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The wrap: wine and food news and reviews

Wine and food – it's certainly the time of year to be thinking about both.

But how effective do you think the language of wine writers (and marketers) is for the consumer? Most of us just want to know what to buy, and to understand what we're drinking (or even whether to drink it or not!). Wine educator Steve Knight is exasperated at times and makes his own commitment to wine writing »

This range of wine and food books is sure to contain some gift-giving ideas for the wine and/or food lover in your life (or a present to yourself!)

Recognised as the national industry benchmark, the James Halliday Wine Companion for 2014 has tasting notes for over 4,000 wines, ratings, winery profiles and more. It's a great big stocking filler for any wine-lover's Santa list! »

For pinot noir lovers, this one's for you. In the late 1800s pinot noir arrived in New Zealand but it wasn't until 1976 that Nick Nobilo produced one taken seriously. Today the variety superbly expresses its terroir and our Kiwi friends arguably have some of the most interesting. John Saker's excellent book puts it firmly on the world stage. Check out Pinot Noir – the New Zealand Story »

Love Italian cooking? The Toscano family is an institution in Melbourne with their fresh produce business spanning three generations. Granddaughter Joanne showcases the family's origins, loves and much more in Toscano's Family Table. Along with recipes, the section Ask the Fruitier is an excellent reference for all things fruit and veg, Italian-Australian style »

(Enjoy two of Joanne's recipes on the right)

Immerse yourself deeper into Italy's regional cuisine. Antonio Carluccio's Italia has got the lot in terms of gastronomic insight. Antonio clearly adores his home country and its food culture. He covers each region in detail with background info and culinary history plus recipes that are truly representative of each one. It is little wonder this Italia – the Recipes and Customs of the Regions has been recently re-released »

(We're giving away a few copies of Italia on the VisitVineyards Facebook page this month, so keep an eye out.)

The Bookery Cook – Art to Eat by the Thompson sisters The Bookery Cook – Art to Eat by the Thompson sisters puts fun and art back into cooking. Raised on a Queensland farm, and with an inherent love of food, family and sharing, a recipe book from their blog was inevitable! It's illustrated with dedicated artworks from around the world, some whimsical, others abstract  – the result will captivate art lovers young and old »

A timely book for summer's relaxed entertaining, Turkish Meze by Sevtap Yuce is all about food to share. It shows this style of cooking in a simple and straightfoward manner, perfect for the converted or for those who are curious about Turkey's food culture »



The Bookery Cook – Art to Eat by the Thompson sisters Inspired by craft beer innovation, Willie Smith's Organic Cider has joined with Lark Distillery to produce the country's first cider aged in whisky barrels »

And congratulations to Tasmanian whisky maker Bill Lark for his appointment as 'tourism champion' by the Tasmanian Minister for Tourism, Scott Bacon.

To reduce greenhouse emissions and save power, De Bortoli has unveiled the largest solar installation in an Australian winery, at Griffith NSW »

Beating entries from around the world, The Hills Cider Company takes Champion of Show at the 2013 Australian Cider Awards »

Judges noted that chardonnay and shiraz were the standouts at the 2013 Orange Wine Show »

At the recent Gourmet Traveller Wine awards, Ray Guerin of Shaw + Smith was crowned the inaugural Viticulturalist of the Year »

The McLaren Vale wine region launched a Phylloxera Code of Conduct for both vineyard workers and visitors, to protect their valuable vineyards from this devastating pest »

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Where to go? Wine and food travel

If your mind is drifting to holidays – whether short wine and food breaks or longer, luxurious stays – we're here to inspire you. The first is a favourite: Australia's ultimate winery experiences, plus the equivalent in our top-of-the-range accommodation experiences. We also have an unexpectedly good short stay, and a fun look at a European country that may, or may not, exist!

At, we're constantly being asked to recommend the best of Australia's wine regions. We always say, 'it depends' – on what you like, and can afford. There are the icons, some born, but others fallen from grace. This month we bring you the consistent standouts in each State that you can visit and take your VIP and international guests with confidence: check out Australia's ultimate winery experiences »

And then where to stay? What ARE the genuine 5 star accommodation experiences around regional Australia, for a (dare I say it) authentic, memorable and truly perfect stay? Australia in Style from R.M. Willliams brings you 31 unique Australian travel experiences, and we've picked the wine and food lovers' highlights for you to savour

(This is a gorgeous book and would also make a great gift for a discerning traveller or lover of Australia).

