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Enjoy vintage time, and your last chance for some truly great wines

You can still be part of Australian wine history! And help our friends



The Australian summer is over – for some it's been fantastic, for others it's one to forget. The 2011 vintage will be erratic at best; in some regions it's been hit by flood, or torrential rain, or humidity. Other regions like WA are fine, and vintage is in full swing, although it's still a month away in Southern Tasmania. Such is life in this wide brown land. Stay tuned for some very interesting vintage reports.

To our Kiwi friends across the Tasman Sea, what can we say? What an awful disaster. Perhaps the best way of assisting New Zealanders apart from donating to the NZ Red Cross is to take yourself on a tour of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, and help to inject some much-needed cash and support into an economy that will take years to recover. We send you all our thoughts and best wishes.

Perhaps it's time to take a deep breath, remember how lucky most of us are, and plan a vineyard weekend or two in the months ahead, to unwind, enjoy and relax, and to help businesses recover.

A big welcome to our new subscribers, and we hope you enjoy your wine, food and travel newsletter March edition. If you wish, you can easily jump to the section that interests you most below:

In this edition:

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Quick Poll:

Q1. We've had great responses to our 'win a trip to Margaret River and Tasmania' competitions. What other wine region would you like to win a trip to?

Hunter Valley
Barossa Valley
Yarra Valley
Mornington Peninsula
Granite Belt
North-East Victoria
(please specify below)

Q2. We know you all love to taste wine! What other activities might you enjoy?







3 DAYS TO GO: The 'great wine flood and cyclone raffle' reminder

The support that we have had so far for the Australian Wine Flood and Cyclone Relief Raffle has been fantastic – thank you to everyone who has bought tickets already.

However, if you have been putting it off, there are now only 3 days remaining – ticket sales close on Friday 11th March at 10 am AEDST (9 am Qld time, 9.30 SA, 7 am WA), that's 11 pm Thursday in the UK and even earlier in the USA. You can become part of Australian wine history – the 200 winners' names will be preserved for posterity along with the WineFloodRelief website in the Queensland Archives as part of their Brisbane 2011 flood records!

So please don't delay if you want to find your name amongst the 200 winners of a total of nearly 1/4 of a million dollars' worth of wineBUY YOUR TICKETS NOW »

First prize is worth a massive A$33,000 and the wines on offer are simply jaw-dropping. Quite honestly, I don't think we'll see a lineup like this again.

Second prize would make any winner happy too, it's worth A$20,000 and there are some amazing wines

Third prize is worth a further A$13,000 and you'll also be awash with good wines for years if you win this.

Fouth to sixth prizes are worth A$9000 to A$6000 and are full of big name wines.

Then there are another 194 prizes – tickets are A$30, and we realise that for some this is a bit of a hurdle, but consider that for the price of one reasonable bottle of wine, you could win a cellarful.

Download the entire prize list in a pdf here (all 31 pages of it!)

The odds of a prize being delivered to your door next month are fantastically good, especially if you get a group together and buy a batch of tickets. Think of the parties you can have if you win!

For the last few days, the next 10 people who buy a lot of 50 tickets are guaranteed a prize – you'll receive a case of premium Barossa Show winning wines. So get your friends or colleagues together NOW and CLICK HERE to buy online before it's too late »

You can also phone Kerry on (03) 6248 4476 from 9 am - 4.30 pm to Thursday, and she will happliy process a phone order. Or fax us your details on (03) 6248 5076 before 10 am Friday.

It's A$30 a ticket – money that means a lot to those still living in tents, on friends' floors, or who've lost their cars, their farms, their jobs, their businesses and in some cases, their friends or family......

Yes, we know, a lot of you have donated already, as have we – but hey,  you'll never see wine prizes like this again!  Please forward this to a friend if you know someone else who might be interested – it's for a very good cause.




