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Enjoy the leadup to the festive season with Grange and other great wines, fabulous holidays and our Top Dozens of 2011

Quick link to holidays in Tasmania or the Whitsundays – click here »

It's nearing the end one of the best springs that southern Australia has enjoyed for years (and it's pretty good weather in the north too, from what we hear!). It's so nice to be outdoors, enjoying barbecues, gardens, swimming and more in our spare time... (and apologies to our subscribers in the northern hemisphere; I hope you're enjoying the fruits of fall). It certainly promises to be a wonderful summer.

The world of wine and food has been as busy as the bees, and the hive was certainly buzzing when the Jimmy Watson Trophy – bestowed annually on the best young red wine in Australia – was awarded to a wine from Tasmania for the first time in its 50 year history. Jaws dropped to the floor when winemaker Nick Glaetzer was called to accept the trophy for his Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers Mon Père Shiraz, made from grapes from three of the oldest vineyards in southern Tasmania. Read more about the Jimmy Watson Trophy Winner and the other Royal Melbourne Wine Show trophy winners here »

We're especially chuffed at, as unbeknown to many, we also have a vineyard (Milford) – I'm looking at it out the window as I write – and our wine is made (and vines overseen) by Nick, together with Alain Rousseau, at Frogmore Creek . That's Nick at the left with our wine. Huge congratulations to all concerned.

Tasmania is certainly on a roll. In January the earthly goddess of wine, Jancis Robinson – and other international wine experts – is visiting the island state to speak at the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium (ICCS). Wine lovers as well as makers are welcome; there are special packages available including a dinner with Tetsuya Wakuda, and Wine Tasmania have just announced a special offer: the first 20 subscribers who register before 20th December will receive an exclusive package including a complementary trio of Tasmanian wines valued at over A$80.00 »

So kick back, relax in the lovely long evenings and enjoy our newsletter at your leisure (forward it to yourself at home if you are currently at work). You'll find lots of things to drink and eat over summer and the fast-approaching festive season, places to visit and gift ideas for wine and food lovers, too. Enjoy!


In this edition:

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Dan Murphy’s Wine Panel presents A world of SAUVIGNON BLANC

Story by Briony Morris, Fine Wine Manager – Dan Murphy’s Wine Panel. As featured in the Fine Wine Buyer’s Guide, Edition 10

For many Australians, their first experience of Sauvignon Blanc hails not from its original home of Loire in France, but from a wine region of New Zealand known as Marlborough. In only a few decades, the Sauvignon Blanc produced from this area has become as well-recognised internationally as any other regional wine style in the world, with the words ‘Marlborough’ and ‘Sauvignon Blanc’ now intrinsically linked.

While Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc remains the single most popular white wine style in Australia today, primarily due to its striking intensity, we are now seeing an evolution of sorts, with customers actively seeking out new and different interpretations of the variety from further afield; more restrained, minerally Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire (France), snappingly-fresh, juicy examples from Chile, through to outstanding local interpretations from regions such as Adelaide Hills, Margaret River or Tasmania, all capable of producing unique, regionally expressive interpretations of the grape.

Perhaps the most exciting emerging region in Australia for Sauvignon Blanc is Orange NSW, with the best examples showing a Kiwi-like intensity, yet significantly with their own unmistakeable aroma and flavour signature.

Orange NSW, 2010
‘Like passionfruit sorbet, wonderfully
clean and precise. Has all the drive and
intensity of the very best Marlborough
Savvy but with its own personality and
right to be.’
Dan Murphy’s Wine Panel

Bream Creek
Tasmania, 2010
AWARDS: 1 Trophy & 1 Gold – Best
Sauvignon Blanc Boutique Wine Awards ’11 ‘It’s a seamless wine with ripe grapefruit pith, lemon and passionfruit flavours, tremendous purity and freshness. No sign of herbaceous or underripe characters. Best within two or three years.’
Huon Hooke Good Living
Sydney Morning Herald 16 Aug 2011

Riposte The Foil
Adelaide Hills SA, 2010
‘A fresh and lively Sauvignon from one
of the Hills’ masters, this has a composed
amalgam of passionfruit, gooseberry,
some sweet fresh herbs, grassy notes
and lime citrus.’
Nick Stock
The Age Sydney Morning Herald Penguin
Good Wine Guide 2011


Celebrate our iPhone app with Grange and two world class holidays: a wine week in Tasmania, or 11 days of sun, sailing and snorkelling in the Whitsundays


We recently launched the Visit Vineyards iPhone app, which brings you the world of Australian wine, food and travel at your fingertips. Download it from iTunes and find the best cellar doors, locate a nearby restaurant or place to stay, relax in a spa or unearth gourmet treasures at a market – they're all there!

