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Beat the winter blues with winning wines and weekends to enjoy

Quicklink: It's WINter in Australia – we have some July gourmet gifts for you »



Winter has certainly arrived in Australia now; even as far north as Queensland, we''re all feeling the chill. It''s a winter from our childhood – snow, frosts and the best skiing for years.

For those not traipsing around Siena in shorts and tantalising those left behind with photos of The Fat Duck on your facebook pages (you know who you are), winter's a great time for – yes, food and wine!

The fun doesn't stop at home though; there's plenty on around the country, from a whole month at Coonawarra to weekend festivals in Perth, Brisbane, Hobart, the Hunter Valley and more.

So whatever you fancy, we've got lots of wine, food and travel on our July menu – enjoy!


In this edition:

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Perigord Truffles of Tasmania – your chance for culinary black gold!


Not all of us can be pioneers. But that title is awarded to Duncan Garvey, who brought the 'black gold' of the culinary world to Australia. With business partner Peter Cooper, he established Perigord Truffles of Tasmania, and their truffles are now grown by producers in the cooler areas of NSW (near the Snowy Mountains and Central Ranges) and in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria, as well as in Tasmania's Huon Valley.

Black truffles are esteemed for their delicious flavour, and downright sexual fragrance. Until you try one fresh – and I mean, really fresh – nothing prepares you for the experience. Their scent fills the room, and salivary juices are flowing long before the truffle dish hits the table....

June through to August is black truffle season in Australia, and if you are into food, you have to try truffles at least once. Sure, at A$3000 per kg, they are not for everyone, but a 50 g truffle (A$150) will serve up to 6 people at a dinner party, shaved over fresh pasta for a main, or sliced and inserted into scallops for an entree.

You're paying for the truffle experience, not just the truffle. From the moment your truffle is unpacked and the scent hits you, fills the kitchen, then the house, to that moment when it's yours in your mouth... So find one, or five, willing friends and bring it on! Truffles match perfectly with a cool-climate pinot noir or shiraz – need I say more?

Winter won't be boring any more – spice it up with your own black truffles! Learn more from Duncan Garvey about the chef's black gold, and how to buy them online,  here »

Check out two of Duncan's simple recipes, for maximum truffle enjoyment at minimal effort, here »


WIN A BLACK TRUFFLE! Will you be one of six fortunate subscribers to experience a Perigord Truffle of Tasmania, free?

Duncan offers you as a subscriber the exclusive opportunity to win one of his Perigord Truffles of Tasmania, fresh, posted express to your door (anywhere in Australia, sorry everyone else...)

Yes, even in Brisbane or Darwin you can now enjoy this culinary delight. We have 3 to give away in July, and another 3 in early August – enter here for your own piece of black gold before 29th July »


A Perigord Truffles of Tasmania special feature

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WINE AND FOOD TRAILS plus reviews and news


Feeling the need to escape winter and head for sunshine, sandy beaches and blue skies? Winsor Dobbin, our wine and travel writer, has been discovering Far North Queensland's gourmet tablelands and found a few surprises.

If beaches aren't your thing, then he suggests heading to Mudgee in New South Wales for a taste of city life in the country:

  • Mudgee in NSW used to be just another sleepy country town trying to compete with the Hunter and the Barossa with a few vines. Things have changed. Fast forward to 2011 and Mudgee is riding a wine-tourism-led boom »
  • Or do as Brisbanites do in winter, and follow the Strange Bird Trail (of alternative wine varieties) on the frosty Granite Belt »



Alpine Valleys: Heading to the skifields? Delight your senses and tickle your taste buds at Boyntons Feathertop winery





Our resident expert and world-famous oenologist Ian Hickinbotham tells us some things we may not know about wine and winemaking:

For those who prefer a stout or dark ale by the fireside, choose from the Top 100 craft beers in the country in The Critics' Choice: Australia's Best Beers »





FOOD adventures and cookbook reviews


Two fun, healthy takes on eating your vegetables

Whether you're eating more vegetables for your health, the planet, and/or for ethical or other reasons these two books, Veg in by Flip Shelton and Eating for the Seasons by Janella Purcell, will inspire you with lifestyle ideas and delicious recipes.

Veg in is a quick dip, without the philosophy or dietary underpinnings, and Eating for the Seasons is a more in-depth guide to changing your lifestyle and eating habits, as gradually or as radically as you prefer. Read both reviews here »





Recently we asked subscribers to write a review of a favourite cookbook. Here are two runners-up, deserving special mention:


EVENTS: Food and wine events around Australia

The Canberra region is turning up the heat in August for the capital's annual celebration of winter. Sip on exquisite cool climate wines, taste the delicacies from the region, meet local artists with a passion for their craft, or just relax and warm yourself in front of open fires in the company of good friends.

Hosted by 25 venues in and around Canberra, the Fireside Festival runs throughout August »

Celebrate winter with these other events:

SA: A rare opportunity to taste and buy aged wines when the Coonawarra Vignerons dig out some treasures from their cellars – Coonawarra Cellar Dwellers, 1-31 Jul »

NT: Share in the delights of one of Darwin's premier events with three days of competition, entertainment and displays including craft, produce and cooking – Royal Darwin Show, 21-23 Jul »

Tas: In Hobart you can taste the food and wine produced in the Tamar Valley region from more than 20 wine producers and 10 food producers – Taste of the Tamar, 23-24 Jul »

One for your September diary, and a world first: MerroirTerroir. Can you taste the difference between oysters from different regions? Find out in Hobart on 14 Sept, and match oysters with top Tassie wines and music »

Qld: Twenty Mornington Peninsula wineries are heading to Brisbane to showcase their latest releases – for all pinot noir and chardonnay enthusiasts – Mornington Peninsula Vignerons in Brisbane, 25 Jul »

Also in Brisbane, showcasing gourmet regional produce and supporting local producers and farmers – Eat, Learn and Cook at Regional Flavours, 30-31 Jul »

Those planning ahead, mark the Real Food Festival in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast hinterland in your diary: 10-11 Sept. More info and a special treat for subscribers in next month's newsletter!

