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Tuesday 30 November 2021

Check the temperature of your wines before drinking


Are you drinking your red wines too warm, or your white wines too cold? 

Quite possibly. 

You have to remember that when wines were enjoyed at room temperature in the past, those rooms were often in cavernous, cold French chateaux, not Brisbane patios. 

Clare Valley winery Taylors (yes, they are advertisers on this site, see above) has just released new vintages of its Estate Pinot Noir Rosé from 2021 and Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from 2020. 

They are both good drinking for $22, but are designed to be enjoyed at different ends of the temperature scale. 

Taylors’ temperature innovation scale is featured on the back label of each wine to help drinkers make informed choices about best serving options.

Taylors managing director Mitchell Taylor is passionate about demonstrating that even a full-bodied wine like a cabernet sauvignon, usually reserved for colder months, can be perfect for summer sipping when it is served at the right temperature.

“As we head into the warmer months, our wine glasses get filled with a bit more white and pink than red - and I think that’s just a shame," Taylor says. 

"The myth that red wines should be served at room temperature is still quite widely believed, which doesn't truly showcase the intricate flavours of a red wine the way the winemaker intended. 

“Slightly chilling a red in the fridge 20-30 minutes before serving it brings harmony, balance and can even be a refreshing option on a hot summer’s day. 

"With the Optimum Drinking Temperature Sensors featured on all of our Estate and Promised Land wines, we take the guesswork out of knowing the temperature a red wine should be served at, and when a wine is just right to pour. It also adds a bit of interactive fun to the wine-drinking experience.”

Taylors’ Optimum Drinking Temperature Sensors are a tactile and functional feature  and utilise thermochromatic ink technology to read the temperature of the bottle to within 1°C.

The sensor’s colour corresponds to a temperature scale on the back label, giving users a simple way to know when their wine is too cold, just right or too warm.

The labels were first released in 2015 and have proved extremely popular. 

How wine lovers can have a sommelier on speed dial

Have you ever enjoyed a bottle of wine in a restaurant, decided you'd like to buy a few bottles but then either forgotten, or found the wine hard to track down? 

A new digital service aims to make disappointments like this a thing of the past and promises to be your own "back pocket sommelier". 

VINNI is a new text-based wine delivery service that launched earlier this month. 

It seeks to provide an on-hand wine expert and a focus on being able to conveniently access the wine you are looking for. 

When a particular wine takes a consumer’s fancy, they are able to text VINNI an image of the label and the number of bottles they’d like, which are then delivered directly to their door in batches of six or 12.

To access VINNI, users sign up via the website and are sent their own private contact number to store in their phone. 

They are then free to use it as many times as they like, much as a friend would. Delivery is free to major urban centres and you can also receive wine suggestions from expert sommeliers.

VINNI founder, wine expert and sommelier Luke Campbell from Vinified, explains: “You're drinking that wine that blows your mind, at your favourite little wine bar but then can't find it in retail.

"Text your new best friend ‘VINNI’ with the label, and this effective little guy will not only source it, he’ll get it shipped to you pronto.”

I see potential issues with pricing, and sourcing the correct vintage, but it does sound like a good idea. One to suck and see, perhaps. 

“Having been in the wine industry for the past 20 odd years, I found I was getting endless texts from my mates asking where they could source particular bottles of wine while they were out and about," Campbell says. 

"I thought, 'a sommelier is something everyone could do with in their back pocket'!”

Choose from a monthly ($3.79 per month) or yearly ($40) subscription option for the service. 

For more information, please visit

Accor launches a new high-end hotel brand

I am a big fan of the Accor Group; hoteliers who really get hospitality.

I have in the past consulted on wine lists to Accor, and regularly choose to stay in their hotels.

Accor has just introduce its Emblems Collection, a global portfolio of boutique hotels and luxurious resorts designed for independent hoteliers to gain global exposure.

Emblems Collection is launching with a flagship hotel: Guiyang Art Centre Hotel in China's Guizhou province (above), slated to open in December 2022.

The luxury brand is expected to grow to 60 properties around the world by 2030.

My problem is that I think Accor already has enough brands. More than enough. Enough to confuse.

But ....

“Emblems Collection adds a fresh and exciting new dimension to Accor's luxury offerings," says Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO, Accor.