Even if you never visit a wine region (or if you live overseas), if you want to find out more about Australia's food and wine, the free Visit Vineyards app is so helpful.

There are four really great things you should know:

1. Firstly, it's free, and covers the whole of Australia – 5000 wineries, vineyards and cellar doors, restaurants, food makers and much more.

The other three are November gifts to celebrate (even if you don't have an iPhone!):

2. Please help us spread the word

Click here to share this newsletter with your wine, food and travel-loving friends. For every person you share it with (other than yourself!) you will receive an entry to win a bottle of Penfolds Grange 1989 vintage in time for the festive season, perfectly cellared by our friends at Isle of Wine.

3. Or you could win a week of food and wine for two in Tasmania!

What would you enjoy most? The fabulous fresh seafood or a particular Tasmanian winery? The romance of a night at bed in the Treetops at the pristine Bay of Fires, the adventurous Bruny Island eco cruise or the luxury of being chauffeured to the destination of your choice with Eye See Tours?

Read the seven day itinerary here,  then simply  tell us which part you'd love the most – you could win the whole trip and be on your way in 2012 to experience it!

4. Prefer the tropics? A full 11 days of luxury on the Great Barrier Reef could be yours in 2012.

Queensland's idyllic Whitsunday islands are a natural haven for sunlovers, yachties, divers, and those wanting to chill or bliss out. Are you any of these, or would you like to see the magnificent Great Barrier reef from every angle? 

Spend a night in the heart of the Whitsundays, enjoying the peace and tranquillity with Fantasea ReefSleep, a unique experience in exclusive accommodation.

Enjoy more of this magical reef with lunch on a deserted island and aboard your very own charter yacht from Charter Yachts Australia. With an optional wedding or vow renewal ceremony included, you could even make it a first or second honeymoon!

What a fantastic Christmas present this would make, for you and your partner! This A$8000 holiday prize includes up to A$1000 for airfares from any Australian capital city (if you live overseas, you can put the money towards your airfares).  Read more about this fabulous holiday for two, and enter now »

These all close on 30th November and it will be a big day at VisitVineyards,com when we draw the lucky winners on 5th December. Don't miss this one, it's our biggest wine and holiday giveaway ever, and your chances of winning are far greater than Tattslotto! Click here and you might be celebrating, too »

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WINE AND WINE TRAVEL plus news and reviews



Our annual Top 12 Wine and Beer Books of 2011 provides great inspiration for festive season purchases. This year, there’s a bit more quirk and international flavour, as well as the reliably good wine guides.

Find out which books made our Top 12 favourites for 2011 »


Australian Wine Vintages 2012 – Now in its 29th edition, Rob Geddes' Gold Book provides Australia's wine-drinking public with up-to-date detailed information on what wines to buy, drink now and cellar »

Shannon Bennett's New York – Chef Shannon Bennett shares information on what to eat and drink in the Big Apple advising us to go there before New Yorkers realise just how good their food really is »

Ultimate Beer Guide Australia and New Zealand – With a collection of travel articles for 33 destinations across Australia and New Zealand, find the perfect getaway for not only the beer lovers but all the family »


In September of last year, fourteen wine professionals from around the world gathered in Australia's Yarra Valley for, without exaggeration, the tasting experience of a lifetime.

Participating Beijing-based wine expert Edward Ragg provides an in-depth review of the Landmark Tutorial in a 14 part series. Great wine reading packed with detailed tasting notes of some of our greatest wines:

More of the 14 part series will be featured in our December newsletter or you can read the complete series now on here»


What do you do to ensure the supply of your favourite wine through retirement? Grow it yourself was the answer for Peter Althaus.

