East Coast Wine Trail

East Coast Wine Trail
East Coast Wine Trail

Friday, 24 March 2023

Really Cool new airline plans

If you want to fly with a really cool airline then keep an eye out for a new Thailand airline called Really Cool Airlines.

The new carrier has unveiled plans to launch flights by the end of the year, Travel Mole reports.

CEO Patee Sarasin said Really Cool will announce route details by the end of June.

Patee is the former chief executive of Thai budget carrier Nok Air.

The new Thailand airline will focus on international routes and has revealed its tagline ‘We Fly the Future.’

Patee aims to position Really Cool Airlines in the hybrid segment, between low cost and full service.

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Global recognition for Brisbane Airport hotel

Airport hotels can be strange beasts where many guests stay just one night, and often rise before dawn to catch an early flight.

One Brisbane Airport hotel has made a major impact on its guests, however, to have been named Best Airport Hotel Australia/Pacific for the second straight year at the Skytrax World Airport Awards.

Pullman Brisbane Airport was also named in 10th position in the World's Best Airport Hotels 2023.

Alex Penklis, Chief Operating Officer of Brisbane Airport Hotels Group (BAHG), said to have received these accolades for the third year in the five years of the hotel's operation was a testament to the dedication and quality of service shown by everyone involved.

“The entire team at Pullman Brisbane Airport is extremely proud of these Skytrax accolades," he said. "To have maintained our position as the number one airport hotel in the Australia/Pacific region for the third time in five years, with two of those awards years impacted by a global pandemic, is a truly outstanding achievement.

“I am incredibly proud of what our dedicated team has been able to achieve, both at the Pullman Brisbane Airport and also the Novotel Brisbane Airport, who secured fourth position in the Best Airport Hotel Australia/Pacific ratings.

"We have experienced a challenging couple of years, however we have never stopped working hard to maintain and deliver our world-class level of service for our guests.”

Pullman Brisbane Airport, which opened in October 2017, is part of a $150 million project which includes the 243-room ibis Brisbane Airport and the Brisbane Airport Conference Centre.

For further information see www.worldairportawards.com/

Virgin Australia re-boots flights to Samoa

Virgin Australia has resumed flights to Samoa with up to two flights a week between Sydney-Apia and Brisbane-Apia.

Virgin has also launched a 72-hour Samoa sale, with return airfares available from $549 (economy lite).

Both routes will be serviced by Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Virgin Australia Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Alistair Hartley said the return was welcome news for travellers across the Pacific.

“There is a strong Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) market in Samoa," he said. 

“It’s an exciting step in the rebuilding of our short-haul international network and comes ahead of our return to Vanuatu later this month.

“Samoa is well-known for its rich culture and friendly locals and has been a popular destination in the Virgin Australia network since 2005.”

Samoa Tourism Authority CEO Pativaine Petaia-Tevita said: “The return of Virgin Australia flights from Australia to Samoa is wonderful news for the nation, boosting collective efforts to rebuild and recover Samoa’s visitor economy.

“With a diverse flight schedule it means more and more travellers will be able to make their way to us to experience Fa`a-Samoa, our beautiful culture and way of life.”

For more information or to book, visit virginaustralia.com.

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Qantas promises a better in-flight food experience

Qantas has boasted that customers travelling across its regional, domestic and international networks can expect better a in-flight and lounge dining experience as the airline rolls out a menu enhancement program this month.

The additional multi-million dollar investment introduces new dishes and larger portions across all cabins, using high-quality ingredients from premium Australian producers.

I'm flying tomorrow, and although I no longer have Qantas Club lounge access we'll see if the flight experience has improved.

Qantas says the move is "the single biggest investment in Qantas in-flight and lounge dining in a decade" and comes as the airline returns to profit and accelerates its customer investment programs.

The menu changes follow an overhaul of the domestic economy menu in October 2022, including offering a vegetarian option for all meals.

Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Markus Svensson said new dishes, generous portions and premium produce would take the in-flight dining experience to a new level.

“Premium food and wine is one of the top three reasons our customers choose to fly with Qantas, so this significant boost means we will be able further our efforts to deliver a world-class experience in the sky,” he said.

“We are proud to work with established and emerging Australian food and wine producers to offer the best possible dining experience to our customers.”

Qantas Creative Director of Food, Beverage and Service Neil Perry, who has worked with Qantas for 25 years, said: “We are spoilt for choice in Australia when it comes to being able to source top quality food from fantastic Australian producers, and together with generous servings and great service, these are the key ingredients to creating an enjoyable meal.”

The new menus have begun rolling out on domestic flights and will launch on international services from March 29.

New aged sparkling wine stars in Brown Brothers' Patricia releases

A new aged sparkling wine is a special release as part of Brown Brothers 20th anniversary Patricia reserve wine range.

The 2010 Extended Lees Patricia Sparkling, a wine that has been kept on lees for over 12 years, is the new addition to a range that honours late family matriarchs Patricia Brown.

The newcomer is made using pinot noir and chardonnay grapes grown in the King Valley in north-east Victoria - close to Brown Brothers' base at Milawa.

"The 2010 vintage had so much lively acid and freshness, we thought it would be great to keep a small number of bottles back and age it," says Cate Looney, Brown Brothers' senior winemaker.

"It has resulted in beautiful creamy, nutty, dried fig characters you get with this extra time on lees."

This is the 20th release for Brown Brothers most premium range, which includes the 2017 Patricia Sparkling, 2021 Patricia Chardonnay, 2018 Patricia Shiraz, and 2018 Patricia Cabernet Sauvignon.

“Patricia wines are renowned for their exceptional quality,” says Cate. “We blind benchmark each release against local and international peer wines and as we produce each vintage we're reminded of Patricia's wise words: ‘You can name this range after me, but it better be bloody good!’

"Our commitment to upholding her legacy remains unwavering even after 20 vintages.”

The 2010 Extended Lees Sparkling will be available to purchase at Brown Brothers cellar door and online at brownbrothers.com.au for $160 in a single gift box.

I shall report back when I have tasted it.

Want to enjoy a luxury Barossa weekend with a stint as a winemaker

Serious about wine? Love a luxury lifestyle?

The Louise, one the very best addresses in the Barossa, is launching a new winemaker event series launching in April.

Now part of the Baillie Lodges group, The Louise will kick off with the Tscharke Experience Vintage package, featuring the resort's closest neighbour, Tscharke Wines, from April 28-May 1.

Next up will be a partnership with historic family winery Yalumba over the dates of June 23-25, with the expperience to be led by chief winemaker Louisa Rose.

The Tscharke Experience Vintage package offers guests staying at The Louise the chance to be winemaker for a day.

Running during vintage, guests staying at the luxury lodge will venture behind-the-scenes and be part of the winemaking action.

Guests will join the Tscharke winemakers for hands-on, three-hour experience of vintage, which includes an exclusive tasting of the current vintage wines plus two specially selected back vintages to be sampled in the Underground Cellar.

The experience starts with a welcome drink in the winery’s Protagonist bar, before a tour of the winery where guests will witness the journey of the fruit as progresses through the winemaking process.

Guests can join in activities including tasting ferments, testing baumé and monitoring ferment temperatures.

The Tscharke Experience Vintage package may be taken over any two nights over the long weekend with an option of adding an extra night or two on either side.

The Tscharke Experience Vintage weekend coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Barossa Vintage Festival with some 75 events dotted around the Barossa over the weekend.

Becoming a winemaker in not a cheap experience.

Rates for the Tscharke Experience Vintage package start at $3,450 per couple for two night with several inclusions.

See www.thelouise.com.au.

Baillie Lodges’ Australian properties are all members of Luxury Lodges of Australia.