"A key focus of our growth and development strategy is to add aggressively across our strongest lines and leading business accelerators, which includes luxury as well as collection brands, while ensuring all 40+ brands in our global network continue to grow, evolve and flourish.

“The hotels we will feature in Emblems Collection are those sought out by travellers who appreciate high-end, boutique-style experiences, as well as by hoteliers who cherish the independent brands they've built while desiring the benefits that come with a global partner.”

Emblems Collection will feature hotels that are 'emblematic' of their designers, demographics or destinations.

For me, even more concerning news is the brand will be spread over three segments: Emblems Collection Heritage, Emblems Collection Retreat and Emblems Collection Signature.

I'm sure Emblems Collection will be another huge Accor success. But sorry, I already have a headache.

Enjoy a glass of wine; help PetRescue

Love wine? Love dogs? 

Then you'll want to check out the Sit Stay Society Wine range, which has already raised $150,000 for PetRescue. 

The 375ml half bottles of wine all feature a cute mutt on their labels and the latest addition is Gracie's Gewuraztraminer Riesling - featuring a Staffie on the label. 

Come to think of it, I see a Staffie as more a shiraz or GSM dog, but I am nitpicking. 

The Sit Stay Society wines are sourced from the Clare Valley - and half bottles are a rarity nowadays, which is a pity, as they are so useful for picnics and other outdoor activities.

For very bottle sold in the range, 50c goes directly to PetRescue to help fund adoption programs - which is to be applauded.

The range also includes a gruner veltliner. a rosé, a shiraz tempranillo, a montepulciano and malbec. 

The feisty montepulciano is the definite star of the show for me - and the one to buy if you want to sample one of the range. Half bottles cost around $10 

Sit Stay Society Wines are available at Dan Murphy's and some BWS stores nationwide. See Or just donate at


Monday 29 November 2021

Leading winemaking family changes channels

This is a huge story for anyone involved in the wine industry but of minor interest to wine lovers, so drinkers can look away now.

Eden Valley-based Henschke, among Australia's leading family wine producers and with 150 years of history, will be distributed by Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist from 2022.

Henschke was for many years distributed by Tucker Seabrook/Fine Wine Partners and then by House of Fine Wine, a collaboration between Société Jacques Bollinger of France; Henschke and Villa Maria of New Zealand that was established in 2017.

“We are delighted and honoured to welcome Henschke into the Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist portfolio," said Gary Crawford, CEO of Joval Wines.

“Henschke will become one of our cornerstone brands in the Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist portfolio alongside some of the world’s greatest family-owned wine brands.

“As custodians of some the country’s oldest vines, producers of nation-defining wines and innovators for a sustainable future, we admire the Henschke family as people of both principle and action.

"We are looking forward to working closely with Stephen and Prue, the next generation and the wider Henschke team for many years to come."

In recent years, Stephen (fifth-generation winemaker) and Prue (viticulturist) Henschke have welcomed their adult children, Johann, Justine and Andreas into the family business.

“As we embark on a new chapter, we would like to thank House of Fine Wine for their dedication and contribution while representing Henschke in our home market,” said Stephen Henschke.

“We are pleased to form a new distribution partnership with one of Australia’s most reputable and dynamic fine wine businesses, Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist, part of Joval Wines. Their enduring values and commitment to the premium wine trade align with our family business, and we look forward to a long and prosperous relationship, servicing our loyal customers throughout Australia.”

Mezzanine represents brands from around the world, including Champagne Taittinger, Cullen, Craggy Range, Nanny Goat Vineyard, Tar & Roses, Yangarra, Burlotto and AIX Rose.

Tractor leaves wine list rivals trailing

Mornington Peninsula restaurant and cellar door Ten Minutes by Tractor has taken out the major prize in the Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards announced today. 

Marking the 28th year since the awards were launched in 1994, the winners of the 2021 Awards were announced online. 

Ten Minutes by Tractor also took out the 2021 Best Country Restaurant List and Best Victorian List.

“It's a story for the ages: a great restaurant and an astounding wine list that have evolved from the ashes of a 2018 fire which closed the venue for 18 months," said chief judge Peter Forrestal. 

