Saturday, 19 November 2022

Meet the 2023 Tasting Australia Drinks Curators

Two of South Australia's top sommeliers will join the Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel creative team.

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Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel
Meet the 2023 Tasting Australia Drinks Curators

Meet the 2023 Tasting Australia Drinks Curators

Two of South Australia's top sommeliers will join the Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel creative team in the role of Drinks Curators. We welcome Banjo Harris Plane and Meira Harel – husband and wife duo – who will lead the beverage program in 2023.

Both widely recognised as leading beverage authorities in Australia, the couple relocated to Adelaide in 2019, bringing with them extensive wine and beverage knowledge from around the world and experience working at some of Australia's top restaurants.

A special thanks to our outgoing Drinks Curator Nick Stock for his contribution to the festival over the last four years. 'It has been an honour to help shape the festival's beverage program and showcase drinks in all their diversity. I look forward to seeing where the new team takes it next.'

Meet Meira & Banjo
Meira Harel

Meira Harel

Meira, originally from Israel, was named 'Sommelier of the Year' by The Age Good Food Guide in 2016 after working as sommelier and restaurant manager for Melbourne's The Town Mouse and The Lake House. Now happily settled in South Australia, Meira is General Manager of hospitality group Another Kind, that includes some of Adelaide's leading hospitality venues - Press Food and Wine, Peel Street Restaurant and Leigh Street Wine Room.

Banjo Harris Plane

Banjo Harris Plane

Banjo, who was awarded the 'Best Sommelier in Australia' twice over during his five-year stint at Melbourne's internationally acclaimed Attica, also opened two CBD hotspots of his own – Capitano and Bar Liberty. Banjo is also the founder of Good Pair Days, Australia's most personalised online wine business.

2023 Creative Team
Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel

The South Australian Tourism Commission acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state's first people and nations, and recognises Aboriginal people as traditional owners and occupants of South Australian land and waters.

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

News from Adelaide Hills Wine Region - October 2022

Spring in Adelaide is a funny's like a lottery. One day it's beautifully sunny and 27 degrees. The next day it's rainy and 15. Then to really throw you, the following day is both warm and rainy. 

While showers may be predicted for the inaugural Sparkling Spring this coming weekend, the bubbles will still be flowing with a series of great things to do at the fifteen participating Adelaide Hills wineries.

Exciting Sparkling Wine tastings will be spread over the whole weekend at Tappanappa's Daosa Time & Tradition, Deviation Road's Discovery, The Lane's Taste the World of Sparkling and Croser/Golding Effervescence experience. 

Let's see what else you can do, day by day, over the Sparkling Spring weekend.
If you are living the dream (in other words you don't have to work this Friday) consider popping up to the Hills.

Some light hearted Friday fun is to be found at Anderson Hill with their Fizz Fashion and Fun! No bookings are required so you can simply turn up and enjoy platters of local produce, live music, market stalls and fashion parades. 

Alternatively, after work, be surrounded by stunning flowers at Karkoo Nursery for Bubbles and Blooms with a box of Asian inspired goodies and a glass of Golding's award-winning Marjorie Blanc de Blancs.
Nepenthe will be a great place to hang out on Saturday for a relaxed session of Eats, Beats and Bubbles with live music and food trucks setting a festive mood. For the artistic, be sure to enroll in Bubbles & Brushes so you can take home your own masterpiece inspired by their delicious Prestige Cuvée.

A different style of Sparkling wine is the increasingly popular Prosecco. Artwine Bianco and Rose Prosecco will be the go-to wine at their Italian Stravaganza with a mouthwatering Italian menu of antipasto and pizza by Bally.

Or, for a sit-down lunch, head south to Meadows for Karrawatta's Sparkling Spring Soiree where their Popsie Sparkling will be paired with a seafood feast by Adelaide’s first and only sustainable seafood restaurant, Angler at Stirling.

Then you could mix it up at Grünthal where Hesketh presents a Sparkling Snack-tacular of small plate delights from the kitchen with their Madeline Alice Sparkling, plus the added bonus of Udder Delights cheese being co-located.

Photo courtesy of Artwine
One of the highlights this Sunday will be at Mount Lofty Ranges Vineyard. The highly acclaimed winery restaurant will be serving its outstanding seasonal menu with an extremely limited release 2013 Late Disgorged Méthode Traditionelle Sparkling.

If your looking for a lovely garden, try Cobb's Hill Estate at Oakbank where you can enjoy a gourmet picnic with their delightful sparkling wines. Or for something different, Howard Vineyard presents Blush & Blanc with their Sparkling Blanc de Blancs or Spring-inspired cocktails made with their new "Blush" gin to accompany delicious lunch options.

Finally, one close to suburbia is Barrister's Block delectable Sparkling Spring High Tea at The Feathers Hotel at Burnside.

