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Enjoy Australia's food and wine, and ideas for Easter and Mothers' Day

Plus a limited edition cookbook, great guides and tickets to meet winemakers


Welcome to your April/May newsletter and a big hello to new subscribers and Members of our ever-growing community of wine, food and travel lovers at

I've just returned from a very inspiring Australian Regional Women Leaders' Convention, where over 200 women from all corners of the country and all manner of industries gathered to hear some fantastic speakers, to mingle and have some fun. What an amazing group of women, and what incredible stories they had to tell. And what energy in the room!

Sometimes it's good to step outside your own industry for a while, and one thing was reinforced – wine certainly isn't the only industry in regional Australia that's been doing it tough lately. But most are facing their challanges with a smile, and they have a message for those of you in the cities – please get out and visit our regional areas this year. Yes, the Aussie dollar is high, yes overseas airfares are cheap, but the producers of your food, wine and regional fare and accommodation need your support. The Loire Valley and Hawaii will still be there next year, but some of our own won't be unless we make an effort.

Many are running family businesses, juggling the demands of work and kids, with an extra layer of difficulty caused by distance, internet speeds reminiscent of the early 90s, poor mobile coverage and lack of support services that city people take for granted. Read about some of them below, and consider them when next you buy a bottle of wine, or plan your next short break. We needn't make it any harder.....

In this newsletter you'll find lots of inspiration for things to do for Easter and the holidays around Australia, from Darwin to Hobart, and wine and food to enjoy along the way.

Looking for that special culinary gift for Mothers' Day? We have that covered as well! As a subscriber you can also enter our monthly competitions, and we have some new specials for our Members too, including bonus wine at the Barons of Barossa dinner in April (see below), and exclusive prices for the International Cool Climate Wine Show dinner and public tasting in Mornington in May.

So relax and enjoy, or if you're at work, forward this newsletter to yourself at homediscover the best that the people of regional Australia offer you, and show them you care.

In this edition:

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

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Quick Poll:

Test your knowledge with our Easter-themed quick quiz - the first 4 correct responses wins a Easter chocolate prize pack from one of our favourites, Cocoa Farm Chocolates in Victoria.

In Russia, the most elaborate Easter eggs were created for the Tsar by jeweller…
Louis Tiffany
Peter Carl Fabergé
Ivan Gordeev
Grigori Rasputin

In which country is the flying of kites customary at Easter?
Czech Republic
And can tell us the Easter traditions of the other two countries?

Where does the name Easter come from?
An Anglo-Saxon goddess called Eastre
A saint from the sixth century
An old word for East Star

The tradition of the Easter Bunny, a rabbit who lays colored eggs for children to find Easter morning, began in which European country?

Long ago, the Easter Bunny was called a...
Easter Hare
Easter Rabbit
Spring Chick






  Geelong's food and wine secrets revealed

  SPECIAL FEATURE: Produce to Platter – Geelong and Surrounding Regions

Only one hour’s drive from Melbourne, you can tour a delicious array of food and wine regions. Showcasing these rural delights is mother and daughter team, Jonette George and Daniele Wilton, with their series of books, Produce to Platter.

The areas around the city of Geelong come to life in their latest book, Produce to Platter – Geelong and Surrounding Regions. The book covers local produce, restaurants, cafés and vineyards in the areas of the Bellarine Peninsula, Moorabool Valley, the Surf Coast, the Otways and Geelong’s CBD.

This stunning 328-page digest is the third volume in the Produce to Platter series, following editions on Greater Noosa and the Mornington Peninsula »

Striking photography by Brad Hill captures the essence of each region, filling the book with an indispensible guide of where to visit in each area.

Jonette says, 'The book allows you to experience the best of this region through the eyes of its locals. Vineyards, restaurants, producers and provedores open their doors to give you a glimpse of their individual lifestyles, their passion for food and wine, and their reasons d’être.'

