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Enjoy a new year of wine and food treats ★ Special Tasmanian feature ★ What's on Great giveaways, exclusive offers and more

Hello,

Happy February and Valentine's Day, everyone. Whether you regard this week as the romantic pinnacle of the year, or (as one of our facebook friends remarked) a pagan festival hijacked by commercialism (!), we hope you enjoy it, and may this, our first newsletter of 2013, make your week even more special.

For whether you're attached or single, we all have people we love in our lives, and the 14th is as good a time as any to tell them. I (Robyn) am celebrating, because as some of you know, in July last year my husband was diagnosed with a blood cancer, lymphoma.

To say that the past seven months have been traumatic for our family is an understatement – but a few days ago we received the fabulous news that his treatment, combined with a great diet of fresh fruit and veggies from our own garden, has been successful. So, it's a big celebration for us on Valentine's Day, for sure!

The other thing we are celebrating is the awesome community spirit that's been in evidence around Australia over our long, hot summer. Whilst it's been fabulous weather in many parts of the country, once again some regions have been hit by bushfires or by floods – and the responses by local communities has been outstanding. Three cheers for the firies, the fundraisers, the social media champions and to all concerned in saving lives and providing assistance.

In support of those impacted by the Tasmanian bushfires, together with Tourism Tasmania we are inviting you to visit Tasmania. Yes, friends, it's time to book that ticket, and get on the plane or ferry and do what you may have dreamed of doing but have perhaps put off....  visit the Island of Surprises! For what's been going on in Tassie for the past few years – especially for wine, food, art and nature lovers – is nothing short of astounding. Be surprised, and delighted!

For wine and food lovers, Tasmania is nothing short of paradise... but hey, I'll let you read on and savour it for yourself. A fabulous taste of Tasmania is coming your way below, with articles by Vue de Monde's Rocco Esposito, sparkling wine expert Curly Haslam-Coates, and more. Enjoy, and remember, you can do the most important thing to assist bushfire recovery – visit Tasmania, soon.

Need I say more? The March weather promises to be amazing....

Special Feature: Tasmania in Autumn – unearth a bunch of delicious memories

Saffire Signature Experience - Schouten Island - Saffire Freycinet - Tourism Tas. & Michael Walters
Pier W4 - Strahan. Tourism Tasmania

Autumn is the perfect time to visit Tasmania – a gourmet paradise with a blossoming gastronomic scene that will tempt, delight and indulge your senses. Tour the island and immerse yourself in a palate of rich autumn colours, the excitement of harvest time and the passion of small producers – there are farmers' markets, vibrant festivals and events dedicated to celebrating island produce, microbreweries and distilleries, farm gates and roadside stalls, stylish vineyards, hands-on culinary experiences, gourmet walking tours, hot-right-now dining experiences, acclaimed cooking schools and more.

It's no secret that Tasmania has a new level of sophistication based around gastronomic, cultural and artistic endeavours, set amongst breathtaking scenery and a rich history which only adds to its charm.

You'll soon see why hard core foodies have migrated south – think Rodney Dunn (Agrarian Kitchen) and Matthew Evans (Gourmet Farmer) – and you'll return home with a bunch of delicious memories and a love of Tasmanian wines. Find out more now »

Ninth Island Vineyard - Tourism Tasmania and Michael Walters
Stanley Seaview Inn - Tourism Tasmania & David Murphy

Wine and drinks – Southern gems, vodka, and lemons and strawberries for summer!

 
We had a great response to Vue de Monde Wine Director Rocco Esposito's article on Spanish wines from the Ribeira Sacra region late last year, so he's back by popular demand!

(You can read more about Rocco's transformation from a young Italian waiter with no English, to roving wine expert here »)
 
Rocco contacted us immediately he heard of the Tasmanian bushfires, wanting to do something to help. We thought you might like to read about some of his considerable experience with Tasmanian wines. So, he gave up some of his holidays and penned 'a pocketful of gems', in which he reminisces about some great Tasmanian wines »
 
We also contacted one of the island state's experts on cool climate sparkling wines, Curly Haslam-Coates, who is now with Josef Chromy Wines, just near Launceston in the state's north.
 
