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Wednesday 31 July 2019

Wine lovers can now sleep in a giant wine barrel

Fancy sleeping in a giant wine barrel? A quirky luxury resort in Portugal is offering exactly that opportunity. 

The Wine House Hotel - Quinta da Pacheca in the Douro Valley, has transformed a series of its giant wine barrels into comfy hotel rooms, so you can sleep in the heart of the vineyard.

It is the ultimate glamping experience for any wine lover.

The wine barrels are nestled in the Quinta da Pacheca vineyard, meaning that guests can open up the doors and enjoy unrivalled views of the landscape.

Inside your barrel there is everything you need for a comfortable stay; a large double bed, a shower room, sink and toilet.

It's got a rustic chic vibe thanks to the wooden interiors, but still plenty of little luxurious touches for a luxury feel.

Each barrel also has a small terrace with wicker furniture so you can sit outside and enjoy the views - along with a glass or two local wine. 

The Wine House Hotel also offers more conventional rooms inside its main building, a restored 18th-century home, with double bedroom and en suite bathrooms.

There's also a buffet-style breakfast where guests can tuck into hearty meals, while the on-site restaurant offers up some mouthwatering gourmet takes on local dishes (paired with local wines).
For details see:

Tuesday 30 July 2019

New vodka flavours push the boundaries

Flavoured vodkas are all the rage, but Cape Grim 666 Vodka from Tasmania has pushed the envelope with two recent releases featuring indigenous flavours.

The release of Lemon Myrtle Honey and Wattleseed Coffee coincided withe launch of new packaging by the boutique brand. 

The new flavours are sourced from the very best of Australia’s native produce, the press release says.

Cape Grim 666 Vodka has been Australia's leading premium craft vodka since 2007 and makes much play on its celebration of Tasmania’s Cape Grim region – a pristine and untouched wilderness that reputedly has the freshest rainwater in the world.

Cape Grim 666 Vodka Lemon Myrtle Honey uses honey from Kangaroo Island and has eucalypt and citrus notes. 

Cape Grim 666 Vodka Wattleseed Coffee is bill as the the world’s first cold-filtered coffee vodka created with artisan coffee specialists St Ali. I really liked this one and will be trying it in some cocktails.

Dean Lucas, founder of Cape Grim 666 Vodka, said: “The driving force behind the new label design was to bring 666 Vodka’s craft brand story back into the limelight creating a tangible link to Cape Grim, allowing bartenders to expand on and share their local craft spirit knowledge with customers.

"“With the rise in demand for fresh and unique tasting cocktails, we saw a great opportunity to showcase local Australian ingredients and create unique profiles. As the only craft producer 100% focused on vodka we are thrilled to bolster our product variety and deliver on-trend flavours that will excite cocktail lovers.”

Cape Grim 666 Vodka Lemon Myrtle Honey and Cape Grim 666 Vodka Wattleseed Coffee are available in select on-premise venues and through independent retailers nationally for $65. 

The rise and rise of Singapore's budget airline

Scoot Airlines, the budget offshoot of Singapore Airlines, has revealed plans to buy 16 Airbus A321neos to its fleet to support growth plans. 

The 16 brand-new aircraft will progressively arrive from the last quarter of 2020 and flyers can look forward to aircraft being deployed on medium-haul routes within six hours of Singapore.

The new fleet will enable Scoot to meet its double-digit growth plan by the end of financial year 2020-2021. 

Scoot CEO Lee Lik Hsin said: “The A321neos will inject growth possibilities to our network plans for 2020 and beyond, and it is apt that we have named the first aircraft ‘Wings of Change’. 

"Customers will be greeted by our brand-new cabin interiors, with seat products they are already familiar with. We hope the process of introducing this new fleet into our Scoot family will be as exciting for our customers as it is for us.”

With the A321neo, Scoot will be able to operate its single-aisle flights with what it describes as "unmatched levels of efficiency, benefiting from the highest commonality of the Airbus product range". 

This includes shared resources in spares, tools, similar maintenance engineering, pilots and cabin crew.

Scoot has carried over 60 million passengers and now has a fleet of 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 29 Airbus A320 family aircraft. 

Scoot’s network presently encompasses 67 destinations across 17 countries and territories, with nine more destinations from China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia to join the network by the second half of 2020. 