  • Ten Top Australian Vineyard Escapes – great places for a vine time
    There is something special about waking up to the sight of grape vines from your bedroom window. Wine and travel writer Winsor Dobbin reveals some of his favourite places to stay in vineyards; ranging from self-catering cottages to luxury vineyard resorts »
  • Six of the Best: wine and food experiences in Australia and New Zealand
    From creating your own sparkling cuvee to blending your own red, from sitting down to eat with the fisherman who caught your crayfish and the man who made the wine you are drinking, Winsor Dobbin highlights six of Australia and New Zealand’s best gourmet experiences. Check them out »
  • Take a personalised wine tour in Italy with Nick Stock
    Italy - a country full of unforgettable wine and food experiences and this tour is the ultimate way to discover some of the best wine and gourmet experiences, many not usually available.

    Tour through Tuscany and Piedmont where you'll meet some of the most well-known names and personalities in Italian wine and sample some of the most exclusive and hard-to-source wines in each region. For lovers of the best in fine wine and food, this is simply the ultimate trip » Members and subscribers can SAVE $200 and receive bonus gifts when booking the Wine Tour to Italy here » 


Our resident expert and famous oenologist Ian Hickinbotham tells us about grape varieties and the difficulties in matching food and wine:


Qantas has taken out Best First Class Cellar and Best Business Class Cellar at the 2010 Cellars in the Sky Awards in London. Qantas also won a swag of other awards collecting a total of 6 out of the 15 awards »


Traditional with a very modern twist

Written and published by culinary artist and master Chef Gianfranco Chiarini, The New Renaissance of Italian Fusion Cuisine 1.0 is a work of culinary genius and artistry, which will expand your skills and stretch your thinking about Italian cuisine and where it's heading.

Read the full review of this outstanding book here »

Other books we've loved lately include:


OUR MONTHLY COMPETITIONS: Rare books, relaxing massages, fine wines, glorious books and more to be won.

Another month has arrived and so have these fabulous prizes, including an exclusive Members-only competition. If you are a new Member, we invite you to enter – this one is reserved for you – and you can enter all the subscribers' competitions, too.

  • Daring Pairings by US Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein – this month’s featured excerpts are all about nebiollo: the wine’s characteristics, its meat-loving tendencies and a recipe to match perfectly.

    To coincide with this feature, we have a copy of our number one wine book for 2010 to give away – enter here »

PRIZES TO CLAIM: we've added over 50 names to our winners' page this month so please check and see if you've won a taste of Margaret River , Passing Clouds wine or any of our other great prizes.

If you see your name, please email with your prize details and postal address and we'll soon have your prize in its rightful home – it could be yours!


RACV Members Show Your Card and Save on great regional winery dining

The RACV Regional Wine and Food program – brought to you by the team here at – offers you discounts of up to 20 per cent at regional cellar doors, winery restaurants, micro-breweries, gourmet provedores and more across regional Victoria.

Dining on local produce while looking out over rolling vineyard laden hills is one of the most memorable ways to spend time in Victoria’s regions.

With your RACV membership card in hand, you’ll not only save at the cellar door but when dining on great regional food and wine, including:



Want more? Visit for the full list of over 50 great discount offers for RACV* members – available every day they are open, all year.

* 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 hidden gem?

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.


Tasmanian treats for members of RACT and other motoring organisations*

Love cheese? Try something different at Ashgrove Cheese, inspired by local flavours including Bush Pepper, Outback Red, Wasabi and Lavender. Enjoy a free tasting at the Ashgrove Shop and save 10% on your purchases »

The azure blue waters of the Bay of Fires are just a short walk from Bed in the Treetops, luxuriously appointed boutique accommodation with spectacular sweeping views of Binalong Bay from your spa suite. Save 10% on direct bookings »

View the Beaconsfield Mine in a different light with their new interactive 3 Dimensional Holographic Mine Experience. Explore a world 1200 metres below the ground, travel the labyrinth of tunnels, meet miners and learn about a working culture in the depths of the earth. Flash your RACT card and save 15% on entry »

The six friends who live their dreams at Goaty Hill Wines warmly invite you to call in to their cellar door, enjoy the vineyard views, taste some classic Tamar Valley wines and share their journey of Educated Enjoyment. Save 10% on your wine purchases »