WA: For lovers of fine food and wine, here's a mouth-watering opportunity to discover the joy of truffles as well as taste a broad range of regional specialty wines – Mundaring Truffle Festival, 30-31 Jul »

Vic: Whether you're a wine buff or just enjoy discovering new wines, you can taste some of Victoria's finest drops at Federation Square in MelbourneAnnual Fed Square Wine Awards Showcase, 3-4 Aug »

NSW: Celebrating all things chocolate, this event in the Hunter Valley is an indulgent escape everyone deserves once in a while – Hunter Valley Gardens Chocolate Festival, 6-7 Aug »


There are hundreds more wine and food events and festivals on every month around the country in's national wine and food events calendar »


(If you are holding an event yourself, please make sure you list it on so that visitors can see it – it's free and very easy to DIY. That's if you want more people to attend, of course.

Another PR hint – inviting one of our writers helps your media coverage, too. We can't write much about events we don't know are on, or attend ;)


RACV members: are you tempted to visit the Mornington Peninsula? You will be!


Planning an event or group outing on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula? Your Shuttle may just offer the perfect solution for your transport needs.

Your Shuttle was born in 2004 when the vivacious and delightful owner Chris Gregory saw the need for a reliable, flexible and personal transport service across the Mornington Peninsula's hinterland.

Chris now offers this service for all occasions to groups and couples with her 10 seater mini-coach providing guests with ample head and leg room and plenty of secure storage for golf bags and wine purchases.

As RACV members you'll also enjoy a 10 per cent discount when booking any Your Shuttle service. Read more about Your Shuttle here »

And while you're planning your Mornington Peninsula adventure, don't forget your RACV members' card to access great savings at:

Click here for the full list of great discount offers across regional Victoria available to all RACV* members.

* Reciprocal rights exist for members of other motoring organisations NRMA, RAA, RACT, RANZ, AAA etc. You qualify for all these discounts too!

Your favourite regional wine or food producer not listed? If so, please email Sara, our friendly Victorian Alliance Manager, with your suggestions, and we'll do our best!


RACT members: Enjoy Tasmania's renowned wine, cheese and more… for less


If you carry an RACT* card, why not support our Tasmanian producers over winter? You will receive a warm welcome when you call, and with discounts available, you can stock up with more!

Visit the Tamar Valley and stop in at:

Just out of Launceston at Elizabeth Town is the Ashgrove Cheese Shop which is simply heaven for cheese-lovers – we challenge you to stop at buying just one or two!

Right amongst the spectacular scenery and white beaches on our East Coast is White Sands Estate, also home to the IronHouse Brewery and White Sands Providore. With two restaurants and beachfront accommodation as well, it’s got everything for a weekend away in one gorgeous location.

Coming to Hobart to visit MONA? Enjoy authentic Mediterranean food at La Torta 310 in North Hobart and with your special discount, why not order that tempting dessert as well?


This is just a taste of the discounts available for RACT members, click here for the full list »

Please email Kerry Scambler, our Tasmanian Alliance Manager, with your suggestions and feedback on this program. We'd love to have more of your favourites involved.

* Members of other motoring organisations, eg NRMA, RAA, RACV, RANZ, AAA etc, can use these discounts.


It's WINtertime: these red wines, beers, festivals, or books could be yours this July


It’s winter and somehow red wine just seems to feel right – we have some of the finest for you to win along with the best beer in Australia.

Thinking of heading north for a warmer winter holiday? We’ve got two prizes with a sunnier side plus a sumptuous book showcasing some of Victoria’s great food and wine.

WINNERS – we know you’re out there! Please search for your name on our winners' page. Our prizes are too good to be sitting on the shelf; they’re far better off being enjoyed by you.


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For tasty discounts, bakers dozens , private tastings, gifts on arrival and VIP treatment wherever you travel, join up to become a Member today.

To discover a world of benefits and over 200 offers available exclusively to Members go to and browse these exclusive benefits and experiences »


A thank you from all of us, and from Queensland's Premier


Last month I had the pleasure of meeting with Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, together with Tyson Stelzer of WinePress in Brisbane. As many of you will know, in a large joint fundraising effort, backed by massively generous donations from the Australian wine industry, FastWay Couriers and more, we jointly raised over A$275,000 in the 'Great Australian Wine Raffle' for the flood and cyclone relief appeals of Queensland and Victoria.

Tyson and I presented Premier Bligh with approximately A$195,000, being the 70% allocated to Queensland on the basis of relative need (the balance has been paid to the Victorian Red Cross). She wished to pass on her sincere thanks to all of you who purchased tickets, and gave her assurance that the money raised was being directly disbursed to families in need. The assessment process has been long, but is now coming to an end. Once again, thank you from all of us at and WinePress.

For those of you in or planning to visit Queensland shortly, we'll have some good news for you next month. is also expanding our coverage into New Zealand, so expect to see more good things there too.

Until next time, enjoy the season

Cheers from Robyn Lewis and the team