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Wine and food news and reviews

Steve Knight

A new wine voice, and insights from Queensland:

We welcome a fresh, forthright voice to the VisitVineyards.com team:  introducing wine lover and teacher, Steve Knight of Brisbane. We can guarantee that he'll tell it as it is, and that wine is a never boring story in Steve's experienced hands »

Michael and Pat Berry own Kingsley Grove Estate in Qld, but for many years ran parallel universes – a vineyard and an engineering business in SE Asia to fund it! Michael shares their story »

A not-so-rosy review:

If you've ever wondered if we only publish reviews of books we like/love, well here's proof we're quite independent! The really bad ones we don't publish, but some are sort of OK.....and sort of not.

When her great-grandmother passed away, Rebecca Sullivan realised a wealth of knowledge was disappearing, so she set to change that trend in Like Grandma Used to Make.  Despite having some good tips, sadly, my granny would not have been impressed »

Wine news:

In our recent survey there were calls for more on sweet/dessert wines so watch for the winners at the 2013 Sweet Wine Challenge »

The fabulous reds from Coonawarra have been travelling the land and sharing their taste in their annual roadshow for 10 years now »

Getting into cider? You need to try this one: Cheeky Rascal Cider takes out top award four years running »

 More on wine at VisitVineyards.com/wine » 


 More on food at VisitVineyards.com/food » 


Wine and food travel

100 year old barrels at Seppeltsfield

If you're planning a trip to the Barossa or Queensland soon or down to Tassie this summer, here are some travel tips for wine and cider lovers:

Looking for somewhere different to celebrate a birthday? Head to the Barossa and book into Seppeltsfield's new 'Taste Your Birth Year' tour! Sip on vintage tawny as old as you are from the barrel. Sounds like fun! Just one of the four new Seppeltsfield tours »

If alternative wines are your thing then the Granite Belt's StrangeBirds Wine Trail is a must-do. Nine varieties have just been added making a total of 25 different wines to tempt you »

Willie Smith's Organic Cider (delicious by the way!) is re-developing the old Apple Museum in Tasmania's Huon Valley. The new centre will offer historical exhibitions, displays, providore and of course the all important cider tasting bar. Open for visitors this summer »

Award winners to visit:

Lowe Wines in Mudgee wins Inland NSW Tourism Award »

Boynton's Feathertop is Alpine Valley's star for James Halliday »

For more wine and culinary travel ideas click here: VisitVineyards.com/tours » 


Wine and food events around Australia & NZ

Mudgee wine and food fair at Balmoral beach, NSW

What a great mix of events on around the country, from classes to wine theatre, winter celebrations and of course, the regular and much loved farmers' markets.

If you're in Melbourne this week and want to taste the best of the best Victorian wines in one location, hop down to Fed Square on 7th and 8th from 4:30 to 8:30pm for the Fed Square Victorian Wine Awards – a fun and educational night for only $25 » 

Around the country, take your pick:

Mudgee (NSW): Lowe Wine School with David Lowe – 16 Aug »

Balmoral Beach (Sydney): Mudgee Wine & Food Fair – 11 Aug »

Yarra Valley (Vic): quirky theatre, 'Blind Tasting', De Bortoli – 24 Aug »

Gisborne South (Vic): Don't miss Gorborne Peak Winey and Eco-Cottages'  fabulous Winter Indulgence Dinner – 24 Aug »

Canberra (ACT): Fireside Festival, hearty food &wine – 1-31 Aug »

Brisbane (Qld): Qld Wine Awards Presentation Dinner – 4 Sep »

Langhorne Creek (SA): Cellar Treasures Weekend – 10-11 Aug »

Darwin (NT): the Top End's Premier Festival – 8-25 Aug »

Launceston (Tas): award-winning* Harvest Market every Saturday »

Wellington (NZ):  Wellington on  plate – 9-25 Aug »

* Harvest Market won 'Outstanding Farmers Market' in the recent ABC delicious awards - congratulations!

STOP PRESS: Toast to the Coast Super Early Bird tickets just release for sale in August only save $15 per person »

Find more events near you: VisitVineyards.com/calendar » 


 Read more about what's on: VisitVineyards.com/events » 


Event organisers and marketers (including those in New Zealand!), quickly and easily list your food and wine events in our calendar for FREE. To reach our subscribers, simply go to VisitVineyards.com/MyLogin and enter your event details.


WIN festival packages, great wines and books

We love sharing these great wine and food prizes with you and creating happy winners!

DRAWN NEXT WEEK – this is your last chance to win our Real Food Festival package worth $770! Two nights' accommodation at Monvtille Country Cabins, Festival tickets plus a dining voucher at Wild Rocket @ Misty's, enter now »

Topper's Mountain produces some fabulous alternative wine syles so make sure you're in the draw to win one of six mixed half cases »

Win a winesave® unit. We love these and use them on all our wines. Keeps opened wines perfectly, matched with a bottle of delicious Yabby Lake Pinot Noir, three sets on offer »

Connect with Melbourne's famous food family in Toscano's Family Table. History, recipes and advice combined. Two copies to be won »

For any lover of beer and/or history, Breweries of Australia is a must-have book. Comprehensive and entertaining. Win one of two copies »

Planning a trip to the sunshine state? Add plenty of food and wine to your adventure with The Queensland Food and Wine Touring Atlas »

Oh dear, entries have come in for the Real Food festival competition that simply won't be in the draw. Please folks, you must include your phone number. Check your details now and if you want to re-enter, email Kerry@VisitVineyards.com quickly! 

More great giveaways: VisitVineyards.com/win » 


  Are you a winner? Find out now » 


Welcome smiles and more in 3 States for auto club members

We know the welcome will be warm and the smile will be wide for all visitors but for Auto club members*, you'll receive that something extra from these wineries:

Moores Hill, Tas: wines of depth and clarity, save 10% »

Pinot Shop, Tas: so many choices! 10% or 15% discount »

Fowles, Vic: This is a great experience. Taste wine crafted to match wild meat, and also save 15% »

Best's Wine, Vic: a truly memorable place to visit plus save 10% »

Robert Channon, Qld: rated highly by Mr Halliday save 10% »

Sirromet, Qld: just out of Brisbane, take a Tour and Tasting of the Winery and  save 50% »

* ie RACV, RACT, RACQ, RAA, RAWA or NRMA, and all AAA members visiting from overseas.

 Find more at: RACT.VisitVineyards.com/save » 


 50 more places to save at: RACV.VisitVineyards.com/save » 


 Find out more: RACQ.VisitVineyards.com/save » 


Your exclusive subscriber offers

Thinking travelling to far off places? We have some special offers just for you:

Save up to $300 on these culinary tours:

The delights of Tuscany and Piemonte await you this September. Join Peter Scudamore-Smith MW and be guided through this spectacular sensory indulgence »

Or savour the traditional, reincarnated and modernised wines of six provinces in Sicily naturally matched with exceptional dining experiences »

It feels so good to get outdoors, short or long walks or just hanging around that special place, but if cooking blemishes your camping experience, take some tips from the excellent ebook Food to Go by Frank and Sue Wall. You can save 25% on the e-book »

Enjoy many more:VisitVineyards.com/subscriber-offers »


Staycationing anyone?

Rose and Leanne tasting at Boyntons Feathertop winery

I learnt a new word on the weekend: staycation. The art of 'holidaying at home'. In an article published by the Wall Street Journal, the author Lee Siegel (a grumpy 'old' man? or a realist?) espoused such virtues as enjoying Machu Picchu on TV in your living room and driving to your local South American restaurant, instead of actually going there and facing the rigours of travel, from babies on aeroplanes to Bombay belly.

It had me laughing, but also asking are we getting too spoilt? Is this just a 'first world problem'? Whatever, I'm betting he's not a wine lover, because to me, not much beats getting out into the wine regions to taste wines at the source, seeing the places they are made and get the feel of the country, and meeting the wine makers in person.

And we're so lucky in Australia because you don't have to travel overseas to do it –  we have over 60 wine regions and 4000+ wine producers, many within a day's trip from our capital cities. 

Per capita that's way more than the USA, and so many of our wines are simply fabulous. We've tasted two in the last week alone that knocked the socks off a bottle of DRC (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti) that we also enjoyed recently – one of Australia's problems seems to be that we don't put enough value what we have, and enjoy what's right here, at 1/10th the price, or even less.

Thoughts, anyone? Let us know on our facebook page, or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

Have a fabulous month and all the best in wine and life from Robyn, Kerry, Andrew, Laura and the VV team.

Missed your last newsletter?  Read it online here
(July) »