Find out more on

A new wine range from one of Australia's leading makers

One of Australia’s most respected winemakers, Andrew ‘Ox’ Hardy, has launched Ox Hardy, a range of wines that he says represents a combination of people, vineyard, history and winemaking provenance.

The former Petaluma and Knappstein winemaker and his late father Bob started making small amounts of shiraz from the last remaining 2.54-hectare block of 1891 Ancestor Vines on their family’s Upper Tintara Vineyard, around 20 years ago.

The block, planted by Andrew’s great-great grandfather Thomas Hardy, known as the ‘Father of the South Australian Wine Industry’, is one of Australia’s most important viticultural assets featuring some of Australia’s oldest and most valuable vines.

Drawing from these exceptional vines and more than 36 years of winemaking experience, Andrew persisted in making small amounts of 1891 Ancestor Vine Shiraz each vintage, which he claims to have been ‘a bit like ripping up $100 bills in the shower’.

The limited amounts of wine produced from this block were cellared and hidden from the public for two decades until the first release this month.

Due to the limited amount of 1891 Ancestor Vines remaining, the wine is made in extremely small quantities. The first 2008 vintage of Ox Hardy’s 1891 Ancestor Vine Shiraz has been released with around 800 perfectly cellared bottles that will be sold on a strict allocation basis.

Alongside the release of the 1891 Ancestor Vine Shiraz is the Upper Tintara Vineyard Shiraz.

Affectionately named ‘Little Ox’, this 2016 Shiraz has been sourced from millennium shiraz plantings on the Hardy family’s Upper Tintara Vineyard.

Purchased by Thomas Hardy in McLaren Vale in 1871, the picturesque 141-hectare property is also home to the original Upper Tintara Winery, which fell into disuse in 1923 following Thomas Hardy’s passing in 1912.

In 2018, Andrew ‘Ox’ Hardy made wine in the original slate open fermenters for the first time in 95 years. He plans an ongoing winemaking program on-site.

The 1891 Ancestor Vine Shiraz: 2008 Vintage has an RRP of $225. The Upper Tintara Vineyard Shiraz: 2016 Vintage will cost $38.

For details see

Monday 29 July 2019

Surprise as McGuigan quits Australian Vintage role

Neil McGuigan, wine marketer supreme, is to quit his job as Australian Vintage Limited CEO effective immediately after the company's 2019 AGM and will be commencing a new role as the company’s technical advisor.

Craig Garvin has been appointed CEO elect and will take-up the position of CEO when McGuigan formally steps down after the AGM on 20 November 2019.

McGuigan joined the business in 2004 as general manager for wine supply, before being appointed as
CEO, a role he has proudly held for nine years. 

During his tenure, AVG has emerged from being largely a a bulk wine supplier to a globally-respected producer of quality branded wine. 

McGuigan is now the second-largest-selling wine brand in the UK and is home to Australia’s No.1 branded bottled red wine.

McGuigan’s winemaking skills have been recognised globally. 

He has been named International Winemaker of the Year four times at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London as well as White Winemaker of the Year on four occasions at the International Wine Challenge. 

McGuigan said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as CEO, working with our talented team to create fantastic brands that are enjoyed around the globe. Being able to continue contributing to the company in the future, building on what my brother Brian started when he established the business in 1992, is very gratifying.”

Richard Davis, Chairman of AVG, said: “Neil has a great passion for the wine industry and has done a tremendous job as CEO of this company. During his time as CEO he has transformed it into a well-
respected branded wine company with a clear focus on developing world leading quality wine. We thank him for all his efforts in the role of CEO.”

Garvin (below) will join the business in September  before being appointed as CEO in November.

For the last nine years, Garvin was CEO of leading dairy manufacturer, Parmalat, having previously held senior positions at Star City Casino, Campbell Arnott’s and Lion Nathan. 

No specific wine experience, however, which seems to me a little odd. 

Garvin said: “I am looking forward to working with the executive leadership team to keep developing and empowering the talent at AVG. 

@I’m excited to build on Neil’s successful transformation of this company and to support the existing strategies into outcomes that generate long-term profitable growth for the company and our shareholders.”

East Perth and Accor go modular

Accor, the largest operator of hotels and resorts in Australia, has teamed with the Rehawk Property Group on the new-build ibis Styles East Perth - the world's largest high-rise modular hotel, in terms of room numbers offered.