Curly makes discovering Tasmania’s sparkling wine pleasurable and fun with a disarming combination of Dr Who references and a wealth of knowledge from almost two decades of experience in the wine industry. Highly knowledgeable on sparkling wine across the globe, Curly has chosen Tasmania as her new home.
 
You've probably heard of Australia's prestige sparkling wine Arras and its sister label Bay of Fires, Krelinger (also owners of Pipers Brook and Ninth Island wines), Clover Hill and the fabulously rich Radenti sparkling from Freycinet Vineyard,  but here Curly introduces us to three lesser-known producers of Tasmanian sparkling wines »
 
Cocktails are making a big comeback, especially with herbal extracts and other new and suprising flavours – so refreshing in summer! Many include vodka. But far from being a generic spirit, vodka has a long and interesting history learn more here »
 
Feel like making your own liqueur? Limoncello is a traditional Italian lemon liqueur, which can be enjoyed as an aperitif mixed with Champagne or sparkling wine, with tonic water, in a sorbet or simply poured over a bed of crushed ice. Renowned author Tessa Kiros shares a Sicilian limoncello recipe here, or you can simply buy some made in Australia by Ambra Limoncello in Adelaide »
 
A little bit of gold headed north over Bass Strait this year when Rebello Wine's Strawbellini – a pink sparkling wine made from strawberries from Australia's largest strawberry producer, Sunnyridge Estate on the Mornington Peninsula  – took out a gold medal and Best Sparkling in Show at the annual Australian Fruit Wine Show in Hobart »
 
 
For those of you who enjoy the rich, wonderful wines of Margaret River, find out how their 2013 vintage is coming along »
 
 
 More on wine at VisitVineyards.com/wine » 

 

Wine travel is on the rise – tips and itineraries

Darlington Vineyard, East Coast, Tasmania

The secret is finally out: wine travel is the fastest growing area of tourism in Australia at the moment – led by wine and food lovers like you! Margaret River and the Hunter Valley are booming, and below we're sharing a few secrets for you to explore the latest must-visit region: Tasmania.

But how do you find out where to go – and more importantly, what to do when you get there? We share our tips here »

Tasmania's East Coast has more than stunning good looks with its sparkling waters, fresh sea air and uncrowded beaches. For wine lovers, there's plenty to draw you into the cellar doors to sip on premium cool climate wines. Here are some of our favourites »

You could easily spend a week or three on Tassie's East Coast, taking in the Tasman Peninsula, the area around Swansea, Coles Bay with the iconic Wineglass Bay, then Scamander and St Helens and north to the Bay of Fires and Eddystone Point. It's the warmest and driest region of the state, and even in winter the weather can be beautiful. But right now, and in March through to May, it's stunning!
 
But we realise not all of you have that long to spend, so with our friends at Tourism Tasmania we've devised a 4 day itinerary, starting at Hobart airport and departing from Launceston, and mixing wine, walking (optional!) and stunning scenery.... »
 
 
 For more wine travel ideas: VisitVineyards.com/tours » 

 

What's on in wine and food?

10 days on the Island 2013 - A Filetta from Corsica

Continuing on with our Tasmanian theme, the big event coming up is the biennial 10 Days on the Island, where artists (visual, musical, performing) from islands around the world showcase their talents, this year in 10 consecutive towns around the island state.

For ten wonderful days you can travel Tasmania going off the beaten track into the sheds and barns, visiting stately homes, halls, museums and theatres for a wide ranging program that includes theatre, dance, music, visual arts, literature, film and culinary events across the length and breadth of Tasmania »

Meanwhile, excitement is growing in Victoria with the 17 day mega Melbourne Food & Wine Festival just a couple of weeks away (1-17 March). Over the border, cellar doors are unpacking in Adelaide in readiness for their own wine celebrations.