"Owners Martin and Karen Spedding, chef Adam Sanderson and head sommelier Xavier Vigier all deserve credit for their part in the resurrection, recreating and revitalisation of Ten Minutes by Tractor. 

"In its wine list, they have reconceptualised the notion of the winery restaurant; given clearer definition to the idea of evoking a sense of place; offered a unique exploration of the wines of Mornington, placing them alongside the great wines of Australia and the world. 

"All this has made for a fascinating list. Xavier Vigier (below) takes his place alongside Australia's finest sommeliers as the latest winner of the Judy Hirst Award, given annually to the sommelier responsible for the winning list”.

 Of the overall Awards, Forrestal continued: "While the pandemic and its associated lockdowns made this arguably the most trying year ever for the hospitality industry, one of its signature trademarks - the wine lists - show a resilience and professionalism that flies in the face of such adversity. It continues a trend that we noted last year and reflects particularly well on the quality of education and training which is now widely available”.

The numbers of entrants in 2021 was an all-time high with a record number of 176 lists awarded three glasses. This compares to 157 last year and only nine in 1994.

The finalists for the top award were Bennelong, Bert’s Bar & Brasserie and Cirrus, all from Sydney, Cru Bar + Cellar in Brisbane and Florentino in Melbourne.

Cru Bar + Cellar won Best Wine Bar List, Best Listing of Queensland Wines, Best List of Wines by the Glass and Best Champagne List.

Awards convenor Rob Hirst said although for many, 2021 was harder in hospitality than it had been during the previous year, it was extraordinary to see the response translate into record entries in the awards.

Major winners were: 


Australia's Wine List of The Year: Ten Minutes by Tractor

Judy Hirst Award: Xavier Vigier


State/Territory winners

Best Wine List ACT:  The Boat House

Best Wine List NSW: Cirrus

Best Wine List QLD: Otto, Brisbane

Best Wine List SA: Hardy's Verandah

Best Wine List TAS: Fico

Best Wine List VIC : Ten Minutes by Tractor

Best Wine List WA : Settlers Tavern


Type of Trade award winners          

Best City Restaurant Wine List : Cirrus

Best Club Restaurant Wine List: Newcastle Club

Best Country Restaurant Wine List: Ten Minutes by Tractor

Best Hotel Restaurant Wine List: Black Bar & Grill

Best Pub Restaurant Wine List: The Watervale Hotel

Best Wine Bar List: Cru Bar + Cellar


Category award winners

The Tony Hitchin Award (Best New List): a’Mare

Best Wine List (50 Wines): Ishizuka

Best Wine List (100 Wines): Spice Temple, Sydney

Best Wine List (200 Wines): Fix Wine Bar + Restaurant

Best List of Wines by The Glass: Cru Bar + Cellar

Best Food & Wine Matching List: Pilu at Freshwater

Best Champagne List: Cru Bar + Cellar

Best Sparkling Wine List: Aria

Best Non-Alcoholic List: Ishizuka

Best Aperitif List: One Penny Red

Best Digestif List: Bistecca

Best Sake List: Sokyo

Best Beer List: Charred Kitchen & Bar

Best Listing of a Region's Wines: Settlers Tavern

Best Listing of Australian Wines: Bennelong

Best Listing of ACT Wines: The Boat House

Best Listing of NSW Wines: Charred Kitchen & Bar

Best Listing of Queensland Wines: Cru Bar + Cellar

Best Listing of South Australian Wines: Hardy's Verandah

Best Listing of Tasmanian Wines: Terrace Kitchen

Best Listing of Victorian Wines: Pt Leo Estate

Best Listing of Western Australian Wines: Wildflower

Best Wine List - Sommeliers' Choice Award: Quay Restaurant

Best Wine List - Australia's Choice Award: Il Lido


Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards was founded in 1994 by Rob and the late Judy Hirst, and Tucker Seabrook to recognise and reward the commitment, craft and talent of Australia’s sommeliers, as well as the investment by business owners, in building and maintaining great wine lists and the cellars behind them.

 # The writer is proud to be on the judging panel for the awards

Global tourism was bouncing back, then came Omicron

After a weak first half of 2021, international tourism rebounded during the northern hemisphere summer season, boosting results in the third quarter of the year, especially in Europe.

Then came Omicron.

The newest edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, issued today, shows international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) increased by 58% in July-September compared to the same period of 2020.