Failing that, you can always find Adelaide Hills sparkling wines at your favourite bar or liquor store. Here's five wines tasted recently by Tijana Laginin at Wine Pilot.
Photo courtesy of Sidewood
For more details visit 
Download Sparkling Spring brochure pdf

Get On yer Bike!

Here's a novel way to explore the Adelaide Hills - by electric bike!  Based in Uraidla, E-Go Bike Hire are locals so know the Hills like the back of their hands and offer tours or self-guided routes by gravel, bitumen, bike trails or off the beaten track. They've partnered with a number of Adelaide Hills wineries to offer a great service. You can hire their electric assisted pedal bikes for the day and pick up/drop off the bikes from any of these wineries: Blefari, Greenhill,  Tagai, Nepenthe, Shaw + Smith, Hahndorf Hill, Golding, Murdoch Hill, Simon Tolley and Lobethal Road.  A great way to stretch your legs after that decadent lunch.

Coming onto the Pinot stage

For a long time, Pinot Noir has been one of our best kept secrets. Not any more! Recently at the Australian Pinot Noir Challenge, the Adelaide Hills region was fully recognised for its Pinot Noir prowess with the creation of a regional trophy which until then had only recognised Victorian regions and Tasmania. 

The 2022 Best of Region trophy for the Adelaide Hills was won by the Michael Hall Lenswood Pinot Noir 2021.  Michael Hall said the win is a terrific endorsement for the quality of Adelaide Hills pinot noir.  “It was a strong field with so many beautiful wines... It’s very fulfilling for the Adelaide Hills to be invited to the top table of Australian pinot noir.”

In other awards news, after talking up the wonders of Grüner Veltiner last month, we are pleased to advise that Hahndorf Hill's desert wine, the Green Angel Grüner Veltliner Late Harvest 2021 was named Best Wine of Show at the Australian Cool Climate Wine Show. 

Also, three Adelaide Hills wines won trophies at the 2022 Royal Adelaide Show:
Most Outstanding White Wine of Show for Penfolds Bin A Chardonnay 2021
Best Sparkling Wine to Golding Marjorie Sparkling Blanc de Blancs 2016
Best Sauvignon Blanc for Saint & Scholar Graduate Sauvignon Blanc  2022
Park Fest - A No Rules Picnic
Park Wine Fest is a Lo-Fi picnic for adults. It's all about chilled vibes, sunshine, and great friends. On the afternoon of Saturday 29th October, Vinteloper founder David will be styling the beats as the live DJ on the lawns of Lot 100 for the launch of the 2022 vintage of Park Wine while Melita and Stephanie pour wines from the Datsun pop up bar. Ticket are for two and include a bottle of Park Wine, Muffaleta gourmet sandwiches and cannoli with lots of extras available.
What's on in The Hills
  • Daily 1 - 31 October - Taste the World of Sparkling at The Lane, $70 per person. Book here
  • Daily 1 - 31 October - Effervescence sparkling wine experience at Golding & Croser, $40. Book here
  • Thu 20 October - Gentle Folk Single Vineyard Masterclass at The Edinburgh. $26. Book here
  • Fri 21 - Sun 23 October - Sparkling Spring in the Adelaide Hills Wine Region. Various events. Learn more
  • Sat 22 October - Adelaide Hills Farmers Market, Mount Barker 8.30-12.30pm. Learn more
  • Sun 23 October - Fizzology at Sinclair Gulley Vineyard. Make your own bubbles. 11am-1pm $75. Book here
  • Sat 29 October - Vinteloper's Park Wine Fest at Lot100. $85 for 2 people. Book here

Visiting the Adelaide Hills Wine Region? 

Use the interactive map or download the pdf 
Meet the Producer - Neil from Jericho Wines
Neil Jericho with Spark, a two year old Kelpie x Smithfield

Jericho wines are made by the Jericho family which is headed by winemaker Neil, and it really is a family business. Even the family dog is an integral part!  

According to Andrew (Neil's son and fellow winemaker at Jericho): "With no sheep to round up Spark does the vineyard rounds instead. The highlight of his day is watching rabbits in the bracken scrub and occasionally a kangaroo, but he is very mild mannered, so it is a bit comical watching him pretend he will do anything about them."

How did Jericho Wines start? 
Neil: My Dad was a grape grower in the River Land so I grew up around grapes, and then moved into winemaking over 45 years ago. Our kids are also in the industry, so the beginnings of Jericho Wines started over Christmas family drinks. We had the winemaking, wine industry skills and history to create our own wine brand, so we went for it. Jericho is a family affair: Sally, Andrew, Kim, Kaye and me who bring a variety of wine knowledge and experience.

