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Saturday, 23 September 2023

Something different for wine lovers and collectors

Looking for something to jazz up your cellar or bar at home? 

Long-time wine industry professional Philip Meyer has just the thing. 

Meyer has collected some "wine bling" during his career, including many panel boards from wooden crates that contained highly collectible wines, including from from Bordeaux and Burgundy. 

So think Chateau Margaux, or maybe Bonneau Du Martray.

The range also includes box ends from leading wineries in Italy and Spain and prices start from $30.  
Meyer describes the wine box ends from around the world as "a little semi-retirement project".

Wine box ends are the original wine panels from wine crates made by high-end vineyards. They are also known as wine crate sides or wine face plates.

The ends are engraved with the winery’s logo and/or artwork and sometimes include the vintage year of the wine they housed.

Meyer says they are "perfect gifts for wine lovers, as art work, drawer fronts, a table top or wall hangings". 

Perfect, too, for anyone opening a wine bar. 

Friday, 22 September 2023

Dark Mofo blow for Tasmanian tourism

The organisers of Hobart winter festival Dark Mofo have announced that the event will pause in 2024 “for a period of renewal”.

Dark Mofo intends to reshape a more sustainable model for a full return in 2025, and set the foundation for the next 10 years.

Despite achieving record attendances and box office results this year, organisers said a reset was essential due to rising costs and changing circumstances.

An agreement has, however, been reached with the Tasmanian Government to hold two aspects of the festival in 2024 - the Winter Feast and the Nude Solstice Swim.

These two key events will also coincide with the opening of a new major exhibition at the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona).

Dark Mofo artistic director Chris Twite said that the State Government had been proactive in offering solutions to proceed with the festival in 2024. But ultimately the organisers opted for a reduced scope that would honour Dark Mofo’s commitment to local community and small businesses, and give the organisation the time and space for planning for the future. 

“We are thankful for the support and assistance that the State Government has shown in response to our need to reshape for the future,” Twite said.

“Dark Mofo has always been dedicated to enriching and transforming lives through ambitious art and ideas. We want to make sure that we have a festival that continues to deliver incredible art and artists, that continues to expand its artistic boundaries and remains a beacon of creativity, innovation, and cultural significance.

“While this was a tough decision, it ensures we move forward in a viable manner. The fallow year will enable us to secure the future of Dark Mofo and its return at full force in 2025.

“We are excited that in June 2024 - amidst the rebirth and renewal of Dark Mofo - that Tasmanians and visitors alike will still be able to meet and commune around the fires of Winter Feast and cast off the weight of another year at the Nude Solstice Swim once more.” 

Dates for the 2024 Winter Feast and Nude Solstice Swim will be announced soon. 

Tourism Tasmania CEO Sarah Clark says that organisation will respond to changes in the festival programming and ensure Tasmania stays "top of mind" for Australians next winter.

Tourism Tasmania will Increase investment in its Off Season program; pursue a new strategic airline partnership to drive bookings to the state across the entire winter and deliver a one-off industry content program helping support the promotion of Off Season offers.

We shall see.

Take a trip back in time for one weekend only

Take a journey back in time when Sydney’s Central Station is briefly transformed to a bygone era. 

The return of the annual Transport Heritage Expo this October long weekend (September 30-October 2) will give visitors the chance to enjoy heritage train, bus and steam boat rides across the city. 

There will also be unique experiences at Central station, including tours of the clock tower and tea on board a 1960s dining carriage.

“The Transport Heritage Expo is a rare and exciting opportunity for people to journey back in time and immerse themselves in our state’s rich transport history,” said Transport Heritage NSW CEO, Andrew Moritz.

“This year, we’re fortunate to display some incredible pieces from the state collection, including three rarely seen passenger carriages, which were first introduced to the NSW Government Railways in the 1890s.”

Highlights of the Transport Heritage Expo will be a one-hour steam train ride to Hurstville and return, a trip on a vintage electric train and a ride on a timber-bodied railmotor on a tour of the Botany freight line.

Vintage bus rides will include "a 29-minute round trip of the Sydney CBD aboard a lovingly restored vintage double-decker bus from the Sydney Bus Museum". That's a pretty precise time frame given Sydney traffic! 

There will also be 45-minute harbour cruise on a choice of the Waratah or Lady Hopetoun – two 120-year-old veterans of Sydney Harbour.

Tickets are on sale now at or by calling 1300 115599.

Images: Steve Burrows

Thursday, 21 September 2023

Adelaide Hills set to sparkle


The Adelaide Hills wine region will turn on its sparkling style next month  

The annual Sparkling Springtm festival will run from Friday October 20 to Sunday October 22 for its second edition after a successful start last year. 