Frogmore Creek has a new cellar door at the recently acquired neighbouring Meadowbank Estate. Taste the full range of their highly acclaimed wines and ask about their Evermore range celebrating 10 years of Frogmore Creek wines. Save 15% when you select your favourite wines »

Pinot Shop What a treasure trove of wonderful wines! Shelves bursting with perfect pinots from Tasmania, southern mainland states and New Zealand. Not sure which wines to choose? Ask Michele for her friendly, expert advice. Show her your RACT, RACV or other state AAA card and she’ll save you up to 15%! »

And there’s even more beautiful Tasmanian wine to be tasted. Or take a tour and forget the driving:

There's more on offer for RACT (and visiting AAA*) members in Tasmania so check out the full list on

Is your favourite winery or restaurant not yet in the program? Please let us know, or if you'd like information for your 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, RACT, RANZ, AAA etc, you qualify for all these discounts too!


 EVENTS: Food and wine events around Australia

One of the most innovative events on the wine and food calendar is the Dinner With The Neighbours annual 100-Mile Dinner held in Canowindra in NSW as part of Orange FOOD Week.

Long tables are set up in the middle of the main street for a communal feast of regional produce and wines sourced from within a 100-mile radius of Orange. A unique and memorable dining experience – Canowindra, April 11th »

Celebrating the region's produce, producers and food providers, Orange FOOD Week is a truly regional food experience and should not be missed. Around 100 events over 10 days – Orange and surrounding district, April 8th-17th »

Other events to enjoy include:

ACT: Showcasing Canberra district wineries with all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of harvest is the Canberra District Wine Harvest Festival, April 2nd-3rd »

NSW: In Sydney celebrate the 14 wine regions of NSW as well as its fine regional produce at the NSW Wine Festival, February 26th-March 31st »

NT: Explore the heritage sites of Alice Springs and experience a week-long celebration of activities and displays at the Alice Springs Heritage Festival, April 9th-18th »

Qld: Help this region get back on its feet. Originating to profile the rare and exotic tropical produce from Far North Queensland but now including all local produce like cheese and wine, is the Innisfail Feast of the Senses Festival, March 18th-27th »

SA: Experience all the thrills, excitement and the lights of vintage at Coonawarra After Dark, April 8th-9th. In the Flinders Ranges delight your tastebuds with a smorgasbord of food and wine based events at the Tastes of the Outback, April 1st-10th »

Tas: This long weekend is the annual Taste of the Huon, where you can sample the best of the Channel and Huon Valley region over two days 13-14th March.

Next month, offering a visual feast of theatre, dance, art, music, film, opera and literature in Tasmania is the biennial Ten Days on the Island, March 25th-3rd April »

WA: An abundance of wine, food, music and art experiences is to be found at the Margaret River Wine Region Festival, March 17th-21st »

Vic: Enjoy the ultimate gourmand's party over two indulgent weekends at the Tastes of Rutherglen, March 12th-13th and 19th-20th or celebrate the olives of Central Victoria with food, wine and music at the Bendigo Olive Fiesta, March 20th »

Postponed from February is the annual fundraising Twilight Jazz Picnic at Cruden Farm, Langwarrin, now on Sat March 26th.

Be quick if you want to catch the largest celebration of its kind in the world – the great Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, March 4th-14th »


You can find all these events and many more in our national wine and food calendar at – search and view events by month, by State (or country) and by region.

Check out what's on ahead for the cooler days of autumn... a glass of red by the fireside, anyone?


Good luck!

For those with grapes still on vines, we wish you a long, sunny and calm Indian summer – and for all you happy wine and food travellers, make the most of the season ahead and please get out and enjoy some of the wonderful events , meet the wine makers and support our regional producers as they get back on their feet.

Thanks and good luck in the draw of the mega wine raffle on the 11th! All the winners will be published here on 15th March.

We hope your name will be among them. Cheers from

Robyn Lewis and the team.


PS Missed your last newsletter?

You can read it in our archives here, and don't forget to add to your safe senders' list , and to update your email address if you switch ISPs.

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