Thus began a journey that took him from the mountains of Switzerland to the rolling hills of southern Tasmania and the Domaine A/Stoney Vineyard »


Our resident expert and famous oenologist Ian Hickinbotham tells us some interesting winemaking facts and figures we may not know.



Congratulation to Tyson Stelzer who was awarded International Champagne Writer of the Year in the Louis Roederer Awards for The Champagne Guide 2011 »

The results for the 2011 Royal Melbourne Wine Show were announced recently including the 50th Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy won by the Glaetzer-Dixon Mon Père Shiraz 2010 –  a first for Tasmania »

Cabernet sauvignon stole the show at the 2011 Orange Region Wine Show with one of the highest percentage of wines winning medals. Find out who took home the trophies »

The Tasmanian Premier recently presented the inaugural $10,000 Sustainable Viticulture Award to Tasmanian Winemaker and Viticulturist Paul Smart of Pressing Matters »



Remember these special offers as the gift-giving season approaches like a rocket (perhaps a gift for yourself?):

Discover the delights of Tuscany and Piemonte with one of Australia's leading wine experts

Join Peter Scudamore-Smith MW and his wife Denise on an exclusive wine and food tour in 2012. subscribers receive a discount of A$150 for a single and A$300 a couple on this fabulous tour. Read more about the unique Italian gourmet experiences that await and how to book »

Got To Go to Tasmania?

If you’re planning a trip to the island state or live here and want to explore your own backyard this holiday season, then this is the perfect guide to help you get the most out of your wine and food experiences in Tasmania. subscribers receive a 20% discount – get yours here »

Australian wine regions readily available at a glance

The Australian Wine Map by Max Allen gives you every wine region in one glance. subscribers buying a single map from Australian Wine Maps receive a 10% discount.  Or buy any combination of three to receive 20% off – these make great gifts »

Last minute inclusion! Hear Jancis Robinson in person

Just confirmed! The first 20 subscribers who purchase a package to the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium being held in Tasmania from 31st Jan to 4th Feb (including a fabulous dinner by Chef Tetsuya Wakuda) will receive an exclusive trio of Tasmanian wines as a gift »

FOOD: Favourite cookbooks and new releases



From 'kitchen travel' cookbooks and restaurant chefs' collections, to home cooking, sustainability and healthy eating, the list of must-have cookbooks for 2011 is an interesting mix.

Find out what made our top dozen food books this year and plan your foodie gift buying »



Moore to Food – Chef Michael Moore is the owner of one of Australia's leading and most spectacular restaurants, The Summit in Sydney. However his recipe collection is far from being just another celebrity cookbook »

Izakaya –  Serving wonderful Japanese bar food, Izakayas are small bars found on just about every street corner in Japan. Izakaya features 75 delicious and authentic Japanese grazing food recipes »

My Taste of SicilyDominique Rizzo, in her first cookbook, delves into her repertoire of Sicilian recipes to produce a collection that captures the essence of what she calls soul-food cooking »

Cooking with Beer – A range of recipes from Paul Mercurio combining his love of food and beer. So many recipes, so many's time to get cooking with beer »

My Abuela's TableDaniella Germain's abuela (grandmother) and mother handed down the recipes all of which are traditional, no nonsense and mouth-watering. A  journey to the heart of real Mexican food »

Home Made – A fun and innovative cookbook from Yvette Van Boven full of recipes and memories dating back to her childhood. A traditional cookbook with a twist »



In Search of the Perfect Partner by Ryn and Cordie: Find your perfect wine and food matches this festive season!  If you're lusting after a David Herbert/Max Allen combo in your kitchen, then this is the perfect food and wine book for you. subscribers save 20%: click here for details »

WINE and FOOD EVENTS around Australia


Big Dine Out for charity

It's hard for many of us to imagine living on the streets, where a piece of cardboard could be your pillow, your bed, your roof, your home. From 14th November to 24th December StreetSmart Australia will kick off its 9th DineSmart campaign with the Big Dine Out. Please support this excellent initiative!