But they remained 64% below 2019 levels.

Europe recorded the best relative performance in the third quarter, with international arrivals 53% down on the same three-month period of 2019. In August and September arrivals were at -63% compared to 2019, the best monthly results since the start of the pandemic.

Between January and September, worldwide international tourist arrivals stood at -20% compared to 2020, a clear improvement over on the first six months of the year (-54%).

Nonetheless, overall arrivals are still 76% below pre-pandemic levels with uneven performances among world regions.

In some sub regions - southern and Mediterranean Europe, the Caribbean, North and Central America - arrivals actually rose above 2020 levels in the first nine months of 2021.

UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Data for the third quarter of 2021 is encouraging. However, arrivals are still 76% below pre-pandemic levels and results across the different global regions remain uneven.

@In light of the rising cases and the emergence of new variants we cannot let our guard down and need to continue our efforts to ensure equal access to vaccinations, coordinate travel procedures, make use of digital vaccination certificates to facilitate mobility and continue to support the sector.”

Tamburlaine snaps up winemaking talent

Andrew Higgins, who spent almost two decades at McWilliam's Wines, has joined  Tamburlaine Organic Wines as head of winemaking for the Orange region.

Higgins was formerly group senior winemaker for McWilliam's at Hanwood in the Riverina. 

He joins Tamburlaine at a time when the organic producer has recently added a 12,000-tonne winery at Cudal and 507 hectares of vineyards to its Central West operations.

Managing director Mark Davidson says the current team is the strongest he’s worked with throughout his 37-year career.

“The vast majority of our wine production is now based in Orange," Davidson says. "This is very different to the single-site, relatively small production winery I have previously operated. 

“To produce the best wine as well as the necessary production efficiency in a facility like Cudal requires particular skills and Andrew is a natural fit. 

"Our ground-breaking work over the years involving organics, vegan fining agents and winemaking without added sulphur may be in part new to Andrew, but he instinctively understands how much the industry and consumers continue to change.”

Higgins said: “I am super-excited with the opportunity of coming on board in a lead role with the Tamburlaine winemaking team. 

“The diversity and breadth of the vineyards and viticulture knowledge puts the company in a great position to continue to be a leader in the organic and overall “Better For You” wine space. The medium bodied wines coming out of altitude NSW regions are of excellent quality and perfectly balanced for a multitude of cuisines. 

"I’m really looking forward to working with the winery team at Cudal to craft award-winning wines out of these cool-climate sites.”

Tamburlaine has become one of the fastest growing brands in Australia, with its 57-year-old operation in the Hunter Valley and 12,000-tonne winery at Cudal. 

The brand was was established in 1966 and in 1985 the Hunter winery was purchased by a small group of friends and relatives led by Davidson. 


Is this the ultimate Tasmanian gourmet destination?


Take Hobart's sexiest waterfront hotel; add a restaurant that focuses on the finest Tasmanian produce; throw in the local fishing fleet and Salamanca Market - both just a short stroll away - and consider several nearby bars and eateries. 

I'm staying at the Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart's first genuine five-star destination, and dining on the new menu at in-house restaurant Peacock and Jones; a Tasmanian-focused selection curated by former MasterChef Australia star Ben Milbourne. 

Milbourne doesn't actually do the cooking. He sources the produce from the likes of Lyndall Lamb, Tongola Goat Cheese, Truffles of Tasmania and Meander Valley Diary. 

"I really have searched from the top to the bottom of Tasmania to find the best suppliers - and the menu will change seasonally featuring new producers each time," says Milbourne

Chef Ishan Archarya, ex Bistro Moncur and Bathers' Pavillion in Sydney, mans the pans and did a sterling job at Friday's launch of the new summer menu, which was accompanied by wines from small local producers including Utzinger, Kate Hill Wines and Quiet Mutiny.

Peacock & Jones is open Wednesday-Saturday evenings. Phone (03) 6210 7730 to check. Tasting menus cost $95 per person or $105 per person with an added cheese course.

Think starters like stracciatella with purplette onion, kombu and Flinders Island evo; or French onion souffle with Heidi gruyere and petit herbs (above).

Mains may include Lyndall Farm lamb with fermented black barley, spinach or Strelleyfield free-range duck with radicchio and sweet potato (below). A range of vegetarian options are also available.

