enthuses about some classy shiraz from Barossa winemaker, Ben Glaetzer. In fact, Jancis is very excited by their AMON-Ra Unfiltered Shiraz:

“This wine is persuasive on the nose – you cannot resist putting it in your mouth once you have breathed it in. And once it is in your mouth, impossible to spit. This is what I call top-of-the range Australian Shiraz ... a class apart.”

Beijing Dumplings [©Edward Ragg in Beijing]

Yum Yum - matching Chinese food with Australian wine

The Olympics may be over, but Australia is still toasting the success of our campaign in Beijing. And what better way to celebrate than with great food and wine? During the games we enlisted the help of Beijing-based wine consultants Edward Ragg and Fongyee Walker to help us match Chinese cuisine with Australian wines. Their insights will make your Friday night takeaway or Yum Cha sing.

[copyright Great Wine Capitals]

What's on?

Budburst is already here in parts of the country, and September sees many wine and food regions swing into full gear, from Primavera on the Granite Belt to Tasmania Unbottled; check them out in our rapidly-expanding wine and food events section of VisitVineyards.com, which covers the country from east to west.

[Sculpture in the Montalto vineyard, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria][Amour of the Grape]

VisitMorningtonVineyards.com

Also opening this week is VisitMorningtonVineyards.com, our brand-new daughter site dedicated to the beautiful Mornington Peninsula of Victoria, one of the premier cool climate wine regions in the world. If you’re planning to sample the sand, surf, wine and food of this wonderful epicurean region, then start your research project here.

Why not sample the three exclusive VisitVineyards.com member offers for September in the Mornington Peninsula:

  • Amour of the Grape Wine Tours – the VisitVineyards.com Food and Wine Trail. On the first Saturday of each month, you can visit three small boutique cellar doors that either only open once a month or by appointment. Lunch will be at a select local restaurant and your tour will finish at a local gourmet food producer. A minimum of four members required - advance bookings essential. Be the first to experience this exclusive tour. (Remember, you and your party must become VisitVineyards.com members before booking).
  • VisitVineyards.com members who book into one of Duncan White-Roberston's acclaimed culinary courses at stunning George’s Boutique B&B & Culinary Retreat on the Mornington Peninsula will receive a welcome offer.
  • Red Hill Cellars – exclusive VisitVineyards.com picnic basket. Order your tempting seasonal VisitVineyards.com exclusive picnic basket 48 hrs in advance, packed with local produce, European and artisan cheese, smallgoods and Dee's kitchen mezze, and take off for your own gourmet picnic. Available with or without a bottle of Peninsula Wine.
  • And for those of you already planning ahead to October, join fellow VisitVineyards.com members at a special lunch on Sunday 12th at the slow-food restaurant Bittern Cottage where your convivial hosts Noel and Jenny Burrows will treat you to an exclusive menu of local produce. Click on any of the above links to find booking details and remember to quote your membership numbers when you book.

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 and tell us about your greatest wine country experiences. Don’t forget, all subscribers get free access to the wonderful wine review resource that is Winepros Archive. Enjoy them both. We also look forward to welcoming you as a special Foundation Member. As our benefits program expands we are confident that you will get great value and enjoyment from your membership for many years.

Salute!

Robyn Lewis and the VisitVineyards.com team

PS Find out if you were a winner in our August competition here.