Find a participating DineSmart restaurant, eat out and help those in need »


MORE EVENTS in all Australian states:

NSW: In the Hunter Valley enjoy fine wines and a wander through the picturesque countryside while feasting your eyes on this year's fabulous array of sculpture – Sculpture in the Vineyards, until 22 Jan »

Vic: Celebrate the sweet life with 10 King Valley wineries at their annual spring festival – La Dolce Vita Annual King Valley Spring Festival, 19-20 Nov »

ACT: Buy something handmade this Christmas when artists, designers, craftspeople and gourmets in Canberra bring you quality, handcrafted and locally designed items – Handmade Christmas Market, 17-18 Dec »

Qld: An array of Granite Belt cultural and gastronomic events and new wine releases celebrating Primavera (Italian for Spring). Meet the winemakers, providores and artists – Primavera 2011 Festival, until 30 Nov »

NT: In Alice Springs find activities and live entertainment for all ages along with stalls offering arts and crafts, fresh produce and global foods, jewellery and much more – Christmas Carnival, 10 Dec »

SA: On the Eyre Peninsula sample a wide range of gourmet foods together with wine tastings and sales – Whyalla Food and Wine Fair, 19 Nov »

Tas:  Get along to the East Coast of Tasmania for Tassie's best little food and wine festival, all washed down with some great local blues and roots rhythms – Bicheno Food and Wine Festival, 19 Nov »

WA: Experience the magic of Christmas in Perth with six weeks of free activities and events – City of Perth Festival of Christmas, 11 Nov-6 Jan »


Want to find more events?

There are hundreds more events, festivals, dinners, tastings, tweetups, activities and exhibitions in every state (and some in New Zealand, HongKong and Singapore) in the wine and food events calendar – do some culinary holiday planning here »


Holding a tasting? Planning Christmas festivities? Then list your own wine or food-related event

If you are a wine or food event manager or organiser and your event is not on our calendar, no matter where, or how large or small, please visit the My Account section to create your own listing, or email us and we'll help you add it the calendar »

A LOT of wine and food lovers check our our calendar every month, and you are missing FREE and widespread publicity for your event if you don't.


WIN a romantic Hunter Valley Escape, magnums/magna of world-class Tasmanian wines from Domaine A, and more

Most of these fabulous prizes will be drawn just in time for the holiday season,  so enter now and make sure you check our winners page on 6th December. Be quick to claim your prize for pre-Christmas delivery!

  • Start the new year with an escape to the Hunter Valley with your someone special. Somewhere Unique is a luxury couples-only romantic retreat in wonderfully private setting yet close to Hunter Valley wine country.

    There are also a mixed wine and delicious sauce gift pack from Wollombi Wines and two half cases of organic wines from Stonehurst Cedar Creek to be won, enter here »
  • Have a world-class Christmas with a magnum of finely balanced, European-styled Tasmanian wine. Exclusive to subscribers is the chance to win Cabernet Sauvignon from either Domaine A or Stoney Vineyard.

    To win one of two magnums* of these outstanding wines (* or for those who prefer the correct but little-used plural, magna), enter here »
  • Win one of four mixed half cases of Giessen Wines and discover wines made simply to enjoy. Thirty years ago, three brothers began their wine mission in New Zealand’s Marlborough region and now you could taste their rewards »
  • Matthew Evans is back with Gourmet Farmer  Series 2 and ith a couple of surprises – partner Sadie and son Hedley have arrived and it's time for Matthew to bring home the bacon. Win one of five DVD’s and follow his farming and gourmet adventures »
  • It’s time to think about festive entertaining and to help you shine this year, we've enlisted Chef Michael Moore and his fabulous book, Moore to Food. Enter now and you could win one of four inspiring copies of this beautiful cook book »

UNCLAIMED PRIZES: Miguel's Tapas, Produce to Platter, Le Nez du Vin aroma sets and other great prizes are waiting to be claimed – check our winners' page now, your name could well be there! Please email Kerry to arrange delivery if you're a lucky winner.

VISITVINEYARDS.COM MEMBERS: your exclusive offers


Members, if you're planning your wine and food travels now, make sure you check our benefits page and pack your Membership card. 