And whatever you do don't miss out on the Bombe Alaska with almond, yuzu and verbena. 

This is seriously good food, beautifully presented. 


After dinner just head upstairs to one of the individually styled rooms in a hotel full of history, art installations and a clever aesthetic appeal. There is often an artist in residence who you can watch in action in the lobby.

Hobart’s oldest waterfront warehouses have been reimagined as what was Australia’s first dedicated art hotel with modern touches like fast wifi and USB chargers allied to the building's industrial past. 

Sir Henry Jones’ IXL jam empire was once based where you now find galleries, award-winning restaurants, bars and cafes. 

Hotel room views feature the bustling port with kunanyi/Mount Wellington beyond - and the staff are uniformly excellent in a state where that is not always the case. 

The Henry Jones represents a fusion of old and new, art and design, indulgence and discovery and all the rooms were completely refurbished in 2018. Rooms start from $320 a night. 

Other dining options on-site include the Landscape Restaurant and Grill and the IXL Long Bar - so you can make a weekend of your visit without heading more than a few metres from your room.    

See for more details and bookings.

 The writer was a guest of the Henry Jones Art Hotel 

Sunday 28 November 2021

Are you being conned when you buy your wine?

Have you ever received a cold call from a helpful person offering to sell you a case of wine that is "extraordinary value" or a "one-off opportunity"? 

Caveat emptor. Buyer beware. Let alarm bells ring. 

A friend of mine received a call out of the blue the other day from a company from which he had previously purchased a very acceptable Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon. 

A Kiwi expat and a huge fan of Marlborough sauvignon blanc, he was seduced by a sales patter for a sauvignon blanc which he was assured was a "bargain"  and "remarkable for the price"

"I don't think it tastes like what I was told," he says.

He paid under $10 a bottle for a dozen generic label sauvignon blancs that were labelled "South-East Australia". And came from a no-name producer. 

I tasted the wine and he got what he paid for: a $10 wine of the quality you might expect to see poured by the glass in a suburban pub. 

He did not, however, get what he was promised. I advised him to send the remaining wines back for a full refund. 

Many others buying that same wine - and others like it - will not be bothered with the hassle of going to the post office. They will be drinking inferior wine, feeling cheated, while a salesman will be drinking better wine on the commission he has just made. 

There are plenty of pitfalls when it comes to buying a wine you have not tasted, whether that a purchase be over the phone, through a wine club, or buying cleanskins at a local bottle shop. 

Let me advise you of a couple of common scams.

One very well-known wine club, which I will not name because I have no wish to be sued, offers, and I paraphrase, "outstanding wines from some of Australia's finest boutique producers". 

Yet many of those wines actually come from very large wineries and are bottled as special labellings for that wine club and others like it. 

The blurb may well say "RRP $40" or "worth $50 a bottle" - but these wines are usually not available in retail stores and are sold under labels you may never see again. 

Also watch our for "rated 98 points". I'm increasingly seeing wines promoted by making that sort of claim that use the seller's own ratings, or those of paid-for reviewers. Pay attention. 

Also beware of reviews of a completely different vintage of the wine which you are being encouraged to buy. Some years are much better than others. 

Also beware of cleanskins (wines with no labels and no label info) and make sure you buy bottles from the same case as the wine you have tasted comes from. 

One box of $4.99 a bottle cabernet in an unopened box may be very different to the delicious wine you have just tried. Smoke and mirrors.

Just remember that there is plenty of cheap fruit on the market. Anyone can bottle up a batch under flashy label and make outrageous claims about a "failed export order" or "the biggest bargain of the year". 

Try before you buy, or choose wines that have been recommended by someone you trust. It's a wine jungle out there and you don't want to be the one who gets eaten alive.    

My friend, meanwhile, is awaiting his refund and has learned a valuable lesson. 

A boutique wine label worth seeking out

It is always exciting to discover a wine label that has previously flown under your radar.

That was the case this week with Kerri Greens, a Mornington producer that sent me two bottles of its vibrant 2021 wines to sample.

You may recall that earlier this week I reviewed the new MANDI wines from Mildura, made by Kevin McCarthy from Quealy Wines.