Consistent with their bold, distinctive hotel designs, ibis Styles, Accor's playful economy brand, has embraced the rising modular construction trend, which sees entire rooms built in modules in half the time of a regular build and constructed like pieces of Lego. 

ibis Styles East Perth adds 252 guest rooms to East Perth's hotel supply, spanning 18 floors, beating the world's current tallest modular hotel, in terms of room numbers offered. 

Located within walking distance to Optus Stadium and a short walk to the WACA, ibis Styles East Perth is being promoted as "the perfect destination for sports and live music fans, or those seeking a scenic city stay close to the Langley Park action and events such as polo in the city and the Sky Show.

Guests and visitors will be offered meals at the Eastside Social Bar and Restaurant. Other hotel amenities include a 24-hour state-of-the-art gymnasium, high-tech urban offices and a co-working space for guests and locals.

Accor Pacific's Chief Operating Officer, Simon McGrath, said: “The economy hotel sector is rapidly changing in Australia with our economy hotel product becoming vastly different from where it was even a decade ago. 

"Guests are increasingly sensitive to the aesthetics of a hotel space and to the sensations stirred by design elements: they expect more than just 'accommodation'. "

The hotel is family-friendly with inter-connecting rooms available with bunk beds designed with children in mind. All rooms have been digitally well-appointed including free wifi, ChromeCast, USB and HDMI connectivity and USB charging.

The ibis Styles East Perth is located at 69 Adelaide Terrace, East Perth, Western Australia.


Sunday 28 July 2019

Exploring the best of Tasmania - by bus and boat

Choices; choices.

We are sitting in front of a roaring log fire in the lounge at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. The wilderness setting is a quintessentially Tasmanian experience.

We must decide whether to attend a wine tasting accompanied by a range of gourmet cheeses, or to venture outside on a guided night tour of the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park to look for wombats, wallabies, possums, pademelons and a Tassie Devil or two.

A couple of days earlier we had been taking in the impressive views of Hobart’s fishing fleet from the Grand Chancellor Hotel faced with a similar dilemma.

Should we explore the many gourmet charms of Salamanca market, head out for a walk along the Hobart Rivulet or perhaps enjoy a glass or two of local wine at one of the Tasmanian capital’s many boutique bars.

And a couple of days later who would have to select between a climb to explore the iconic volcanic plug known as The Nut in Tasmania’s north-east, or settle in for the chance to sample several of the Apple Isle’s growing number of artisan whisky producers.

This is a tour which you need both an inquisitive palate (Leatherwood honey anyone, or perhaps a seafood buffet overlooking Strahan Harbour?), and a solid pair of walking shoes.  

Unlike many bus tours, APT Touring’s eight-day seven-night Cradle Country exploration (Tour code: RTHL8) is all about personal decisions. If you want to explore the remarkable flora and fauna there are several open-air opportunities, if gourmet treats are more your style then you have no shortage of opportunities.

Given Tasmania’s winding country roads and the plethora of wildlife on those roads at night, a luxury bus tour is a very good way to explore the isle, with highlights including a chance to explore the dramatic untouched wilderness of the Tarkine and plenty of opportunities to peel away from your fellow travellers should you be needing some “me” time.

A spa treatment, perhaps, or a helicopter ride over Dove Lake?

The tour uses some of the best accommodation in Tasmania, including the new and impression Peppers Silo Hotel in Launceston, and takes in wine and food highlights including a wine tasting followed by lunch at the beautiful Josef Chromy winery, which offers stunning lake and vineyard views.

There’s time for a tutored wine tasting, that gourmet lunch (pan-roasted local boarfish with South Coast octopus, perhaps, followed by Leatherwood honey parfait), and a stroll around the grounds.

All meals on tour (and most are included) offer a choice (usually three mains and three desserts), along with some vegetarian options.

Our group picked a cruise on the brand-new luxury river explorer Spirit of The Wild to Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon River in wild western Tasmania is its highlight – with chances to get off and explore the former Sarah Island convict settlement and the natural beauty of Heritage Landing’s rainforest.

But even this half-day cruise has a gourmet element with morning tea (snacks included local Ashgrove cheese and pepperberry tarts with onion marmalade) and a buffet lunch featuring local seafood (ocean trout with myrtle butter sauce), as well as free pour wines from some of Tasmania’s best names, including Stefano Lubiana, Holm Oak, Derwent Estate and Cape Bernier.

