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Enjoy spring's wine and food delights around Australia


Hello,

Finally spring is underway even in our most southernmost regions. It seems to have been a long wait to get outside again! Some of the VisitVineyards.com team have been enjoying a bit of relaxation since our very busy month in September, when we launched our new 'show your card and save' programs with the RACV and RACT. A big welcome to all new subscribers including members from both organisations – scroll down below for your program news and updates.

However as they say there's no rest for the wicked – and I must have been pretty naughty in a former life because since winning the Telstra Business Women's Nokia Innovation Award for Tasmania on the 29th, I've been run off my feet! Despite my extra rushing around, it's great for the team to get some recognition for what we do best – bringing you the best of regional wine and food travel, and connecting you to the producers of Australia's fabulous wines and foods.

This month to appease some of our readers in NSW who think we only ever feature Victoria, we have two brand new wine and food trails in the Hunter Valley, and wine news from NSW too. Plus you can win one of the only two remaining tickets to the first-ever Langton's public tasting of Australia's Top 123 wines, one in Sydney (and yes, the other in Melbourne). Even if you live in Townsville or Perth, if you are into premium wines these events would be worth flying in for – they have never been held before, and a tasting of this stature is rarely open to the public. They won't be repeated for maybe another 5 years.... or who knows?

Meanwhile, kick back and relax over your newsletter with a glass of something suitable for this weather – or if you're at work forward it to your home email address so you can enjoy it at your leisure. And please wish me luck in the national Telstra Awards on the 11th! It would be so fabulous for our many wine, food and tourism partners across Australia to get this sort of recognition for all their hard work and fantastic services, too.

In this edition:



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SPECIAL FEATURE: Produce to Platter

Enter the secret world of the micro Australian region, the Mornington Peninsula, with this refreshing take on regional Australia. Mother and daughter team, Jonette George and Daniele Wilton, have put heart and soul into writing this book about one of Australia’s most resourceful food and wine regions.

Produce to Platter, Mornington Peninsula allows you to experience the best of this region through the eyes of its locals. Vineyards, restaurants, producers and provedores open their doors to give you a peek behind the scenes. Get a glimpse of their individual lifestyles, their passion for food and wine and their reasons d’être.

The book is all about bringing local produce to your platter, for you to enjoy Australian regional food through recipes and wine tasting notes – no matter where you live. A$35 (soft cover) or A$90 (hard cover).  Be quick, the first edition is nearly sold out and will surely become a collector's item.

Read more about this lovely book and where to purchase, or order online here »


For your opportunity to win one of ten copies of Produce to Platter Mornington Peninsula click here »

 


WINE AND WINE TRAVEL – a taste of the Hunter, and beyond

WINE:

Grenache is an unlikely hero of a grape, says Jancis Robinson. Reviled or at best ignored by many, it is the grape chiefly responsible for two of the great, and increasingly celebrated, red wines of the world »

Our resident expert and famous oenologist Ian Hickinbotham tells us why filtering of wine is a relatively recent winemaking process, but its value is increasingly being questioned. He also delves into some shibboleths concerning wine. What are they? Find out »

 

THE ROADS LESS TRAVELLED:

Winsor Dobbin this month visits the Hunter Valley and finds boutique wineries and new attractions, old and modern icons as well as the Hunter's less visited regions such as Broke and Mount View where the winery experience is usually a far more personal one.

  • The Hunter Valley is one of Australia's oldest wine growing regions – vines were first planted here in the 1830s – and one of the most visited. This itinerary takes in some of the Hunter's newest attractions »
  • Though there are several wineries that should be on any visitor's 'must do' list, for those making return visits to the Hunter Valley it pays to be adventurous and visit the Hunter's roads less travelled »

 

BOOK REVIEW:

  • Australian Wine Vintages 2011 by Robert Geddes MW: The latest edition of the Gold Book is here, celebrating its 28th birthday and looking as classy as ever. Everything you need to know for happy wine buying, drinking and cellaring »

VisitVineyards.com Members (existing and new) can win your own copy of the latest edition of the Gold Book below. Please scroll down to enter.

 

NEWS:

When Jacob Stein returned to his Mudgee home in 2008, the third generation winemaker was warmly welcomed and then put to work. The 26-year-old is Mudgee's youngest winemaker and brings an international perspective to the region's winemaking »

Jim Chatto has continued a remarkable recent era in his Pepper Tree winemaking role by taking out the Ed Jouault Memorial Trophy for one-year-old dry white wine at the recent Hunter Valley Wine Show »

All the old names and faces were there, winning their usual trophies – Tyrrells, Tempus Two and Thomas – but who were the 'Phat' new kids on the stage, not once but twice? »

 


WIN superb wine from west, south and east, wine tasting tickets, boutique beer and more food and wine

WOW! We have a veritable Oktoberfest of wine and food prizes this month. As always, only the best wines for our subscribers and members from Brand's Laira Coonawarra, Bellvale in Gippsland and WA's Lamont's along with mountain-crafted beer from Bright Brewery. Plus there are sumptuous armchair journeys of the Mornington Peninsula, Marlborough in New Zealand,  the Pemberton wine region and so much more...

 

1. WIN A TICKET to the sold out public tasting of Langton's Classification of Australia Wines V! »

For the first time eager wine lovers have the chance to taste the greatest collection of Australian wines together in one place at the Langton's Classification of Australian Wines V in Melbourne and Sydney this month. With the overall listing increased by over 20%, this is a unique opportunity to taste the best on offer.

Both events are already SOLD OUT. These are the only 2 tickets remaining! And guess what? We have them. For your chance to win one (cost $66 – but as they say in the MasterCard ads, priceless!) to either Melbourne or Sydney enter now but hurry, entries close 17th October »

 

 2. WIN FINE LAMONT'S WINE from the west, dinner for two or a classic food and wine book »

The premium quality of Lamont's wine and restaurants is unquestionable and to celebrate the best of the west, we have a superb mixed half dozen valued at $200, a dinner for two at a Lamont's restaurant plus two signed copies of Kate Lamont's classic book, Food and Wine to be won.

These are fabulous prizes for anyone living in or contemplating a visit to Western Australia – although of course the first prize of wines can be posted anywhere in the country.

Enter now and choose the prize(s) you'd like to win »

 

3. WIN PRODUCE TO PLATTER and (re)discover the Mornington Peninsula »

The winding backroads, verdant pastures and windswept coastlines of Victoria's Mornington Peninsula have long been home to some of the finest regional wine and food experiences in the country – and all so close to Melbourne.

Win Produce to Platter – a food and wine lovers guide to the Mornington Peninsula and If you've never visited we guarantee you'll be thinking travel. If you know the Peninsula, you'll fall in love with it all over again.

To win one of 5 copies enter here »

 

4. WIN A WINESAVE and linger longer over your favourite wines »

Love to savour your wine over more than one day but worried about spoilage? Live alone and don't drink a bottle in one evening?  Winesave could be your answer – it's a revolutionary new, environmentally friendly product that can allow you to save your wine for longer. Using an inert gas called argon and a recyclable can, you'll be able to linger longer over those favourite drops and be kinder to the planet as well.

For your chance to win one of five WineSave cans to try, enter now »

 

5. SUBSCRIBERS' COMPETITION: Coonawarra wine, boutique beer, a taste of Marlborough or indulgent chocolates »

It's all happening in the Coonawarra this month!

Brand's Laira Coonawarra – rich wines reflecting the legendary terra rossa of this region as well as the rich history of the winery – from the first small winemaker to plant vines in this area.

With summer on the radar, it's also time to think about the amber fluid so suited to sunny days, and what better boutique beer to start the season than the mountain crafted lagers and ales from Bright Brewery?

Bring to life the best food and wine of the Marlborough region with Marlborough on the Menu by Jan Bilton and Belinda Jackson, winner of the Gold Ladle award at this year's Le Cordon Bleu Food Media Awards.

No matter the season, Cocoa Farm wine chocolates are always an indulgent treat and they're full of antioxidants from the cocoa and grapes – double the delight!

For your chance to sip, savour, armchair travel and indulge, enter here » 

 

6. MEMBERS' COMPETITION: award-winning wine, stunning WA views or gold wine advice »

Gippsland winemaker John Ellis is justifiably proud of the awards his Bellvale Wine has received at The International Wine Challenge – London and to celebrate we have mixed cases of The Quercus Pinot Noir 2007 and Athena's Vineyard Chardonnay 2008 for our Members.

Pemberton Wine Region by Alex Bond is one of our favourite regional wine books and is a stunning photographic essay on this emerging region. A trip to the west for any wine lover is no longer complete without visiting Pemberton – with this book, you can visit from wherever you are in the country.

Now in its 28th year, Australian Wine Vintages 2011 by Rob Geddes MW is again full of nuggets – hence its affectionate name of the Gold Book, not just for the colour. With tasting notes for 2000 wines and advice on vintage quality, when to drink each wine, indicative retail prices and more, it's a must for any wine-lover's library.

Members, for your chance to win these great prizes, enter here »

 

Everyone who joins VisitVineyards.com or renews as a Member this month for the special price of A$49 pa (A$69/couple) is automatically entered in the draw.

 

7. COCOA FARM CHOCOLATES RETAIL PROMOTION »

Our friends at Cocoa Farm are celebrating the launch of their new DeVine range of wine chocolates by offering customers in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland the chance to win one of three DeVine weekends at the beautiful Lindenderry on the Mornington Peninsula. There are also VisitVineyards.com Memberships and Cocoa Farm hampers brimming with yummy chocolates to be won.

The new wine chocolates create the ultimate indulgence by combining creamy enriched milk chocolate with juicy succulent vine fruits that have been infused and plumped with some of Australia's finest white wines. We've tried them, and we agree – the result is a decadent collection of truly unique, silky smooth, mouth-watering white-wine-infused chocolates that offer two of life’s greatest pleasures in one sensational bite!

Click here for more details on Cocoa Farm's promotion »
 

WINNERS PLEASE EMAIL US: Please check the September winners page here and email Karen if you find your name. We'd like to clear the prize shelves to make way for our special Christmas promotions (yes, it's nearly that time again!) Besides, you don't want to miss out on the fabulous prize you may have won – do you?!

 


FOOD: What's new and delicious?

REVIEWS:

  • It's not hard to see why Marlborough on the Menu by Jan Bilton and Belinda Jackson received a 'Gold Ladle' award – as the top prize is named – in this year's Le Cordon Bleu World Food Media Awards. The food, wine and stunning scenery speak for themselves. Eat, drink, visit Marlborough New Zealand »
  • Discover the pleasures of Tapas – meaning 'little dishes from Spain' – with a new cookbook that will show you how to create the popular dishes at home for friends and family. Tapas: The Cuisine of Conversation by Marie McDonald is a tantalising journey through Spanish dining »

NEWS:

  • Nine feet underground. Nine seasonal degustation menus each of nine courses. Nine red, nine white, nine sparkling and nine Tower Estate wines. NINE restaurant has now opened at Tower Lodge in the Hunter Valley with the aspiration to be recognised as one of Australia's signature restaurants »

We're hearing more about Australian wine exports to China. How do the Chinese match our wines to the different styles of Chinese cuisine? (and in Australia as well!)  Get a few tips from China-based wine and food experts, Edward Ragg  and FongYee Walker »

 


MEMBERS – check out your new Member Benefits section 

 

Australia's wine regions are full of hidden gems, and special benefits for VisitVineyards.com Members

Members! We've recently updated our search facility to make it easier for you to find and print the host of exclusive experiences and bonuses on offer. Yes, you've asked for it, and here it is – a Benefits page where you can view and sort by business/offer name, by region, by category or type of experience or benefit.

Simply go to the Benefits page and click the heading at the top of each column to sort and view the listings as you desire.

Or search in the box below right on the Benefits page – eg type in the name of the State, the region, or the business name – et voila!

New benefits for Members include:

  • Victoria: cook with master chef Belucci at Kyneton Ridge Estate on Sunday October 17th. Book now for this fabulous day's cooking class and lunch with TV chef Belucci at Kyneton in Victoria.
  • South Australia: walk and talk with the winemakers at Producers of McLaren Vale for an informative chat with the winemaker before a 2.4 km walk through the vineyards – advance bookings are highly recommended.
  • New Zealand: discounts on entry and purchases at the New Zealand Wine Centre in Napier, the art deco capital of Hawkes' Bay wine country.
  • Western Australia: join in a two hour degustation at the fabulous Cape Mentelle , Margaret River – Members who have been on this winery tour and tasting can't speak of it highly enough! A must do for any wine-lover visiting Margaret River.

Don't forget, unlike other programs you can enjoy your VisitVineyards.com Benefits as many times per year as you wish. And there are no vouchers to print, carry around or lose – just show your VisitVineyards.com Membership card or quote your Membership number when booking.

Yes, the iPhone app (and for other mobile devices) is coming soon....

Search and view the full range of offers on our new Benefits page here »

 


SHOW YOUR CARD AND SAVE – what it means for you

If you missed our last newsletter you might not know that we recently launched two exciting new programs, the RACV Regional Wine and Food Program in Victoria , and Wine and Food Selections with RACT in Tasmania.

What do they mean? Well if you are a member of RACV or RACT, or have one of their insurance policies – or belong to NRMA, RAA, RACQ or any other State or international AAA motoring organisation – then you are eligible to receive discounts of up to 20% at nearly 70 vineyards and cellar doors, winery restaurants, microbreweries, food producers and sellers (and in Tasmania, boutique accommodations) in Victoria and Tasmania!

The programs are already proving very popular, so now that spring is here, get out and about and remember to carry your RACV or other AAA card to grab yourself a bargain! Check out the websites first (or from your mobile phone) for a full list of participants, opening hours, etc.

Read what John Lethlean and Necia Wilden of The Australian newspaper had to say about our new program. They love it!

 

The RACV Regional Wine and Food program – brought to you by VisitVineyards.com

What’s your favourite Victorian wine and food region?

  • The Yarra Valley for its cool cabernets and sweeping vistas?
  • Gippsland for its boutique gourmet producers hidden amongst the hills and dales?
  • The Mornington Peninsula for their elegant pinots, wild coastline and serene bay beaches?
  • Rutherglen, Australia’s home of fortified wines and welcoming cellar doors?
  • Or perhaps the Strathbogies are more your flavour, producers of refined reds and bold bushrangers?

 
With names like Best's, Mount Langi Ghiran and Warrenmang and discounts of up to 20% now available to RACV members* at select regional cellar doors, provedores, winery-restaurants and more across Victoria, what a great excuse to visit your favourite region and regional producers today!
 
For your chance to win a copy of the inspirational Produce to Platter: Mornington Peninsula , let us know your favourite RACV Regional Wine & Food producer / region and why. Email your answer by October 31st to partners@visitvineyards.com

View the full list of participating businesses at http://RACV.VisitVineyards.com

If you have or know of a business that might like to be involved, click here to email Sara our friendly Victorian Alliance Manager for more information, and she'll be in touch.
 

Thinking about travelling Tassie with your RACT* card in hand?

Make sure you check out the new Wine and Food Selections with RACT website on http://RACT.VisitVineyards.com before you leave home (or from your mobile). There are new offers being added every week. One of our favourites this month is the spectacularly located Harmony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa Retreat who are offering a 10% discount on their wonderful Wine Lovers' Packages - check this treat out here »

We welcome Goaty Hill Wines in the Tamar Valley who also offer 10% off their cellar door wine sales.

Want to be part of this new Tasmanian initiative, or know a business that might? Then email charlie@VisitVineyards.com for more information, and he'll give you a call.

 

* discounts also apply for members visiting from other states (eg NRMA, RAA etc) and international AAA motoring organisations. Includes RACV insurance policy holders, too.

 


WINE AND FOOD EVENTS: Spring events right around the country

Victoria comes alive during October and November with the Spring Racing Carnival showcasing 50 days of world-class thoroughbred racing in a party atmosphere.

If the Melbourne Cup and horse racing are not your thing, there's plenty more to choose from, so head to the Open Cellars of Nillumbik Festival of Wine for a chance to sample exquisite wines from boutique wineries – Various locations Oct 16-17 – or be inspired by exceptional produce, fine food and some of the best wine in the country at the Main Street Mornington Festival on the Mornington Peninsula – Mornington Oct 17 »

 

Other events include:

ACT: 21 cellar doors come alive with entertainment, food, activities and wine tastings during the Wine, Roses and All That Jazz Festivalin and around Canberra Nov 6-7 »

NSW: Welcome in Spring at Orange Wine Week and enjoy the beauty of the region with wine tastings, art shows, special lunches and dinners, live music and produce markets – Orange Oct 22-31. One of the biggest events on the calendar is now on with some of the biggest names on the world food scene in Sydney for the Crave Sydney International Food FestivalSydney Oct 1-31 »

Qld: For a celebration of Spring head to the Granite Belt wine region. The Queensland wine capital plays host to an abundant list of events from music and arts to wine and fine dining at the Primavera: Granite Belt Spring Style in and around Stanthorpe Oct and Nov. As well, improve your knowledge of wine styles, their makers and the regions in which they are produced at the Australian Small Winemakers Show Public TastingStanthorpe Oct 23 »

SA: A month long festival designed to celebrate all things food and wine from the wine regions of the Fleurieu Peninsula at the Fleurieu FiestaFleurieu Peninsula Oct 1-31 »

Tas: Be quick! This weekend it's the annual White Wine Weekend of Southern Tasmania, at the Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart 16-17 Oct. Next month, the Wrest Point Royal Hobart International Wine Show , one of the most significant events on the wine industry calendar, offers public tasting sessions sampling medal-winning wines in a relaxed and informal atmosphere – Hobart Nov 19 »

WA: Join locals to experience all that the Swan Valley has to offer at the Spring in the Valley FestivalSwan Valley Oct 1-31. Also, discover the wine and food of the Geographe wine region at the Crush Food and Wine FestivalBunbury Nov 7 »

Vic: Taste your way around the Macedon Ranges at the 2010 Budburst Wine and Food FestivalMacedon Ranges Nov 13-14. The Yarra Valley's On the Palate is a weekend devoted to all the best wine and food from the Yarra Valley – Yarra Valley Nov 13-14 »

 

Want more?

There are many more events, festivals, dinners, tastings, activities and exhibitions in our national wine and food events calendar. Check it out and start planning your next wine and food getaway now. Searchable by State and by region, with some events listed up to a year (sometimes more) ahead, if you are planning a visit from overseas.

 

List your own event:

If you are a wine or food event manager or organiser and your event is not on our calendar, no matter how large or small – and for those in NZ too – and you want to advertise it on our website (it's free) please visit our new My Account section to create your own listing, or email us and we'll help you add it the calendar »

 

SPECIAL OFFERS for you all

Just a reminder that as well as offering you lots of great Membership benefits, there are plenty of free offers for you as a VisitVineyards.com subscriber as well.

Dedicated wine aficionados will be pleased to learn that we've also extended our special relationship with Jancis Robinson MW OBE, whose UK-based website has just been awarded the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers Award award for Wine Website of the Year . Our mutual exchange rates have gone up and down like the proverbial yo-yo since Jancis and I first collaborated, so to save everyone the headache Jancis has standardised her annual membership pricing in £ Stg.

It's now £69 (approx. A$120 p.a.) to become a member of JancisRobinson.com, but if you are a WinePros Archive or VisitVineyards.com subscriber or Member, you save £23 (approx. A$40, or around 1/3) on her fee.

Jancis will continue to provide the occasional touch of dry wit and insightful tasting notes to VisitVineyards.com

Find out more about becoming a JancisRobinson.com member and these special rate here »

That's it for another month – I'm exhausted! Time for a glass of wine before heading off around a wine region or two tomorrow.

See you again in November, and good luck in the Cup if you're having a flutter.

 

All the best from Robyn Lewis and the VisitVineyards.com team.