Well Kerri Greens is made by another member of the McCarthy family - and sent to me by the family's resident PR whiz Celia McCarthy.

The Kerri Greens team comprises winemaker Tom McCarthy (Celia's brother and son of Katherine Quealy and Kevin McCarthy) and viticulturist Lucas Blanck (Domaine Paul Blanck, Alsace).

The vibrancy of the wines underlines their organic and sustainable approach in three different Mornington vineyards.

"The vineyards are managed with a strict viticulture regime aimed at quality, with sustainable practices including no irrigation, pruning techniques promoting longevity and fruit intensity not yields, mowing under vine to avoid herbicide, canopy management aimed at exposure, inter-row cover crops for nutrition and soil structure, and spray regimes using organic principles," says Tom McCarthy.

"Off the vine, the winemaking follows a predictably similar line, additions are kept to a minimum using wild yeasts unhindered by initial additions of sulphur allowing the unique biology of the vineyard and season to have its impact. There is no rush to bottle and where possible it takes place without fining or filtration."

I tried the 2021 Pinots De Mornington Rosé, an innovative blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier and pinot gris that just screams out "summer enjoyment" and the totally hip "fumé blanc" 2021 Samophire Sauvignon Blanc, whole-bunch pressed, wild yeast fermented in older barriques, unfined, unfiltered.

Both wines retail for $30 and are full of freshness and vibrancy. Join me in discovering something new. Kerri Green, for those wondering, is the name of a local surf break. 

See or visit cellar door at 38 Paringa Road, Red Hill South Friday-Sunday.   


Saturday 27 November 2021

Dining poolside will revive a Brisbane tradition

It doesn't get much more Australian than enjoying a drink or two poolside on a summer day. 

Hyatt Regency Brisbane guests can enjoy cocktails, classic Aussie dishes and some sunshine when the Hibiscus Room opens poolside on December 8. 

The 90-seat restaurant and bar surrounds the hotel's infinity pool overlooking Queen Street Mall and some of Brisbane's heritage buildings. 

First established in 1884, Lennons Hotel opened at the current Hyatt Regency Brisbane site on Queen Street in 1972. 

Located originally on levels 25-26, Hibiscus Room was the city's leading bar, dining, and musical venue. 

"We are proud to revive the joyous story of Hibiscus Room, a Brisbane icon at Lennons Hotel," says Hyatt Regency Brisbane general manager Saraid Carey. 

"In our design we will deliver the best of the Queensland lifestyle with a fun nostalgic twist, having taken the time to listen to the special stories of the Lennons' past from locals across the decades

"The menu will showcase simple and delicious locally sourced food from this amazing region, wines both locally and old world and a little nod to the past with inspired cocktails.” 

Head chef Ricky Cheung will spotlight sustainable local produce and showcasing technique that he's honed in roles at the acclaimed Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong and Nobu Melbourne. 

"I've always been passionate about using seasonal and local produce, so it's wonderful to get to work with Queensland's best, from seafood to beef and tropical produce," he says. 

Signature dishes include an  entrée of chilled Moreton Bay bug cocktail; barbecue grilled local king prawns with chilli and mango salsa, Rockhampton beef rump cap and Southern Queensland lamb loin chops. 

New wine-focused Margaret River restaurant unveiled

Two of Western Australia's highest-profile wine and food leaders are joining forces to open a new restaurant in the heart of Margaret River wine country. 

Chef Seth James and winemaker Larry Cherubino will open Frui Momento ('Enjoy the Moment') at former Laurance Wines site on December 2. 

The duo will transform the site on Caves Road in Wilyabrup. 

Seth James has, for the past eight years, been responsible for making Wills Domain one of the state's most talked-about restaurants.

The new restaurant will also have a raw bar and Champagne lounge, where visitors can drop by for bubbles and caviar.

Cherubino (above) is widely acknowledged as one of Australia's finest wine makers and entrepreneurs - although it has been a while since I saw any wines from him (must be an Australia Post problem).

The 50-seat restaurant will feature a contemporary à la carte menu as well as an informal grazing menu. It will also be available for events.

The pair told the Margaret River Mail that the restaurant will have a strong wine focus from the Cherubino portfolio, and a wide selection of specialist imports chosen by the winemaker.