We feasted greedily while taking in some of Australia’s most spectacular wilderness. The Spirit of the Wild switches to a silent electric motor when on the river.   

Every day, whether you are enjoying a chocolate tasting at Anvers in Latrobe, or a bush picnic with Ghost Rock wine and local cakes, is a celebration of Tasmania’s local produce.

Both our driver and tour guide have the knack of making us feel completely at ease, whether we want to follow the itinerary or strike out on our own. There is plenty of free time and only on one day do we feel fatigued by the kilometres we’ve covered.

Every day offers authentic Tasmanian experiences; as someone who has lived in Tasmania for a decade, I learnt a lot and had fun, too. I particularly enjoyed two new experiences; the hundreds of colourful murals in the town of Sheffield and a Tasmanian craft whisky tasting at the Angel’s Share in Stanley (others in our group headed off to feast on local crayfish).

APT is a family-owned operation that has been in business for 90 years so they know what they are doing. The tour offers a comprehensive introduction into Tasmania’s natural wonders and compelling history (from lunch at an old logging pub at Derwent Bridge to a stroll in the beautiful Mount Field National Park).

A longer Apple Isle tour (Tasmania Complete RTH12) is also available.

For details or bookings call the APT reservations team on 1300 655 965, or visit 

The writer was a guest of APT and this story first appeared in Selector Magazine. 

Friday 26 July 2019

Why you should avoid Hong Kong Airport

Travellers to Hong Kong are being warned that protests are due to take place in the airport on Friday, Travel Mole reports.

Several large-scale anti-government protests have taken place throughout Hong Kong in recent weeks, including in Kowloon and in various suburbs in the New Territories.

Protestors are planning to demonstrate in Hong Kong airport terminal 1 arrivals hall on Friday afternoon.

Singapore and the UK are among countries issuing advisories to their citizens.

Protest organisers have made it clear it has not been approved by the airport authority or any airline.

Analysts say any protest inside the airport - even a peaceful one - will likely affect normal airport operations and further negatively affect Hong Kong's image in the eyes of arriving tourists.

Thursday 25 July 2019

Dear parents: children are your responsibility

Last week we had the terrible story of a child dying after family members on a cruise forgot to check if there was a window in place where the youngster was playing. 

A tragedy. 

This week we had a child playing on a baggage carousel at Atlanta Airport that was sucked down into a tunnel. 

Years ago there was Maddie McCann, whose parents thought it was OK to leave her unattended while they ate and drank. 

Parents seem to forget that just because they are on holiday they need to take the same precautions as they would at home. Their children are their responsibility.

Officials at the world's busiest airport are still investigating how a toddler went on a wild ride on a baggage conveyor belt into a restricted area.

A two-year-old boy suffered a hand fracture at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport after jumping on the belt while his mother was printing out boarding passes from an automated machine.

The boy's mother, Edith Vega, told Channel 2 Action News she looked round and saw him ride the belt, and moments later disappear from view.

He then disappeared into a restricted area with no one close enough to grab him in time. 

These are all accidents - but for parents to threaten legal action is a knee jerk.    


Wednesday 24 July 2019

New-look and techno leap for popular Australian wines

Family-owned Taylors Wines has undergone a total portfolio refresh, updating its Estate, Jaraman and St Andrews labels, giving each range a new look for the winery’s 50th anniversary.

Taking the refresh beyond the bottle and label, the family has explored the use of augmented reality (AR) to further enhance the wine drinking experience.

Through the new Taylors Wines mobile app, available on both the App Store and Google Play, wine lovers can discover the history behind the 50-year-old winery through an AR animation feature.

“This is an exciting new step into how devoted drinkers engage with Taylors Wines,” third-generation managing director and winemaker Mitchell Taylor said.

While the re-design enhances the premium cues across each range and provides greater consistency across the entire portfolio, it’s the mobile technology that stands out to Mitchell Taylor.

“While the redesign honours each of the ranges’ original designs, we’ve taken the update one step further into the future through the use of AR,” he said.

“The new application will give Taylors wine drinkers the opportunity to learn more about our family, our winery and the wine they are enjoying. And we have some exciting plans to further develop the app experience in the future.”

The mobile app, developed in collaboration with digital agency Talkin’ Things, allows wine drinkers to unlock the AR experience using the ‘scan' feature with any bottle of Taylors Wines. 

Upon scanning and recognising the bottle, the application automatically initiates the animated AR feature of Taylors history.