These are just some examples of the special benefits waiting for you:



  • Hickinbotham of Dromana: Travelling to the Mornington Peninsula this holiday season? Present your Membership card and choose from these special offers:
  • Free bottle of fine wine with any 6-pack purchase (can be mixed wines)
  • Sip on a free glass of wine with every restaurant main course ordered between Monday and Friday
  • Enjoy a complimentary wine tasting – find out more here »


South Australia:

Western Australia:



Enjoy those and 200 other special extras that Membership brings – join us (or renew your Membership) today at our spring special rates (to 30 Nov) »

You can access the full list of benefits on your mobile here (free, no app download required) »

RACT, RACV and RACQ members: pack your card and plan your summer travels

If you’re a member of these or any other affiliated motoring organisations*, then start planning your summer travels and save along the way. These are just some of the regional producers waiting to welcome you:

TASMANIA – wine, dine and stay

To see where else you can sip, savour and save, go to:

VICTORIA the state’s west is brimming with great wine experiences:

  • Best’s Wine is one of Australia’s oldest family owned and operated wineries. Tour the cellars, hand dug by miners in the 1860s and experience wine history then taste their superb wines. Save 10% on Great Western Varietals, VIC Ranges of wine and Cellar Door merchandise »
  • One of Australia's most acclaimed producers of shiraz, Mount Langi Ghiran, is nestled between two dramatically beautiful mountain ranges. Enjoy the panorama, taste their range of wines and save 20% on purchases at both Bayindeen » and Halls Gap cellar doors »

And there’s more around regional Victoria, for the full list, go to

QUEENSLAND cooking school, chocolates and of course, wonderful wine:

  • Hone your cooking skills with a class in the unique and tranquil environment of Freestyle Escape Cooking School. Features local and interstate celebrity chefs and local Sunshine Coast produce. Save 10% on your next class »
  • Flavours of Australia, like leatherwood honey, dark rum and wattleseed, feature in delicious Mayfield Chocolates.  Many of the recipes are world firsts and medals have been awarded but Mayfield would love you to taste test yourself. Save 10% on your chocolate delights at both Mt Tambourine and Spring Hil »
  • If travelling to 15 wineries in one day sounds too much, then visit the Queensland Wine centre at Cedar Creek Estate and find them all under one roof. Choose from over 90 wines and save 10% on your purchases »

For the full range of Queensland producers welcoming you, go to

SOUTH AUSTRALIA – we are delighted to announce that South Australia will be joining our program in 2012! Stay tuned for further news in months ahead.
*NOTE:  If you're a current member or policy holder of  RACT, RACV, NRMA, RAA, RACQ, RANZ, AAA etc (including visitors form oversease), you qualify for all these discounts.

Keep up to date with the latest news from - you can find us on Twitter and Facebook and now on Google+


Thanks for your ongoing support


We were pleasantly surprised during last week to hear from several of you asking why your newsletter was later than usual this month! As the Melbourne Cup fell on the 1st of November this year, it created a delay (normally we have at least a few days before the Cup long weekend to have all final copy submitted), so we scheduled this send for the third Tuesday, and not the second.

Our apologies for those of you who have been hanging out for this edition, and we hope you enjoy it.

Please if you wish to enter to win either of the two amazing holidays above, or the bottle of 1989 Penfolds Grange, don't defer any longer – these really are fabulous prizes and we don't want you to miss out.

It's also great for the prize donors, especially those in Queensland, if you show your support. We all know what they went through earlier this year, and it will mean a lot to them if they know that fellow Australians are still getting behind them and are keen to visit their beautiful state. They are waiting to welcome you with a smile!

I was in the Whitsundays not long ago, and believe me, it's still as beautiful and fun as ever. We took our seven-year-old daughter on the helicopter flight, and (like us) it's something she will never forget.

These memories and much, much more might be yours, too. And while we're all waiting to hear who the lucky winners are on 5th December, enjoy the last of this lovely spring, and the leadup to the festive season.

All the best from Robyn Lewis and the team.


PS To producers, businesses, authors, tourism authorities.... if you wish us to feature your wines, foods, books, apps, maps, regions (or states or countries) in our 2012 newsletters, please contact us, we are planning our schedules for next year now. We look forward to hearing from you.

And don't forget to share this newletter for your chance to win Grange on 5th December!


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