"For me this is a fantastic opportunity to work in an amazing site and with Larry and Edwina Cherubino," said Seth James.

"It's also a rare opportunity to finally do something for myself. Frui Momento will be my restaurant, and it's both exciting and a bit scary too."

"People will be able to sit here and try all of these different styles, regions and varietals in a winery restaurant setting," said Cherubino.

"It's a celebration of wine and food, and that's what we want people to take away.

"It's nice to experience what Margaret River does best, and frame that alongside other wine regions of Australia and other parts of the world with the same varietals.

"It brings excitement to the wine and food pairing opportunities. We really have a mutual respect for what each other's strengths are when it comes to food and the wine, and that's important.

"We are really excited to have Seth join us on the property with Frui Momento; it brings together the cellar door and guest house with a serious dining experience.

"It's going to be great for him, great for us - it's going to be great for the region."

Frui Momento will be at 3478 Caves Road, Wilyabrup.

Friday 26 November 2021

Craft brewery gifts shares to its employees

It sounds like the perfect job scheme.

Work at a brewery and then get made a shareholder. 

Bridge Road Brewers in north-east Victoria has announced its first step towards employee ownership with its own Employee Share Scheme (ESS). 

The Bridge Road ESS has been almost three years in the making, with initial modelling halted as the business navigated the impacts of Covid-19 in 2020. 

"The scheme has been designed to reward and empower BRB employees and drive the culture at the heart of the business and its long term success", said founder Ben Kraus (above). 

In the initial share release, BRB will be gifting employees with a minimum two-year employment period an initial share as an introduction to the program. 

This first step will equate to almost 5% of the company being shared with the BRB team. 

Employees will then be provided ongoing access to shares through incentives and employment anniversaries. 

"The goal of the share program over the first five to 10 years is to transition the business to be between 20 to 30% employee-owned." 

The public announcement of the share scheme comes after consultation with accounting firm Findex in developing a program that is truly meaningful for employees. 

"We'll continue to foster a culture with a common goal of making and sharing beer to believe in," says Kraus. 

Family-owned Bridge Road Brewers, based in Beechworth, has also announced the establishment of a Melbourne brewery and dining hall at East Brunswick Village. 


How to be king of the cocktails in time for Christmas

Want to perfect your cocktail skills before the holiday season? 

Some of Australia’s top bartenders have shared their recipes in the new hardback book Cocktails for Home Bartenders, available for $50 including pre-Xmas delivery at

Here’s five brand new cocktails to make at home this Christmas (and summer) for those who love to tinker (and show off to their guests). 

They start simple  and gradually get more involved.


1.     ‘Toffee Apple Stinger’ by Nick Tesar at Melbourne’s Bar Liberty

·       35ml Tullamore Dew

·       20ml Apple Brandy

·       10ml Marionette Mure

·       10ml Crème de Menthe

·       5ml Fernet-Branca

Combine ingredients in a cocktail tin with ice. Stir until cold. Strain into a cold Coupe glass.


2.     ‘La Madrina’ by Shirley Yeung at Perth’s Foxtrot Unicorn

·       40ml Dissarono

·       20ml Mezcal

·       10ml Cynar

·       2 Dashes Saline Solution (22g dissolved in 100g of boiling water)

·       2 Dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters

Combine all ingredients together in a mixing glass, ice up and stir. Serve in a coupette glass with cubed ice and garnish with a lemon twist.


3.     ‘Rhuby Tuesday’ by Alex Boon at Melbourne’s Pearl Diver

·       40ml Fords Gin

·       20ml White Jasmine-Infused Aperol

·       5ml Grappa

·       20ml Salted Rhubarb & Vanilla Syrup

·       20ml Lemon Juice

·       2 Dashes Orange Bitters

Add all ingredients to shaker with cubed ice and shake hard. Double strain into chilled Coupe glass and garnish with a lemon twist.


4.     ‘Feels Arousing’ by Zach Mynott at Perth’s Foxtrot Unicorn

·       50ml Feels Botanical Rouse

·       25ml Oxidised Pomegranate Wine (old white wine combined with 50g of pomegranate seeds, left for 48 hours and strained)

·       10ml Poached Peach Syrup (poach peaches in sugar syrup for 15 minutes on medium heat)

·       Soda Top

·       2 Dashes Champagne Peach Bitters (old Champagne infused with orange peel, Orange Bitters and poached peach syrup)

Build over cubed ice in a Highball glass and garnish with a Williams Pear coin.