In addition to the label scanning feature, purchasers of The Legacy 2014 (Taylors new super-premium cabernet blend) will be able to access a ‘verify’ feature to ensure the wine is authentic and unopened. 

The feature uses a unique NFC chip installed on the screw cap to communicate with
the smartphone.

The refreshed look across Taylors Estate, Jaraman and St Andrews ranges is rolling out now, with the Taylors Wines mobile app available from today on the Apple App Store and Google Play store.

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Monaco speeds into 21st century as Australia stagnates

While Australians struggle with their second-rate NBN (thanks Malcolm) the Principality of Monaco is now completely connected to 5G making it the first in the world to achieve total coverage with the high-speed technology.

The 5G roll-out is the first pillar of the Extended Monaco program.

Frédéric Genta, the country's Chief Digital Officer, highlighted the enormous change that 5G will bring about: “5G is not simply an improved version of 4G, it represents a paradigm shift. Whilst all of the previous generations focused on telecommunications and exchanges between individuals, 5G is shaping the integration of digital technology into every part of our society and our economy.

"Energy, health, media and transport will all be transformed thanks to 5G... The technology offers enormous opportunities for the Principality, its residents, its public policies and its economy, and these will benefit everyone.

This new technology is essential if we are to offer our clients better service and meet their growing expectations for high-speed mobile access.

“The future applications of 5G in the everyday lives of Monegasques look extremely promising. In parallel with the launch of 5G, Monaco Telecom is continuing to roll out its fibre network in order to deliver service quality that is acknowledged as the best in the world. This is our goal for the company and our mission as the national operator.”

From a technical point of view, 5G will make it possible to increase speeds ten-fold and reduce connection times by 10. Simultaneous processing will also be improved ten-fold and will be able to support more connected objects via antennae.

“5G represents an enormous opportunity for us to attract further demand from both MICE and leisure segments” said Alison Roberts-Brown, Regional Director of Visit Monaco Australia and New Zealand.

“This is yet another testament of Monaco's dynamic, innovative and forward-thinking approach and commitment to offering its visitors nothing but the best quality services” she added.

As part of the “Smart Principality” concept, developed by the #ExtendedMonaco program, Monaco is also currently trialling its first autonomous electric shuttle bus, providing a service for residents and tourists.

Monday 22 July 2019

Iconic South African hotel encourages longer stays

South Africa is one of my favourite three countries to visit (France and Thailand are the others, thanks for asking). 

Cape Town is my No.1 destination city in South Africa, and the Table Bay is one of my top hotel picks. 

I mention this because The Table Bay just announced a saving of 10% on stays of a minimum four nights. 

The waterfront is a popular holiday hot spot for Australians and New Zealanders and offers a range of  guest experiences in and around the perfectly situated location including:

# Surroundings that include the busy harbour and splendid views of Cape Town's Table Mountain 

# Treatments at Camelot Spa

# Shopping at renowned shopping destination, the V&A Waterfront

# Exploring Cape Town with tour packages booked by The Table Bay’s travel desk

# Reaching new heights aboard the hop-on-hop-off shuttle service operating every two hours from The Table Bay from 9am-50pm with stops at the Convention Centre and Greenmarket Square en route to Table Mountain

# Free wifi access throughout hotel 

Part of Sun International’s Sunlux Collection, The Table Bay Extend Your Stay and Save 10% offer is non-refundable and valid on bookings across all room categories until December 31, 2019 with lead-in rate of ZAR 3345 per person twin share for four nights.

For information and bookings for The Table Bay in Australia, contact The Unique Tourism Collection on (02) 9211 6590.

Jansz ups the ante with new release

A few weeks ago I spent a lovely time at the Jansz cellar door in Tasmania, tasting the impressive current releases and sampling some local cheeses.

Jansz, one of the pioneers of sparking wine in Tasmania, has released its latest Single Vineyard Vintage Chardonnay in new, luxurious full-on Champenoise packaging.

Jansz Tasmania Single Vineyard Vintage Chardonnay 2014 is bottled in premium clear glass, signifying the purity and elegance of the Blanc de Blancs style and the terroir.

Just as some of the world’s finest Champagne houses have done, the distinct packaging
visually elevates the Vintage Chardonnay to the pinnacle of the Jansz Tasmania collection.

“We know that consumers are seeking theatre and innovation to engage with the premium
sparkling wine category," said Jansz Tasmania marketing manager Christine Phillips. "The Jansz Tasmania Single Vineyard Vintage Chardonnay is now packaged to encapsulate luxury and elegance. 

"It’s the perfect gift or added theatre when presented at the table.”
Each bottle is packaged in a luxury gift box for an added element of theatre and to protect
the wine from light exposure during storage.

he wine is sourced from a single block in the Jansz Tasmania Estate Vineyard at Pipers River, and is made only in the very best vintages. 

Jansz Tasmania Single Vineyard Vintage Chardonnay 2014 sells RRP $65. I'll add rtasting notes after sampling the wine.  

Sunday 21 July 2019

New international hotel for Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast of Queensland is to get its first new-buuild hotel since the 1980s. 

Leading Australian hotel investment and development company, Pro-Invest will open a Holiday Inn Express & Suites Sunshine Coast in Maroochydore Town Centre in 2020. 
The 167-room hotel will be located in the heart of the new Maroochydore CBD.
The nine-storey Holiday Inn Express & Suites is planned to have 167 rooms, a swimming pool, bar and dining venue, conference and function facilities, and ground-level retail.
Announcing the project, Ronald Barrott, CEO of Pro-Invest, said the Sunshine Coast was going through an unprecedented economic transformation, and the acquisition of the site was a reflection of the group's ability to target and deliver high-quality hotel development opportunities.
“This will be one of the region's most significant tourism infrastructure projects in decades,” Barrott said.
“While there have been some hotel developments proposed for the Sunshine Coast in recent years, they are still a long way from being realised. In contrast, Pro-Invest has the unique advantage in the Australian hotel landscape of being able to deliver projects from inception to opening.”
It is planned to have the hotel open to coincide with the official launch of the new Sunshine Coast Airport runway at the end of 2020.  

For fireworks head to Macao

Macao is set to celebrate its 20th anniversary as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China with a bang.
For the first time in the three-decade history of the annual Macao International Fireworks Display Contest, the competition will involve 12 nations, two more than in previous challenges.

The contest, to be held over six nights from September 7 until October 5, 2019, will be the most comprehensive and spectacular series of fireworks displays staged in the former Portuguese enclave.
The best vantage points will be along the waterfront near the iconic 338-metre high Macau Tower.
On top of this extravaganza, a special 20th anniversary fireworks night has been scheduled for December 20, the date of the handover in 1999, followed by the traditional New Year fireworks on December 31.
“Anyone who plans to visit Macao before the end of the year can expect some special moments during the year-long 20th anniversary celebrations,” said Helen Wong, general manager of the Macao Government Tourism Office (Australia and New Zealand).
“In addition to the various fireworks, Macao will host a series of major festivals, some that will have you dancing in the streets,” she said.
“Among those is the colourful International Parade along with the inaugural five-month long Art Macao festival which was launched in June and finishes on October 31.
“In line with Macao's designation as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, the mouth-watering Macanese cuisine will be highlighted at the many festivals.”
For dates and details phone (02) 9264 1488 or check out  

Thursday 18 July 2019

New tour is heaven for wine and chocolate lovers

Chocolate and wine lovers will be in food and wine heaven with the launch of a new itinerary for Adelaide Sightseeing's intimate full-day Barossa Food and Wine Experience Tour. 

The tour now visits the new Barossa Valley Chocolate Company making it a day of wine, chocolate, more wine, chocolate, cheese and treats.

The tour begins at Pindarie where vigneron Wendy Allan offers a range of tastings and cheeses in the charm of sandstone stables converted into a cellar door and café. 

Then it is coffee and cake on the verandah, or in winter, cosied up around the fire overlooking the bucolic views dominated by shiraz vines.

Then the tour moves on to Maggie Beer's Farm Shop to see and sample the famous food identity's world of local produce and a close encounter with the The Cook and the Chef' kitchen. 

Lunch is at Lambert Estate, with panoramic vineyard views, halls of local art, and a balcony in summer or by a crackling fire mid-year. Guests will be treated to wine tastings along with family anecdotes and wine notes. 

After a hearty two-course long-table lunch, visitors enjoy a coffee and Chocolatier (chocolate port). 

After lunch a photo stop at Mengler's Hill offers sweeping valley views, before a tasting at the Barossa Valley Chocolate Company.