Across in the far south west of WA, glasses are being raised to their fine wines and craft beers this weekend. These and more are just a few picks from our fun wine and food events-packed calendar »

SA: 1000s of the state's favourite wines to taste, all under one roof at the Cellar Door Wine Festival Adelaide – Fri-Sun 22-24 Feb »

Vic: Hedonistic Hiking hosts The Wine Makers' Dinner in the King Valley with guest winemakers from Italy and Australia – Sat 2 Mar »

Tas: 10 Days on the Island: exotic singer song-writer Grace Barbé performs at Josef Chromy in the north and Frogmore Creek (Meadowbank Estate) in the south – 21-22 Mar »

WA: South West Craft Beer Festival: raising a glass to the locally produced world-class beers –  this weekend 16-17 Feb »

Also in WA is Taste Great Southern: take in the delights of vineyards at a range of events around the region – 13 Feb-31 Mar »

NSW: Throughout the country but especially in Sydney we're celebrating Chinese New Year. Welcome in the Year of the Snake with the biggest Dragon Boat races in the southern hemisphere, and lots more. Gong xi fa chai! (or Kung hei fat choy :) 8-24 Feb »

Qld: celebrating the state's newest wine region, South Burnett Wine & Food in the Park is on Sat 9th Mar »

NT: In Darwin, the Parap Village Market is a great place to shop and eat, a favourite among locals and visitors. Every Sat 8am-2 pm »

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

 

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

 

Event organisers and marketers, don't forget you can list your food and wine events on our calendar FREE. Simply go to VisitVineyards.com/MyAccount and enter your event details.

 

Superb wine, delicious dairy and more to win

Bruny Island: Food from the edge of the world

We're talking Tassie this month and next – and it's your chance to enjoy superb cool climate wines, sumptuous cookbooks and more. Victoria's well in the prize mix as well along with some motivation to get out walking. These fantastic prizes are just for you, our loyal subscribers:

Tasmanian wine: from north, south and east come three regional mixed cases representing the best of their regions »

Victorian wine: celebrating the Melbourne Wine & Food Festival, six of the state's most renowned wineries present this fabulous Taste of Victoria mixed dozen. Check it out here! »

Island Harvest: a brand new beautiful book celebrating the distinctive seasons in a Tasmanian kitchen. 3 copies to be won »

Tassie cookbooks: our old favourites and some new ones too – Tasmania's Table, the gorgeous Bruny Island, House of Oysters, or Island Harvestchoose which one you'd like to enjoy! »

Organic Dairy Farmers: remarkable milk from happy cows produces this truly delicious range of cheeses and butter. Do your own taste test with five tasty and very popular gift packs to be won »

V/Line train travel: as part of the Guilt Trip campaign, you could win a family pass for travel to anywhere in Victoria! »

Pursuit of Excellence (DVD): Follow Tetsuya Wakuda's remarkable journey from small boy in Japan to world-renowned chef and global food ambassador for Tasmania. 3 copies to be won »

Best Walks books: get your walking shoes on with these great guides for Geelong, ACT and Brisbane. We have two of each to be won »

Wow, what a great range of prizes! Good luck and don't forget to keep an eye on our winners' page to see if your name appears.

 

 More competitions:VisitVineyards.com/win » 

 

 Are you a winner?Find out now » 

 

STAY in TAS: special accommodation offers

The Nut - Stanley, Tasmania

We hope by now you're tempted to come and try the wonderful wine and food of Tasmania. But maybe you need an extra incentive to make that booking? We asked some of the state's best and most proactive accommodation providers to come up with some special offers to get you across the line, and in doing so, to help to support others in the Tasmanian tourism industry who are recovering from the fires.

Save yourself hundreds of $$ and feel virtuous at the same time!

SOUTH: The perfect places to base yourself for a wine and food experiences in all directions. Think wines, boutique beers, cheese, oysters...

Adventure Bay Retreat on beautiful Bruny Island: two wonderful accommodation offers to choose from,The Lodge for the family and/or group of friends, or The Spa Cottage for the romantic weekend away. Whichver suits your travel plans, there's a special offer for you »

Hotel Collins in the heart of Hobart: one of the city's newest hotels with sylish, quiet comfort for when your daily travels are done. These two offers include special room rates and a welcome gift »

Villa Howden, at the edge of the Huon Valley: luxury boutique hotel accomodation in tranquil surrounds with water views and the perfect base for exploring the lush Huon Valley and its many delights.Enjoy a complimentary night's stay »

The Old Woolstore, Hobart's waterfront on your doorstep: renowned for its warm welcome, great service and good range of comforatble rooms. Ideal base for discovering Hobart and surrounds. Start your hoiliday with this Tassie Indulgence Package » 
 

NORTH: Launceston at the heart of the Tamar Valley with over 30 vineyards to visit, renowed restaurants and the natural setting of The Gorge:

Hotel Charles in Launceston at the heart of the Tamar Valley: the city's newest and most stylish hotel and awarded one of the Top 10 Trendiest Hotels in Australia by TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards 2012. Special rates and a welcome gourmet gift await »

 

NORTH WEST: the state's food bowl for fresh produce with its beautiful rolling hills of brown soil and green lush growth, falling into the coast line.

Horizon Deluxe, Stanley: features remarkable views across the coast and the iconic Nut (and that's just from the huge spa bath!) plus a luxurious base for culinary and wilderness exploration. No excuses with two nights for the price of one »

Stanley Seaview Inn: with similarly remarkable views and close proximity to Stanley and all the NW Coast has to offer, the Inn offers a range of accommodaiton options plus a magnificent 30% discount »

Burnie City Apartments:located in the heart of this now vibrant city with shopping, cafes and restaurants, a lively arts community and fantastic food, the Apartments offer a stellar 30% discount »
 

We'll be adding more enticing offers on VisitVineyards.com in the coming days so keep an eye out for updates »

 

Show you care and get down there!

“I Love Tasmania” image was created for Tasmanian Bushfire Assistance 2013 (c) Anny, annystudio.com

We hope by now we've tempted you to make that booking to come to Tasmania? Sure, we can all donate some money to the Red Cross 2013 Tasmanian Bushfires Appeal – and please do, because Tassie's a little state and can't fund the rebuilding alone – but really the best way you can support the recovery is to come for a visit, soon! (or if you live in Tas, get out and enjoy the fabulous weather :)

As with the Yarra Valley fires four years ago last week, tourism has dropped, and this hurts not only the people who were burnt out, but everyone else too. The Tassie fires were very localised, so there is still plenty to see and do that is totally untouched »

Sadly one vineyard, Yaxley Estate, was almost completely destroyed, but all others are open for business, and as they say in the movies, the show must go on – in this case the nearby Bream Creek Show, on Sat 16th March. It's by far the best country show I've ever attended, from Mareeba southwards, and worth hopping on a plane for just to head out there (1/2 an hour east from Hobart airport), soak up the atmosphere and do your bit to support the locals. We'll be there!

And don't you love the graphic above? It was designed by AnnyStudio.com for use for Tasmanian Bushfire Assistance. So get with the love and get on down to Tassie, or at the very least, make sure you have some Tasmanian wines in your glasses very soon.

Meanwhile, we wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous Chinese New Year, as we celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Snake. New Year is always a festive time full of fun and of course eating, so have a great time, everyone. Gong xi fa chai!

We're busy planning lots of new things on VisitVineyards.com now that my husband is recovered, so stay tuned. And for anyone going through a health (or any other) crisis, stay positive – it's the most important thing you can do.

Have a great February and happy Valentine's Day from Robyn, Kerry, Andrew, Laura and the rest of the VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive team, and see you again on the 26th.

(Check us out here! »)

Missed your last newsletter? (December edition)  Catch up here »
 
 
* Wine samples for review and publication can be sent to
VisitVineyards.com, PO Box 488, North Hobart. Tas. 7002.
Please include price information and tasting notes, and food matching suggestions and recipes if you wish.