5.     ‘Tall Tale’ by Natalie Ng at Sydney’s Door Knock

·       40ml Gentleman Jack

·       10ml Apricot Brandy

·       20ml Fresh Lemon Juice

·       10ml Smoked Apricot & Agave Syrup

·       20ml Dub Style Arinto Natural Wine

·       30ml Filtered water

·       3-4 drops Mister Bitters Honeyed Apricot & Smoked Hickory

Combine all ingredients and charge with CO2 using a carbonation rig (see how to build one at Gizmodo here). Pour over ice into a Collins glass and cap with crushed ice. Garnish with eucalyptus and lemon wedge.


A new start for Sydney Olympic Stadium

There are myriad sports stadiums around the world with really stupid names, some of which make zero sense.

Think of the Smoothie King Center, Guaranteed Rate Field, the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium, the Tony Macaroni Arena and Australia's own absurd Marvel Stadium.

Now Accor, the largest hotel operator in the Pacific, has won the naming rights for Stadium Australia, with the iconic venue in Sydney Olympic Park to begin the transition to Accor Stadium from today.

And this stadium re-branding actually makes sense as the Accor Group has several hotels within the Olympic Park precinct.

Accor Stadium was the centrepiece of the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games and can be configured to hold up to 100,000 spectators.

It has hosted everything from AC/DC and Taylor Swift to State of Origin rugby league matches and FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Minister for Sport Natalie Ward said the NSW Government, renowned for buffonery but doing something right on this occasion, was delighted to partner with Accor as the stadium's naming rights sponsor.

Accor Stadium will soon feature one of the world's largest LED video screens at 1200sq metres. This screen is just one of many new enhancements that will improve the spectator and fan experience.

Simon McGrath, CEO of Accor Pacific, said that it was a natural partnership for the leading hotel operator.

"Accor is dedicated to creating incredible customer experiences, and Accor Stadium firmly aligns with this vision. We are immensely proud of this partnership, which is an investment in limitless experiences that bring people together, from world-class concerts, to sporting and family events," he said.

"This commitment also expresses our support for tourism, hospitality, events and travel, which play a vital role in our culture."

Accor brands include: SO/, Sofitel, MGallery, Art Series, Pullman, Swissôtel, Mövenpick, Grand Mercure, Peppers, The Sebel, Mantra, Novotel, Mercure, Tribe, BreakFree, ibis, ibis Styles and ibis Budget.

Pub grub that really hits the spot

Triabunna has been in focus recently with the opening of the magnificent Triabunna Barracks - luxury restored heritage accommodation just over an hour north-east  of Hobart.

Triabunna is a sleepy little fishing town with its own small fleet on the edge of sheltered Spring Bay that is the gateway and departure point to Maria Island National Park

It is a town rich in local history that offers a range of coastal holiday experiences.

It is also, surprisingly, home to a rustic country pub that could easily be called a "gastro pub". Someone in the kitchen here is extremely talented. 

There's a friendly country welcome, typical Tassie pub decor and a good list of Tasmanian wines from local producers including Freycinet Estate, Spring Vale and Milton.

There is a very good salt and pepper squid with garlic aoili ($12) and the the Scotch fillet ($32) comes medium-rare as ordered and is extremely tasty. 

It is when you step away from usual pub grub territory that you are really rewarded. 

Take the three pulled pork croquettes (above, $12). My wife, who has Dutch heritage, proclaims them as "just the right texture" - like her Mum used to make. 

The star dish of the night, however, is the spicy goat curry with rice and pappadums (below). 

It is sensuously spicy, seriously delicious and worth at least twice the $18 you pay. 

There are some other off-piste choices to explore next time: maybe chorizo and sweet potato arancini, karaage octopus with Japanese mayo and peppers, or ratatouille with harissa, brown rice and gremolata.

As a Michelin inspector would say "well worth a trip". 

Summer dinner hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 6pm-8pm and lunches are served Thursday-Saturday noon-2pm. 

Best to phone ahead, however. You are in the country. 

See 6257 3115. 

Check out Triabunna Barracks here: