Monday, 20 September 2021

Discover Hobart’s well-located hideaway

It is often lazy journalism to describe a destination as being a “well-kept secret” but in the case of Hobart’s lovely Lenna Hotel it is true.

Tucked away in Battery Point - but just a short stroll to the bars and restaurants of Salamanca - family operated Lenna is hugely popular with regular guests.

It strikes just the right balance. The rooms are upbeat with modern facilities while the public areas have a country manor house vibe.

With several new hotels in Hobart - and more on the way - Lenna operates in a competitive environment. Its two- and three-bedroom penthouse apartments are extremely popular with well-heeled visitors.

I particularly like the staff; they are well-trained and helpful with natural charm.

There is old-school hospitality here: 24-hour reception, complimentary wifi and free on-site parking; something of a rarity in Hobart.

There is an on-site restaurant, Alexanders, room service the cosy Chandelier Lounge Bar, where you can sip on Lenna Gin and Battery Point Distillery Whisky, crafted in the adjacent micro distillery.

Rooms feature either mountain or harbour views and the CBD is just a pleasant stroll away.

The older section of the hotel has many historic nooks and crannies and there are some lovely gardens in which to chill out with a glass of Tasmanian wine.


# The writer was a guest of Lenna of Hobart

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Celebrating 170 years of winemaking in style

Sevenhill Cellars, the founding winery of the Clare Valley, celebrated its 170th birthday this weekend with a party, a new-look label, a new range and a new direction.

Established in 1851 by Jesuits escaping persecution in Europe, Sevenhill has for decades been a quiet achiever in the Clare region. 

It has a fascinating history, compelling cellar door experiences and maintains its Jesuit links. The first seven winemakers at Sevenhill were all Jesuits. 

With a dynamic new general manager in Jonathan O’Neill, and experienced winemaker Will Shield on board - joining a team including two decades plus of viticultural experience in Craig Richards - Sevenhill is being propelled into the modern era. 

Religious labels and some old-fashioned styles are standing aside for exciting new modern branding.

The Sevenhill fruit has always been high quality - with grapes sold to Penfolds for wines including Grange and St Henri - and now there is a look to match. 

The entry level Inigo range and the premium new Sevenhill range feature a journey line over 170 years to the current vintage, linked by what appears to be a vine tendril. The designs are by Scott Carsdale and his team at Voice Design in Adelaide. 

The Inigo range ($25-$28, above) comprises a vibrant 2021 Riesling; a 2021 Pinot Gris; savoury 2019 Barbera; smooth and stylish 2019 Merlot; 2019 Shiraz and 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon. 

The riesling, barbera and merlot all offer excellent value, and all but the pinot gris are estate grown. 

The new Sevenhill range (below) consists of a 2021 27 Miles Riesling, 2020 Spire’s Lament Viognier, 2020 Open Range Grenache, 2020 Thatch and Clay Touriga and the 2019 Quarry Road Cabernet Malbec: all retail for $45-$50 except the greanche - made from 100-year-old vines - which comes in at $80 but offers a special experience. 

The grenache and the touriga were my standouts with the riesling potentially very long lived. 

Birthday party guests also got to try gems including the 2005 St Aloysius Riesling, a Classic Topaque and a Fine Old Tawny. 

Readers of this blog can sample the new releases with a very generous 20% discount by using the code 170Years with their online or cellar door orders before the end of the month. 

“It is a very exciting time for Sevenhill,” says GM O’Neill. “We’ve been a sleeper but are ready to move into the future. The fruit is on our doorstep and we are ready to spread the word about the strides we have made. 

“We hope the new Sevenhill range will change perceptions about our wines. We have small parcels of premium fruit, new labels, and are showcasing some different varieties.”

Experienced winemaker Shields (above) echoes those thoughts. 

“We are now making small-batch contemporary styles along with the more traditional styles or which Sevenhill is best known,” he says. 

To find more details, or order with the discount, visit But be quick. 

Is Red Bull full of bull?

It is probably fair to say that only a moron in a hurry would be confused between the sickly energy drinks global giant Red Bull and boutique English gin distillery Bullards. 

The Austrian-based global behomoth is claiming, however, that the use of “Bull” in the Bullards name is a theat to its brand. 

The BBC reports that Norwich-based Bullards has been told there was a "likelihood of confusion on behalf of the public" as both brand names "include the term bull".

Red Bull is opposing an application to register the mark Bullards before the UK Intellectual Property Office.

Bullards, originally founded in 1837, said the claim was "ludicrous". 

In a legal letter, Red Bull said it was "prepared to resolve this dispute" if Bullards deleted a series of goods and services from its trademark application and registration, including energy drinks, events and non-alcoholic beverages.

"Our client recognises that your client's brand stems from a historical family business and so it has asked us to highlight that it does not want to prevent your client from doing anything it has historically done," the letter said. 

“What they're claiming is ludicrous," said Russell Evans of Bullards. 

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Asian tourism gearing up for post-Covid re-start

Industry leaders across the Asia Pacific region are planning a co-ordinated re-start of tourism across the region.

During this week's 33rd joint meeting of the World Tourism Organization's Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and its Commission for South Asia, tourism ministers and other stakeholders discussed the challenges ahead and the impact of the pandemic.

The region was the first to be affected and remains the hardest hit with UNWTO data also showing that Asia continues to have the largest proportion of destinations closed to tourists.

The region experienced a 95% fall in international arrivals in the first five months of 2021.

Member states focused on the co-ordination of policy measures to get tourism activities up and running again.

They will also work on a co-ordinated phased lifting on travel restrictions and the implementation of travel corridors.

Post-pandemic, they agreed to develop programs for upgrading the skills of the tourism labour force and digital transformation.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: "The Asia and Pacific region has a proven record as a dynamic tourism destination. With the right policy measures and strong coordination, destinations can start safely welcoming back international visitors."

Friday, 17 September 2021

A new Tasmanian walk with a comfortable bed each night

Given its incredible scenery, it is no surprise that wilderness walks are popping up all over Tasmania like mushrooms.

The latest is a new Lake St Clair, Cradle Mountain and Walls of Jerusalem walk. 

It features four days of pure Tasmanian wilderness with a shower, glass of wine and comfortable bed at the end of each day.

And the adventure is designed for guests who want to experience hiking in Cradle Mountain National Park without having to undertake an arduous walking experience with heavy packs. This new walk is day packs only.  

Life’s An Adventure have chosen some of the the best Tasmanian trails and combined them with luxury accommodation, Tasmanian food and wine, and knowledgeable guides.

And accommodation includes three nights at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge - one the best accommodation addresses in the state - and dinners in the atmospheric Highland restaurant featuring dishes like wallaby porterhouse scaloppini and pressed Scottsdale pork belly with cauliflower purée and chilli caramel. 

The walks Inside this World Heritage Area wilderness include some of Australia’s unique national parks with diverse animal life, flora and fauna.

The itinerary includes parts of the world-famous Overland Track as well as the Walls of Jerusalem walk.

For further information see 

Most peculiar mama: a colourful wax museum inside a historic fort

When you think of wax museums you probably think of the famous Madame Tussauds in London and other major international cities.

Less likely to come to mind - but found in a far more dramatic location - is the Jaipur Wax Museum in Rajasthan, India, situated in the spectacular 300-year-old Nahargarh Fort on the edge of the wild Aravalli hills. 

The museum has segregated its galleries based on different themes including the Hall of Icons, which showcases iconic personalities from fields including history, cinema, sports, literature, art and culture.

Many of them will be unknown to visitors, but they include such world figures as Mahatma Gandhi, Sachin Tendulkar, Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. 

Also look for the likes of Lionel Messi (updated from Barcelona to PSG gear, I wonder?), Jacky Chan and Marilyn Monroe.  

Next door, the Royal Darbar is decorated with paintings that depict the heritage of Rajasthan. 
Also part of the complex is the Sheesh Mahal, a glass museum that displays approximately 2.5 million glass pieces to create optical illusions.

Established in 2016, the Jaipur Wax Museum is open seven days a week. It was the first wax museum in the world to be opened at a heritage site. 

Many of the figures have been crafted by India’s leading wax sculptor, Susanta Ray. Also on display is the Gati Gamini, a 10-foot long Royal Enfield Bullet, the signature Rajasthan Tourism motorbike.

Visitors should note no photos are allowed and photography is allowed only through paid professional photographers provided by the museum. A nice little earner. 

Air Asia X has regular flights between Kuala Lumpur and Jaipur, Rajasthan. See

Thursday, 16 September 2021

How to avoid screaming babies on long-haul flights

If you have ever spent a long-haul flight being kept awake by a screaming baby while its parents smile serenely, apparently oblivious to their odious offspring's aural assault, then you may welcome measures introduced by Japan Airlines.

Without going as far as Singapore-based Scoot - which has child-free zones on its planes - the airline has a solution for travellers who would rather avoid sitting near young children, introducing a seat map that highlights seats that have been booked for younger passengers. 

If you use the map before you fly then there is a good chance you might be able to avoid having the back of your seat kicked nonstop for 14 hours, or being hit by projectile vomit at 30,000 feet, as nearly happened to me recently. The child missed me by millimetres but did colourfully decorate the centre aisle. 

If course you could still end up sitting next to someone with horrific body odour, or even a world-class snorer. 

And Japan Airlines has not made it clear what would happen if someone with a late booking and a baby or two chooses a seat next to those who have attempted to secure a seat as far away from bubs as possible. 

Japan Airlines' website says: "Passengers travelling with children between eight days and two years old who select their seats on the Japan Airlines website will have a child icon displayed on their seats on the seat selection screen. This lets other passengers know a child may be sitting there."

A good start, but there is still risk involved for the unwary. 

International airlines booming as Australia lags behind

While Qantas and Virgin Australia are considering whether they will be able to resume some international flights in December, other global airlines are being much more proactive.

While Australian carriers have been hampered by the Government's sluggish roll out of Covid-19 vaccinations, Finnair, for instance, has announced it will add more flights and destinations to its network this northern hemisphere winter in response to rising travel demand.

The oneworld carrier has said it is continuing to serve key destinations in Asia. The airline currently has daily flights to Tokyo, Seoul and Bangkok alongside many weekly services to Singapore and Hong Kong.

Finnair’s Osaka service will resume in October and a new route from Helsinki to Nagoya will launch early next year. 

The airline will also begin to serve Dubai with a widebody aircraft. Finnair has previously used Boeing 757s and, more recently, Airbus A321s to operate the service.

The airline currently operates daily flights to New York from its hub in Helsinki. In addition, it serves Los Angeles and Miami three times a week.

Finnair will also launch new services from Stockholm in Sweden to Phuket and Bangkok from October. 

The airline’s new Stockholm hub will also receive a route to Miami, again served by the A350 starting in October. 

Finnair’s European network, meanwhile, will also increase throughout the northern winter. 

Amsterdam, Munich, Dusseldorf, Berlin and Frankfurt are among the cities Finnair will serve twice a day. The airline also connects Helsinki with London and Paris three times a day.

The airline is also introducing Krakow and Gdansk in Poland for the winter season as well as adding services to Spanish holiday destinations such as Malaga, the Canary Islands, Madrid and Barcelona.

Finnair’s Chief Commercial Officer Ole Orvér said: “We are excited to be able to expand the breadth and depth of our network, enabling better connections for customers as travel continues to pick up."

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Enjoy Tasmania's east coast on a stylish mini cruise

Fancy exploring the east coast of Tasmania in style? 

Tasmanian Boat Charters have just launched a East Coast Expedition Cruise to start operation in October. 

The five-day voyage is the first of its kind for the region; on board the custom-built 20-metre Odalisque, which can explore small coves bigger ships cannot reach. 

The new cruise departs from Hobart’s waterfront and hits all the east coast icons and a number of secret spots.

Guests are invited to enjoy this journey at their own pace; they can opt to stay aboard their floating home or venture out for tender excursions, bushwalks and shore explorations. 

The cruise will visit Port Arthur Historic Site, dramatic Cape Hauy, Maria Island and its wildlife wildlife, and the famed arc of Wineglass Bay. 

Each cruise will have an expert skipper and guides, while a chef will prepare meals of the finest Tasmanian produce, paired with East Coast wines and local brews. The menu is designed to celebrate regional fare, and connect guests with winemakers, producers and growers dotted along the coastline.

“As a lover of fresh, sustainable dining, I can't wait to use locally supplied and foraged ingredients from our beautiful island state, says chef Courtney Drew. So think fresh seafood and artisan cheeses 

With capacity limited to just six guests (10 via a private charter), the skipper is able to shape the cruise to meet guests' interests. 

Though weather might dictate some decisions, the proposed five-day itinerary is set to include Port Arthur access, cruising below the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest sea cliffs, a Cape Hauy bushwalk, Maria Island on-foot exploration and highlights of the Freycinet Peninsula including Schouten Island, Wineglass Bay and a three-hour kayaking experience. 

What’s more, with three departure dates set for October, it’s an ideal time to observe the southern migration of Humpback and Southern Right Whales.

Having established a strong reputation through their Port Davey Expedition Cruises in the far south west, the team are excited to invite guests east. 

Come 2022, Tasmanian Boat Charters will offer their Port Davey trips from January until May, including a specialist photography cruise in April. And a new, locally-built tender vessel will soon join the fleet. 


For more information see

New bar and eatery Yardbird to rock Albury

Some of the biggest names in hospitality in Victoria are combining to create a new bar and restaurant in the NSW border city of Albury.

Yardbird, set to open in November, is the brainchild of leading Melbourne restaurateur Denis Lucey and fine dining couple Simon Arkless and Cait Mitchelhill with input from wine guru Ben Knight. 

The team is breathing new life into the former site of the Hogs Breath Café on Townsend St as Albury develops a more sophisticated wining and dining scene. 

Simon, Cait and Denis are bringing slick city vibes to the region’s already strong culinary scene in a saw tooth-roofed former industrial building that was once a mechanics workshop. 

Lucey, from Melbourne's Bottega, has run several top-notch restaurants, while Arkless and Mitchelhill until recently ran the hatted The Terrace at All Saints Estate outside Rutherglen. 

Yardbird promises to be all about "bold flavours" using the intense heat of a newly imported Spanish Mibrasa oven. 

Think dishes like charcoal-grilled Wagyu hanger steak with watercress and fresh horseradish, or a salad of roast Jerusalem artichoke, local blood orange, goat curd and hazelnuts. 

The snack menu will will have a Spanish/Euro feel with charcuterie, tortillas, croquettas and Padrón peppers.

The wine list has been designed by sommelier Knight. Along with Australian favourites, he promises "wines you might well have never heard of". 

The list will feature over 200 wines plus craft beers on tap and cocktails highlighting local distilleries.

Blackwood timber tables and hand-poured concrete are bespoke finishes from the artisans at Steel Road in Yackandandah and Albury locals Slab Culture.

Yardbird will feature booth seating, a combination of high and low tables and a large wood fireplace for cosy, social dining all year round. 

For details see

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

New gourmet drawcard for Northern NSW

Northern New South Wales is about to get a new gourmet drawcard. 

Tweed River House, a new bistro and bar in rural Murwillumbah, will open on Friday, September 24. 

Just down the road from the Tweed Regional Gallery, the colonial-style riverside manor has for over a century been a focal point for great occasions in locals' lives. 

And locals are getting behind the new venture with the first weekend already booked out. 

Tweed River House has sweeping views across the cane fields to Wollumbin and the Border Ranges. 

Guests can dine on the river terrace or inside under elegant pressed-tin ceilings and cooling fans.

“Old world hospitality is our keynote” says Gregory Lording, the general manager and co-owner. “We want guests to feel immersed in the relaxed style of bygone eras - think Singapore’s Raffles and Penang’s E&O dining rooms; and cocktails on the terraces of grand old homes in Australia’s tropical north.

“We are very fortunate to have found so much talent within this region with massive industry experience both here and abroad, who are just delighted to be able to showcase their skills locally.”

Executive Chef Joseph McGrattan, Irish born with an Australian family, has classic European training and a love of fresh local produce. 

He has worked at Kooljaman Resort, Cape Leveque on the Dampier Peninsula and will also be sourcing indigenous ingredients. 

Options will range from light bites to full degustation menus, and there will be special vegan menus available. 

Guests can expect dishes like venison and bush tomato terrine, pancetta, celeriac choucroute, apple, rosella and nasturtium capers, or perhaps Drake Creek duck smoked breast, crispy rillettes, riberry compote, parfait and fig puree. 

The new eatery will be open for lunch Thursday to Sunday and dinner Friday and Saturday. For bookings go to

Artisan winemakers cook up a new Barossa experience

The Barossa - Australia's premier wine tourism region - is set to get a new wine and food destination from next month. 

Eight family-owned wine producers - part of the Artisans of Barossa group - will open a new $3 million venue with a 200-person capacity in October. 

Artisans of Barossa is a group that has been working together since 2005 to promote its wines and raise awareness of the region’s small-batch winemaking scene.

The members comprise John Duval Wines, Spinifex Wines, Purple Hands Winery, Lienert Vineyards, - The Chaffey Bros, Schwarz Wine Co, Hobbs of Barossa Ranges and Sons of Eden. 

The group has already collaborated on two successful venues in the Barossa - their original cellar door to the east of Tanunda which operated for seven years until late 2018, and Vino Lokal Wine Bar & Wine Room in Tanunda, which opened in early 2019.

Artisans' new home, which is being constructed at Kroemer's Crossing in Tanunda, will host wine tastings along with a seven-day-a-week dining program and a store featuring Barossa and South Australian produce.

The menu will be inspired by the culinary traditions of the Barossa, with chef Ryan Edwards working closely with Artisans' winemakers to develop dishes matched to the wines using seasonal produce that is sourced locally. 

Artisans of Barossa spokesperson Howard Duncan said the group had been searching for the right location for some time and were excited with the possibilities that now lay ahead.

“Our purpose has to protect and promote the art of small batch Barossa winemaking, which has become an integral feature of Barossa’s wine identity over the past 20 years,” he said.

“Being able to showcase our wines in our own home, alongside exceptional food in a beautiful setting, is something we’ve been working on for nearly five years. Our aim was always to bring something new to the experience of enjoying Barossa wine, and we’re excited about what we’re about to deliver. 

"We are moving beyond the tasting bar as the central focus of the wine experience and want to present Barossa wine any way you like – the range and depth of experience visitors will enjoy at Artisans’ new home will be unmatched.

"Key experiences will include wine tastings, a range of dining options, space for special occasions such as weddings and a Barossa store called DelikatESSEN opening later in the year, which will be stocked with fresh produce from our own kitchen and local and South Australian producers. We also promise great coffee." 

The Artisans of Barossa wine tasting program will be delivered in three areas.

# The Tasting Room will offer sit down tastings from $10 and $15 a person,

#  The wine lounge offers views over the vineyards to the Barossa ranges with tastings priced at $30 per person.

# The Artisans Room which is a private space where visitors will explore more deeply the world of Barossa wine through hosted tastings beginning at $95 a head.

Restaurant Essen will be open for lunch from Thursday through to Sunday. There will be 40 wines on tasting, five from each winery plus a selection of Artisans of Barossa collaborative wines.

Artisans of Barossa will open on Friday, October 1 with construction well underway on site. See

Monday, 13 September 2021

MONA unveils a special treat for Tasmanians

Tasmanians are being encouraged to raid David Walsh’s private wine bunker with a new MONA experience unveiled for locals for a limited time. 

From Saturday, September 25, Tasmanian residents can indulge in a decadent day out at the museum, with special access to artworks, top-notch wine and live music. 

Walsh sums the deal up as an "‘Locals-only VIP-ish day of art and overly expensive wine that we need to get rid of’ experience". 

Guests will begin the day rising to MONA in style, with return ferry travel and bottomless bubbles in the MONA ROMA Posh Pit. 

On site, guests are granted exclusive entry to James Turrell’s transportive Event Horizon (currently only open to Faro diners) and can explore the museum’s extensive collection as well as the current exhibition, CRONE by Sally Rees. 

In the afternoon, visitors are invited to MONA's fine-dining restaurant, The Source, for an hour-long wine tasting session at 2.45pm. 

With borders closed, Walsh's personal cellar has been left languishing, so MONA is encouraging locals to do their bit and drink him dry. 

MONA's sommeliers have hand-selected some of the finest and fanciest wines from the boss's booze collection, exclusively for Mona’s home state VIP-ish guests. 

Later, guests will head back into the museum for the performance by Dean Stevenson of his 4pm project in the Void Bar.

Pip Anderson, the hospitality operations manager at MONA says: ‘With very few mainlanders able to visit, it’s time for us locals to live it up. I’m not one to let a good wine go to waste, so we’re cracking some of the seriously good stuff for our Tassie mates. 

"Come on down and help us put a dent in David’s collection—you’d be doing us a favour. David certainly can’t drink it all by himself, though I know he’s tried."

Costing very fair $83, the Locals-only VIP-ish experience is available exclusively to Tasmanian residents on Saturdays only, and for a limited time (Tasmanian ID is required on site). 

The package includes museum entry (already free for locals), the fancy wine tasting experience, Event Horizon entry fee, return Posh Pit ferry travel and a drink from the Void Bar. 

The experience will run every Saturday for five weeks (Saturday September 25–October 23), with only 44 tickets available on each date.

For more information or to make a booking visit: 

# Locals tell me tickets sold out within a couple of hours  

A brand-new look for one of Australia's favourite wine ranges

Established in 1849, Yalumba is Australia’s oldest family-owned winery. One of its star turns is the Yalumba Y Series - arguably the best-value range in Australia. 

Yalumba has just launched a new look for its Y Series collection, including a new label design and brand campaign.

The refreshed look is now hitting retail shelves and heroes the distinctive signature letter ‘Y’. 

Made with fruit from a number of South Australian regions, the Yalumba Y Series wines are sustainably produced in "an approachable, medium-bodied style".

Yalumba marketing manager Jacinta Gibson said: “The Y Series features a broad collection of refreshing, fruit-driven wines from a trusted family-owned winery."

“Consumers can confidently explore different varieties in their purest form at an affordable price point.” 

The Yalumba Y Series range has an RRP of $15 a bottle, but can sometimes be found on special.

The collection features 12 red and white wine varieties, including a new wine – Y Series Pinot Noir. 

The new label designs features 12 original pieces of artwork created by South Australian artist Cindy Durant. Each artwork is inspired by her visits to Yalumba and depict a layer of the vineyard, from sun to soil to wind.

All Y Series wines are vegan friendly, gluten free and 100% wild fermented.

For more details see 

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Singapore leads the way in Covid-19 vaccination race

Singapore leads the way in the global race to get people fully vaccinated with well over 80% of its 5.7 million people fully vaccinated against Covid-19. 

Leaving countries like the US and Australia in its wake, Singapore's Covid-19 vaccine booster shot program will begin next week, The Straits Times newspaper reported. 

Booster shots will available for seniors aged 60 years and above, as well as residents of aged-care facilities, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced. 

Seniors who have completed their two-dose vaccination regimen at least six months ago will be invited to receive their booster dose. 

A booster dose is meant to increase the level of immunity and ensure that a high level of protection from severe disease is maintained across a longer period. 

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, co-chair of a multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 in the Asian nation, has said that the possibility of giving vaccine boosters to younger adults was also being studied.

New York sends a positive message on the 9/11 anniversary


On the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, New York wants to remind the world that it remains a vibrant tourism destination. 

NNYC & Company - the official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the five boroughs of New York City - said the Big Apple continues to show its resilience and perseverance to the world.

"On this historic anniversary, we honour the lives of the victims, their families and the survivors of the 9/11 attacks," the company said in a statement. 

"We honour the efforts of the first responders who heeded the call and the many who sacrificed their lives in the process. We also honour the recovery workers who stood our city back up in the weeks and months that followed. We will never forget the collective and extraordinary heroism and selflessness.  

In collaboration with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, NYC & Company has partnered with the City's arts and cultural community to promote five-borough programming commemorating the anniversary. 

Visit to see the calendar of events. 

Additionally, NYC & Company collaborated with the Museum on a 'Tribute of Lights' from dusk on September 11 to dawn on September 12. 

As we look ahead, we do so with a '9/12' spirit of hope and compassion for our shared future. And a "reminder of lessons learned and reinforced, chief among them—New York City always endures and rebounds stronger.”

Saturday, 11 September 2021

So fast, so shiny, so sharp: quality cocktails poured from a pouch

Quality pre-mixed cocktails in pouch? 

I was dubious to say the least, but happy to be proved wrong. 

During this lockdown phase, research has shown that Australians are purchasing - and drinking - more alcohol than usual.

And Sophisticated Cocktail Co is redefining what it means to “drink consciously” and with minimal effort.

Manly-based Sophisticated Cocktails Co is Australia's sustainability-based RTD cocktail brand. 

For cocktails lovers used to slaving over a range of ingredients, the new range is shaken, stirred and ready to sip. 

No specialised skills, ingredients or YouTube/ Instagram reels needed. 

The RTDs - including margaritas and espresso martinis - come in eco-friendly nitrogen stand-up pouches (they used to be called goon bags) with a tap for you to use to pour straight to your cocktail glass.

Not only do the pouches look smart, they are also good for the environment.

The pouches reduce carbon footprints by 80% compared to glass bottle equivalents. 

The drinks are sugar- and preservative-free, using locally grown fresh-pressed fruit, premium alcohol brands, and locally roasted cold brew coffee. 

Slick, smooth and easy.

The Sophisticated Cocktails range features Pina Colada, Gin Martini and Cosmo Carrie as well as the rather delicious margarita l tried with Saltbird kaffir lime and chilli salt on the rim (and will be trying again tonight).

To be honest, I could tell no difference between my drink and a $20 cocktail bar effort. Impressive.

The range starts at $59 per 750ml and is available to purchase online at and at stockists including some Porters stores in NSW.

New drinks brand says it "tastes good and does good"

It has become hugely fashionable for wine producers to link with charitable causes, and now a new range of spiced rums in a can has joined the movement. 

Reeftip Drinks Co. from Queensland has launched with a commitment to donate 10% of profits to the Coral Nurture Program - a world-first science and tourism partnership aimed at supporting the growth of new corals on the Great Barrier Reef. 

The Coral Nurture Program will build the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef and boost coral abundance along tourism sites through scientific methods of coral propagation and planting where it is needed most.

Diageo Australia, the global drinks behemoth behind Bundaberg Rum, is offering the support through Reeftip, whose spiced rum premix range features Australian-inspired flavours. 

"More and more consumers are looking to brands to do more for environment and Reeftip answers that call from its inception," the company says in its statement. 

"Reeftip’s financial support will enable the Coral Nurture Program to significantly accelerate its coral regeneration work at Great Barrier Reef sites where coral needs to be boosted and maintained and support the scientific research that underpins field work on the reef.

"The Coral Nurture Program’s regeneration efforts harness tourism’s vast collective infrastructure and use new Australian coral clip technology to grow and maintain new corals in high value sites across the reef." 

Angus McPherson, managing director of Diageo Australia, said: “Australians are getting right behind the local spirits industry and that’s why I’m so excited to launch Reeftip, Australia’s newest spirits brand, a product that not only tastes good, but does good.

“Consumers around the world are becoming increasingly aware of the environment they live in, and they’re passionate about brands that give back and make a positive contribution. That’s what Reeftip is about." 

“We’re incredibly fortunate to have the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem on our doorstep, and we all want to see it preserved.”

University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Professor and Coral Nurture Program co-founder David Suggett says building environmental resilience requires community action.

“It’s not just scientists that can be part of positive change. With the support of Reeftip Drinks Co, we’ll be able to help more people play a part in securing a better future for Australia’s reefs,” he said.

Flavours include mango, coconut and soda; and pineapple, lime and soda. 

So how to the Reeftips taste? I'll let you know as soon as I have tried them. 

Reeftip’s RTDs are now available in liquor stores across Australia in four-packs of 330ml cans, with an RRP of $24.99

Friday, 10 September 2021

Airline fires tardy cabin crew over failure to vaccinate

Hong Kong-based international airline Cathay Pacific has sacked cabin crew who failed to get vaccinated against Covid-19. 

The airline had set an August 31 deadline for cabin staff to provide proof of vaccination or face disciplinary action.

On September 1, it began proceedings against an estimated 80 unvaccinated cabin crew who had not presented vaccination proof or medical exemptions for not receiving the vaccine.

The airline said it let go "a small number' of cabin crew employees.

"It is clear to us all now that Covid-19 is a terrible virus and that keeping our customers, communities and families safe is of the utmost importance," the airline told The Standard newspaper.

"The pandemic has also had a huge impact on us operationally and border controls around the world have dramatically reduced our ability to operate with unvaccinated aircrew."


Cathay said all its flights have been operated with fully vaccinated crews as standard since September 1.

The airline's ground crew have until October 1 to supply vaccination proof or a valid exemption.