The festival will feature tasting events, bites, degustation lunches and live music. 

Participating wineries will include leading sparkling producers including DAOSA, Deviation Road, Lobethal Road, Mount Lofty Ranges Vineyard, Golding, Croser, Howard Vineyard, Sidewood, Bird in Hand, The Lane and Nepenthe. 

Alex Trescowthick, president of the Adelaide Hills Wine Region said the event “shines a light on the amazing sparkling wines being made here in the Adelaide Hills.

“Sparkling wine is one of the hidden gems of the Adelaide Hills wine region. Our cool climate provides the perfect growing conditions for sparkling varieties, chardonnay and Pinot noir. The talented Hills’ winemakers use traditional methods to craft some of the country’s most outstanding sparkling wines.

“October is great time to visit the Adelaide Hills. Expect warm sunny weather and picturesque vineyards with swathes of new leaves to signify the start of the growing season. It’s a great time to discover your favourite sparkling to enjoy over the coming festive season.”

Full details at 

Tasting with some of Tasmania's best wine producers

Here is the perfect excuse for any interstate wine lovers who have been thinking about visiting Tasmania and popping by some cellar doors.

Wine South will host the annual Spring in the Vines Festival over the weekend of November 3-5.

Producers throughout the Coal River Valley, Derwent Valley, Tasmania Peninsula and Huon Valley/d'Entrecasteaux Channel will be opening up for tastings of new releases, older vintages, food and fun.

Spring in the Vines began in 2020 to showcase Southern Tasmania’s cool-climate wines and scenic vineyards.Producers large and small - some who do not usually open to the public - will open up to visitors, allowing wine lovers to chat directly with producers.

With more than 5000 visitors anticipated for the 2023 event, the festival provides a significant economic boost to the southern wine region.

“Spring in the Vines is a unique and inclusive festival, bringing together vineyards, wineries, winemakers, and negociants, to showcase southern Tasmania as a premium wine destination,” says Nathalie Urbain from Wine South, the producer collective that organises the event.

Wine South president Mark McNamara says Spring in the Vines is “an event not to be missed by all Tasmanians and visitors to our beautiful state, showcasing the season’s newly released wines.”

Many wineries- over 40 are expected to participate -  will be partnering with local musicians and food producers.

“Spring in the Vines is the perfect chance to emerge from your winter hibernation with friends and family and experience everything that is unique about southern Tasmanian wine, our vineyards and producers, and take home some the best of the new season wines,” McNamara says.

Details at and further updates will be posted closer to the date.

Wednesday, 20 September 2023

Global recognition for Brisbane hotel

 A boutique Brisbane hotel has upstaged properties in Sydney and Melbourne and been named No.12 in a list of The World’s Best 50 Hotels 

The Calile Hotel was also named best in Oceania in the inaugural The World’s 50 Best Hotelawards announced in London today. 


The invitation-only event, attended by representatives from the 50 nominated hotels, was held in the historic Guildhall. 

In attendance for the ceremony, The Calile Hotel co-owner Catherine Malouf said she was extremely proud to be representing the Malouf family (owners) and employees from The Calile at such a significant celebration.


"This is a win for our team, our collaborators, our loyal guests and a win for Brisbane as a destination, and we are humbled to represent the Australian hotel industry on the world stage,” she said. 


"There is no doubt The Calile Hotel has carved a name for itself and sparked a trend in ‘urban resorts’ with its bold architectural commitment, sustainable practises and by embracing its local and sub-tropic climate within an urban setting." 


There are, of course, several of these lists, but it is nonetheless noteworthy recognition. 


 Speaking at the opening of the awards event, the managing director of World’s 50 Best Group Tim Brooke-Webb said: “The 50 Best Hotels has redefined hospitality - setting new standards and pushing boundaries to create unique moments for your guests.” 

So plenty of hype there. 


Hotel general manager Rob Unson said: “Being named 12 in the world was a fitting fifth birthday present for the 175-room boutique hotel and a great win for Australian tourism.


"It takes an outstanding team to deliver outstanding guest experiences, and I want to take a moment to thank the hotel team – from our housekeepers to our pool attendants, maintenance and kitchen teams and our front of house guest service attendants who go above and beyond to welcome our guests back through the arches time and time again.”


Voting criteria was based on selecting seven best hotel experiences during the voting period. Voters were asked to consider every element of the hotel’s operation from first contact pointto room comfort, quality of food and beverage, on-site facilities and check out.