Sit down to a flight of local Vineyard Road wines and chocolates, with an expert guide revealing why they work so well together together. 

The coach then meanders back to Adelaide through the Adelaide Hills. 

The Barossa Food and Wine Experience Tour is priced at $135 per adult and includes morning pick up and evening set down at selected Adelaide hotels, full-day guided small coach tour with expert commentary by local driver/guide, lunch, all activities and tastings.

The tour departs Adelaide Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Call 1300 769 762 or visit

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Australians can't get enough of home-grown prosecco

Australian wine drinkers are embracing home-grown prosecco as never before, the National Vintage Report released this week shows.

Production of prosecco grapes in Australia (glera in Italy) increased by 42% to 9936 tonnes, moving it into the top 10 white varieties for 2019.

This continued a steady growth trend over the past five years.

The growth in prosecco grape production is mirrored in the domestic wine market, where sales of prosecco have increased by over 100% in the past two years. Prosecco is now the 11th-largest varietal by value in the off-trade retail wine market, the report says.

While grape production and average prices are highest in King Valley, at over $1000/tonne, wine businesses are now growing prosecco across 11 Australian regions.

Tony Battaglene, Chief Executive of Australian Grape & Wine, said: “It’s great to see prosecco being embraced by Australian producers and consumers . Australia has been producing great wine from prosecco gapes for years, which is why we’ve been working so hard to maintain Australian producers’ rights to grow the variety.

“Not only are the sales of the wine positive, but the average price of grapes is the second highest of any other in the top 10 - almost double that of all other white varieties. At a time when grape and wine businesses in communities across rural and regional Australia are working hard to maintain economic viability, this is a terrific result."

There has been fierce Italian opposition to the Australian use of the word prosecco. 

Battaglene added: "There’s no question about Australian producers’ rights to produce, label and sell Australian prosecco. Maintaining these rights, and ensuring the investments growers and winemakers have made in the variety are on solid ground all comes down to the outcome of our free-trade agreement negotiations with the European Union.

"We’ve already won the fight in Australia from a legal perspective back in 2013, and we are delighted the Australian Government continues to honour this court ruling and back Australia’s grape growers and winemakers.”

Tasmania: pretty as a picture

The Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery has unveiled a new winter/spring program that showcases Tasmanian artists.

Running until November, the program encourages audiences to think about their place in the natural world.
“It's important to reflect upon the natural beauty that we're so lucky to be surrounded by here in Tasmania,” said RACT Destinations Chief Operating Officer Andrew Paynter. 
“It's remarkable to see how each artist represents the state through their work.
“Looking at Tasmania from fresh perspectives can inspire us to escape the everyday and get out there and enjoy nature."
The winter/spring program will feature the following artists:
Critical Points by Paul Murphy
Until October 7 
With a strong interest in environmental change, specifically the relationship between man-made and natural materials, Murphy's Critical Points is a response to understanding site.
Making reference to the rock formations of Cataract Gorge, Murphy's clay sculptures explore the connection between the formations' natural creation and their current cultural significance to Tasmanians.
Otherworldliness by Pamela Horsley
Until September 29
Inspired by her home on the Great Western Tiers, Horsley is in constant awe of the Tasmanian wilderness.
As she bushwalks, she takes in the natural sights, sounds and smells, and reflects upon those who have walked before her.
These experiences have made their way into Otherworldliness, a collection of Monotype prints that explore the dynamic relationship between the land and the people that inhabit it.
Everything and Nothing by Adam Gibson
Until October 13
A photographic meditation on winter at Cradle Mountain, Everything and Nothing encapsulates Gibson's search for places that have a magical sense of emptiness. 
Shot this season, Gibson's images focus on landscapes that have been overlooked and abstract moments that embody the characteristics of Tasmania's darker months.
Enchanted Places by Gaynor Peaty and Julie Irvin
Until November 11
Enchanted Places is a joint exhibition by Peaty and Irvin that captures their response to Tasmania's landscape.
Through the art of printmaking, Enchanted Places reflects their personal journeys and travels, as well as the rhythms and patterns of nature that inspire them both.
Perspective by David Murphy
Until November 12
Inspired by the diversity of Tasmania's wild, rugged coastlines and ancient rain forests, Murphy uses photography to share these beautiful parts of the world with his audience.
Through his work, Murphy shows why Tasmania really is a photographer's dream destination.
For more information on the winter/spring exhibition visit