Discover more about this fabulous book including where to purchase »


Win one of 10 copies of Produce to Platter – Geelong and Surrounding Regions this month »

Read our full book review here »




With Easter and Mothers' Day fast approaching, now is the perfect opportunity to pamper someone you love with a special weekend away.

We share some secrets for special places and great getaways that will appeal to all food and wine lovers – and mums of all ages: "6 of the best" weekends, hotels, experiences and more...




  • heart and soul by Graeme Lofts: Australia may be a 'new world' wine region, but that doesn't mean Australian wine regions are all 'new'. There are twelve 'First Families' who together have over 1200 years of winemaking experience; this is their inspiring story of survival and passion »
  • Got to Go Guide – Exploring Wine Country Tasmania by Trudie Michels: Visiting Tasmania to check out MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art? (Yes, it's as spectacular as they say – it easily eclipses Sydney's MCA, and that's just the art collection).

    Or do you live in the island state and want to explore your own backyard? Then this new guidebook will ensure you get the most out of  your wine and food tour of Tasmania »
  • Great Australian Historic Hotels by Barry Stone: A fascinating insight into Australia's greatest old hotels, that tells the stories and takes us inside the buildings, many of which have been reborn »



One of the most exciting wine books to cross our desk last year was Daring pairings by American Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein, which focusses purely on new or emerging grape varieties and matches their wines with recipes from thirty-five of Evan's favourite Chefs.

This month, learn about the grape varieties nebbiolo and gruner veltliner, and find food pairing suggestions and recipes in the FOOD NEWS AND REVIEWS section below.

Our resident expert and world-famous oenologist Ian Hickinbotham tells us about changes and trends in the winemaking industry:





Find the perfect cookbook or culinary gift for Mothers' Day

Yes it's almost that time of year again, but thanks to the team at, buying for mums who love to cook is now a lot easier (with some savings as well)!

Whether mum is a novice in the kitchen or an expert, our selection for Mothers' Day should help any dad or child choose the perfect cookbook or culinary gift to delight mum.

Click here for over 30 culinary Mothers' Day gift suggestions »


Easter means chocolate

Chocolate – the spicy but bitter Mayan 'drink of the Gods' – was first brought to Europe by the Spanish in the 16th century, and soon became a favoured drink of the nobility. Who would have thought that chocolate would look and taste like it does today? »

Watching your health or your waistline? You can make these gluten- and sugar-free raw chocolate magic macaroon eggs instead »



  • It Tastes Better by Kylie Kwong
    Following our recent natural disasters, the question of where our food comes from is higher on people's minds, and not just for fashion or lifestyle reasons.

    Chef Kylie Kwong takes us on a journey of organic food and wine producers around Australia. Meet the growers – including some who were affected by the recent floods – and hear their stories, as they lead us towards a more sustainable food future »
  • Family Italian by John Lanzafame
    Award-winning pizza chef John Lanzafame shares his mother's recipes and gives us the chance to create an authentic Italian food experience at home. Enjoy the essence of Italian family cooking »
  • Summer Cooking
    Prolong the sunshine with food that's enjoyable in the cooler months too. Over 250 easy recipes for any season, so whatever the weather, you're sure to find some inspiration here »



Pairing food with wine has never been easier with Daring pairings by Evan Goldstein as a guide. Excerpts below give us wine and food pairing ideas for two 'alternative' grape varieties, a red and a white, as well as fabulous recipes for the perfect match.


  WIN wine, a limited edition classic cookbook, great guides and tickets to meet winemakers

  • Angullong Wine : Grown on the foothills of an ancient volcano, the grapes reflect the unique terroir of this cool climate region. Get a true taste of Orange with the 2009 verdelho (one of our favourites), shiraz and cabernet merlot. There are six half dozens to be won so enter now »

  • Beechworth Harvest Festival. Meet some of North East Victoria’s renowned winemakers in an intimate wine tasting and education session and learn what makes this region truly unique.