Clearly, not all Australia's foodie action is in our capital cities. Country towns are alive and kicking and often provide the perfect short getaway. As guest writer Jen Fearn found in a 24 hour stay, Echuca-Moama offers some serious rejuvenation and is a foodie's paradise »

Contemplating some Eastern European travel? On the 10th aniversary of its original publishing, the travel guide for Molvania has been re-released, complete with fluffy 3D cover. It even includes wine!  The perfect gift for those who need a chuckle, it's like Monty Python and Borat colluding on a Lonely Planet style guide »

For more wine and culinary travel ideas click here: » 


What's on: Wine and food events

It's warming up and what a myriad of events are going on around Australia and NZ! We're spoilt for choice for wine and food, these are just a few to give you a taste. Find plenty more on our national wine and food events calendar »

  • Hunter Valley (NSW): Sculpture in the Vineyards – to 1 Dec »
  • Macedon Ranges (Vic): Budburst Festival – 16-17 Nov »
  • Melbourne (Vic): Fed Square Flavour Exchange – 4-5 Dec »
  • McLaren Vale (SA): Gorgeous Festival, music, food & wine – 22-23 Nov »
  • Bicheno (Tas): Food & Wine Festival – 23 Nov »
  • Granite Belt (Qld): Primavera Festival – to 30 Nov »
  • Margaret River (WA): Gourmet Escape – 22-24 Nov »
  • Canberra (ACT): Sunset Cinema – to 21 Dec »
  • Christchurch (NZ): Christchurch/South Island Wine & Food Festival – 7 Dec »

If you're heading to the Taste of Melbourne (on until 17 Nov), visit the Tasmanian Pavillion for the coolest food produce from the wildest place! »

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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 and enter your event details.


Enjoy great giveaways for Christmas

All these fantastic prizes will be drawn in early December, just in time for the festive and holiday season. What a sensational mix we have: accommodation on the Granite Belt, StrangeBird wines (for those who love alternative wines!), a unique wine tasting tour, beautiful Barossa shiraz... the list goes on!

Wishing you good luck with all these competitions!

Winners, Kerry's back on deck and wondering where you are? There are great prizes still to be claimed so don't miss out! Is your name on our winners' list? Then get in touch!!

More great giveaways: » 


  Are you a winner? Find out now » 


Tour and save for Auto Club Members

If you're an Auto Club Member*, consider planning your wine country travels in Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland around these recommendations - you're sure to find a welcoming smile and saving or too as well!

In Victoria:

In Tasmania:

In Queensland:

* discounts apply to all RACV, RACT, RACQ, RAA, RAWA or NRMA members and policy holders, and all AAA members visiting from overseas.

 Find more at: » 


 50 more places to save at: » 


 Find out more: » 


Your exclusive VV subscriber offers

How appropriate for this time of year – we're talking bubbles and fabulous food from the magical Margaret River!

Champagne! The mere mention turns thoughts to celebrations and special occasions. It's been the centre of many history-making moments brought to life by in the elegant book Champagne and Chandeliers: Grand Dining Occasions written by Australia's own Champagne educator, Bernadette O'Shea. Save 15% and have your copy personally signed »

Share a culinary journey around the lovely Margaret River with 19 acclaimed chefs. Home to world-class wines, premium quality dining and natural beauty all showcased in the magnificent book Chefs of the Margaret River by Lisa Hanley and Sue-Lyn Aldrian-Moyle. Save a substantial 20% on your copies now (great for gifts) »

Enjoy many »


Australia's wine industry needs you!

As mentioned in our last newsletter, ran a survey of the Australian wine industry in October – and received a substantial 271 reponses in just 12 days, from almost every wine region in Australia! Yes, there are some issues in the industry, but there are also a lot of positive things happening, including of course the overall quality of our fabulous Australian wines.

If you're interested to read VisitVineyards' survey summary, the WFA have published it on their website, here. (You can also read other submissions, including from the major supermarkets, regional groups and more). It highlights some issues that should concern us all – and give us all the more reason to get out into the country, buy Australian wines, and support our winegrowers, makers and farmers direct at the source!

We're having some fabulous wines sent here lately look out for an email with our specially selected wines coming very soon!

Cheers from Robyn, Kerry, Andrew, Charlie and the VV team.

Winemakers, if you want to sell your wines to our subscribers, please email Charlie today and he'll send you more info.

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