    Presenters in 'The Wine Room' have raided their cellars so you can savour Rutherglen's fabulous topaques (tokays), King Valley prosecco, the 'New' Glenrowan, the Alpine Valley’s aromatic wines and Beechworth’s eclectic chardonnays. Win one of three double passes here »
  • Got to Go Guide – Exploring Wine Country Tasmania by Trudie Michels: all you need for a gourmet Tasmanian tour. No more brochures and maps cluttering up the back of the car, just more room for superb cool climate wines and fresh produce purchases!  Five copies to be won here »
  • Join an exclusive group in the culinary world and become an owner of The New Renaissance of Italian Fusion Cuisine 1.0 by European celebrity chef Gianfranco Chiarini.

    If you are a chef, or if you relish the world of food, appreciate the art of presentation and love to immerse yourself in a world of flavours, colours and textures then this world-class book is for you.

    Valued at almost $300, we have the only free copy available worldwide. This is your last chance to enjoy your own limited-edition copy –  entries close 30 April »
  • Exclusive MEMBERS-ONLY PRIZES: Welcome to our new Members, and hello again to our old. We have reserved some wonderful prizes just for you.

    Wines from Shaw Vineyard Estate and Best's , wine books – Heart and Soul by Graeme Lofts and Australian Wine Vintages 2011 by Rob Geddes – plus smart wine coolers. Simply click here to enter for your exclusive gifts »
  • Produce to Platter – Geelong and surrounding regions by Jonette George and Daniele Wilton. This Victorian region close to Melbourne is home to a treasure trove of gourmet delights and distinctive wines, all showcased in this glorious hardcover book.

    Includes delicious recipes from local restaurants focusing on seasonal fresh produce, all with easy instructions and mouth-watering photographs to inspire the chef and the taster in all of us. Enter now and you could win one of ten copies »
  • Daring Pairings by Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein: match dishes to new and emerging wine varieties with skill and flair. Learn more about the characteristics of over 20 emerging grape varieties, their food matches, and then serve up delicious meals to match the wines using a recipe from one of Evan’s favourite chefs.

    This month we’re featuring grüner veltliner with excerpts from the book but if you’d like to discover more, then enter now to win our last copy »


Don't forget you can enjoy these subscriber offers any time of the year:

Congratulations to our many winners in February and March, especially the very excited recipient of the fabulous five-day trip to Margaret River.

Prize winners from March are listed on the winners' page so please don't think you'll never win because every month lots of people, just like you, do! 

Check the page and let us know if your name is on the winners' list to claim your prize.


 RACV Members – go visit the family this Easter or Mothers' Day, and save up to 20 per cent along the way

Many of Australia’s regional wine and food businesses are family affairs with two, three or more generations working closely together to produce great regional fare.

Pfeiffer Wines, in the renowned Rutherglen wine region is one such family business, with second generation winemaker Jen Pfeiffer taking over the winemaking reins from her father Chris.

There’s always something happening at Pfeiffer Wines whether it be their annual Pfeiffer Pfrolic, regular behind-the-scenes tours and barrel tastings or the chance to feed the local turtles in the creek. Read more about this energetic and welcoming family and their wines here »

This Easter, Mothers' Day and autumn, as you are out and about enjoying the crisp weather and falling leaves, we invite you to drop into some of regional Victoria’s fine family businesses and save up to 20 per cent on your purchases along the way:



Go to our new joint website at for the full list of over 50 great discount offers across regional Victoria available to all RACV* members.

* Reciprocal rights exist for members of other motoring organisations within Australia and internationally. So if you're a current member or policy holder of NRMA, RAA, RACT, RANZ, AAA etc, you qualify for all these discounts too!


Do you know a great winery, restaurant or food maker? Is there a business you'd like to see in this program (perhaps your own), or in another state, that you think should join? If so, please email Sara, our friendly Victorian Alliance Manager with your suggestions. Thank you.


Explore Tasmania’s wine regions and save when you wine, dine and sleep

If you're a member of RACT or any state or international motoring organisation*, you not only save on great Tasmanian wine and food, but on boutique accommodation as well.

Culinary travelling and delving into our wine regions can be tiring – all that sipping of fine cool climate wine, savouring fresh, local produce and enjoying a lively conversation with the makers. It’s perfect to then relax and unwind in accommodation that’s close by and offering a warm welcome.

The River House, a boutique riverfront B&B, is perfectly positioned for touring the Tamar Valley and North East vineyards.

Offering stylish room options with panoramic river views and sweeping gardens, The River House is an ideal base or somewhere tranquil to simply to rest, relax and regenerate. Your friendly hosts, Carl and Helen, invite you to book direct and save (we recommend a coffee on the verandah – it’s very peaceful!)


If sampling seafood straight from the waters and tasting wines on Tasmania’s East Coast appeals, then book into Bed in the Treetops, a luxurious hideaway at Bay of Fires, to complete the experience.

Relax on the deck and drink in the spectacular views from Binalong Bay to St Helens, and perhaps a glass of local wine and some fresh crayfish! Book direct to save »

For a taste of history amongst the lush, green hills of North West Tasmania, stay and dine and save at the Old Cable Station in Stanley. From here you can breathe the cleanest air in the world, explore the magnificent Tarkine or simply enjoy the freshest seafood from the local wharf and produce grown on land around you in the Gourmet Traveller listed restaurant.

All accommodation is RACT star rated.


Enjoy our beautiful Tasmanian autumn days, with the leaves on the vines changing colour, by getting out and about. You can save as you go at some of these fabulous spas, makers and tours:

Check out the full list of exclusive discounts at our joint website »


If your favourite Tasmanian winery, vineyard, food producer, accommodation or restaurant is not listed, or for information for your own business, please email our friendly Alliance Manager, Kerry Scambler.

* Reciprocal rights exist for members of other motoring organisations within Australia and internationally. If you're a current member or policy holder of NRMA, RAA, RACV, RANZ, AAA etc, you qualify for all these discounts too! So visit Tasmania this autumn and save.


  EVENTS: Food and wine events around Australia this autumn

Summer has faded and with the cooler weather upon us, now is the time to start planning autumnal vineyard visits to restock the cellar as well as enjoy log fires, good food and great wines.

Check out our events below for ideas and things to do as Easter is fast approaching as well as Mother's Day in May and then before we know it, the June long weekend. There's plenty on so start planning and enjoy autumn wine, food and fun!


Victoria: Held on the Mornington Peninsula and promoting the grape varieties and wine styles of cool climate regions, this wine show includes a public tasting, an awards presentation dinner and the cool climate classic lunch – International Cool Climate Wine Show, Mornington, 24-27 May » Members receive a generous discount on the awards dinner and public wine tasting. Click here for more information »


Meet the winemakers of the Bendigo region, sample their wines and enjoy live music at the Bendigo Winemakers' Festival, Castlemaine, 24 April »

Celebrate all that is fresh and fabulous in the Grampians Pyrenees wine region at the Grape Escape Food and Wine Festival, Halls Gap, 30 April-1 May »

Join the passionate food and wine producers of North East Victoria for a weekend of market stalls, themed dinners, a culinary and wine theatre, winery excursions and much more – Harvest Celebration in Beechworth, 13-15 May »


ACT: Discover Canberra's heritage wonders during the beautiful autumn. It's retro and vintage. It's about past decades and the future. Canberra and Region Heritage Festival, various locations, 9-24 April »


NSW: Celebrate the Orange region produce, producers and food providers with locals and visitors alike in a truly regional food experience at Orange Food Week, various locations, 8-17 April.

Discover Mudgee's superb wines along with delicious tastes of fresh local produce at Go Grazing Mudgee, 23 April »

NT: Showcasing the wonderful outdoor lifestyle in the Top End and what we can do to contribute to an environmentally friendly and sustainable future – Tropical Garden Spectacular and Top End Sustainable Living Festival, Darwin, 4-5 June »

Qld: Converge on the magical setting of Noosa on Queensland's Sunshine Coast to taste, talk, debate, dine and indulge over 3 days of amazing food events at the Noosa Food and Wine Festival, 13-15 May »

SA: On Easter Saturday and Sunday in Tanunda, Barossa Valley, you will have the opportunity to taste and/or purchase almost thirty wines – Taste McLaren Vale, Barossa and Eden Valley Wines, Tanunda, 23-24 April »

This marks the start of the biennial Barossa Harvest Festival, including a wide range of wine and food events, many for families. Come and dicover the unique culture of the Barossa, 23 April-1 May »

WA: Ignite your senses and warm your mind this winter at the City of Perth Winter Arts Season, various locations around Perth, 1 June to 31 August »


Tas: Enjoy catching and cooking your own wild food? Come and see thousands of wild brown trout on their annual spawning run during this unique piece of Tasmania's angling heritage – the Trout Weekend at Liawenee, Great Lake, 21-22 May »

Also in May don't miss Savour Tasmania, the third annual epicurean festival celebrating Tasmania's produce expressed by cutting edge international and local chefs and food personalities. This year's international chef lineup includes:

  • Margot Janse from South Africa,
  • Martin Bentzen and Anders Selmer from Copenhagen,
  • Marco Canora from New York and
  • Shaun Rankin from the Channel Islands.

Savour Tasmania, various locations around Hobart, 25-29 May.  This event also includes the Tasmanian Red Wine Weekend held in the Salamanca Arts Centre, 28-29 May.


There are hundreds more wine and food events and festivals on every month around the country so check out our national wine and food events calendar. We list events as many months ahead as we can »

(And if you are holding one yourself, please make sure you list it on MyAccount asap, so that our site visitors can see it – it's free and very easy to DIY.)


  MEMBERS: Some exclusive treats just for you

Being a Member is about getting the very most from your wine, food and travels. As Australia's leading online guide, we select the best experiences, and bring them to you at a very special price, or for free.

If you want to get behind the scenes, be invited to the barrel room for exclusive tastings, join like-minded people at lunches or cooking classes, or enjoy the best table in the vineyard restaurant, then Membership is for you.

This month we have three special Members-only offers for you:

As a first this year the ICCWS together with our good friends at Mornington Peninsula Gourmet are bringing you a selection of 10 'Classic Lunches' on the 27th May, if you can't make the awards dinner that evening, or if you want to  make a whole day of it.

Check out the locations, the menus and where to book here »

THANK YOU from flood and cyclone victims in Queensland and Victoria

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who purchased tickets, and/or donated wine, money, other prizes or services in the recent Wine Trade Flood and Cyclone Relief Raffle, jointly organised by Tyson Stelzer and his team in Brisbane, and by the team here at, with Kirstie Bedford of KDJM Communications handling the PR free of charge.

Everyone worked incredibly hard, and we are pleased to announce that a total sum of A$277,000 was raised: 70% going to the Queensland Premier's Disaster Relief Fund (A$194,000), and 30% to the Victorian Red Cross (A$83,000). The observant amongst you may have noticed that your newsletter is a day later than normal, the reason being we have just been finalising the raffle accounts (all 30 odd pages of them!) and making the bank deposits today.

Congratulations also to those of you who won prizes; you should be receiving them about now. We hope you enjoy them all very much. Winners came from all States and overseas, and we were particularly delighted that first prize winner was from Brisbane – some good news for Queensland.

However, as many of you would know, there are still people who are yet to be able to return to their homes, and parts of rural Victoria remain underwater. So, as we head into Easter, ANZAC Day and some holiday fun time, please don't forget them, nor our NZ and Japanese friends who have also suffered so badly.


Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable Easter and Mothers' Day, and happy holidays.

Robyn Lewis and all the team at


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