What's Jericho's winemaking philosophy?
Our styles are well thought out and considered, generally minimal winemaking influence. This is perhaps ironic, as we have 65 vintages of winemaking in the family, yet our first aim is to make wines that show no obvious winemaking intervention. For example, old French oak for the reds, a lot of lees contact for the whites, the use of wild yeast. There are plenty of ways to trick up any wine, but our approach is to keep it simple.

What is your favourite wine in your portfolio?
The 'Fume Blanc' is my favourite with great added complexity of oak and yeast to Sauvignon Blanc. It’s an old style I used to make in the ‘80s, so it's great to see it made in a more elegant way than we used to back then.

What is the one place that you would take a visitor to see/experience the Adelaide Hills?
Kuitpo. The vineyards and cellar doors in the Kuitpo regions have excellent range wines and experiences.

Visiting Jericho
Tastings are by appointment at the moment. We are in the process of licencing our vineyard shed, with a plan to do informal tastings from the vineyard. To follow the progress there, probably best to link in with the newsletter or social media.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

NSW Cellar Doors to Open for Wine Tastings

Wineries with Cellar Doors in New South Wales have been given the green light to welcome visitors for wine tastings again from Monday 1 June 2020.

The NSW Wine Industry Association (NSWWIA) welcomes the announcement of the relaxation of the coronavirus restrictions that will see Cellar Doors be able to offer up to 50 guests seated wine tastings, without the necessity to serve with food. Total guest numbers at Cellar Doors will still be limited by the 1 person per 4 square metres regulation and the 1.5 metres social distancing rule.

NSWWIA President Mark Bourne says, "We are delighted with the news and thank the NSW Berejiklian government for their hard work, support and collaboration with industry during these difficult times. The NSW wine industry has faced drought, fires and the pandemic all in a short period of time and we cannot wait to start to make some new, more positive, memories with the wine loving public."

"Of course, it won't be back to normal exactly as there are still restrictions and guidelines in place to make sure we all stay safe. However, we are looking forward to those travelling to our wine regions in June joining us on this journey, as Cellar Doors offer new COVIDsafe models for enjoyable wine tastings and experiences, along with our usual exceptional wines and service."

To assist all NSW Cellar Doors and staff, as well as ensuring consumer confidence, the NSWWIA has created COVIDsafe Guidelines for all its members and also recommend a coronavirus safety training course. These guidelines, which align with the NSW Department of Health Checklist, give a practical set of recommendations for Cellar Doors to demonstrate to guests that their venue is safe and welcoming.

Mark adds, "The Cellar Doors in all of the 16 wine regions of NSW are committed to a successful re-opening, committed to following all the best safety practices and most importantly committed to exceeding visitors expectations by offering the very best wines and regional experiences available."

"We have been delighted to receive so many enquiries about coming to visit a winery with a trip to regional NSW, but I must highlight that we are all living and operating in a changed landscape and so to avoid disappointment, I highly recommend that you book ahead for tastings, lunches, dinners etc. Once booked, please be respectful by arriving on time for your bookings. Most importantly, enjoy the new safe and exciting tastings and wine experiences on offer across NSW."

@nswwine #nswwine #drinklocal #drinknsw

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Reset Your Senses with a virtual visit to the Mudgee Region

Hello Mudgee Region Lover,

We hope you're well and safe.

Given the current climate, we invite you to take a virtual visit to the Mudgee Region, snap up some local goodies + wine and start planning your rebound trip, some time in the not too distant future (we hope!).

Stay well + happy. We look forward to welcoming you with open arms on the other side of this

Read the latest #MudgeeRegion bulletin here

Westward a winning whiskey

The Olympics may have been postponed, but the highest-rated American single malt – Westward Whiskey – has still managed to take home gold at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

The brand's portfolio of whiskeys was awarded four gold medals, and the collection of honours were awarded to both the flagship whiskey offerings, including Westward American Single Malt and Westward Oregon Stout Cask (which will be released in Australia next month), as well as some of our forthcoming releases.

The accolades from the industry’s most prestigious awards judging event include:

GOLD MEDAL, Westward American Single Malt Whiskey, Oregon, USA [45%]
GOLD MEDAL, Westward Oregon Stout Cask Finish Whiskey, Oregon, USA [45%]
GOLD MEDAL, Westward Rum Cask Finish Whiskey, Oregon, USA [45%]
GOLD MEDAL, Westward Rum Cask Finish Whiskey, Oregon, USA [62.5%]

These awards are a huge feat for the craft distillery that brews and distils entirely in Portland, Oregon. Inspired by the region’s unique culture, climate and natural ingredients, every Westward Whiskey tipple is distinct, rich, brazen and full of flavour.

Across the brand's entire range, each liquid has a unique flavour that is achieved by following Westward’s Minimalist Distilling philosophy. Westward begins by brewing an artisanal American pale ale from scratch, using 100% Northwest two-role pale malted barley, ale yeast, and then fermented at low temperatures for extended periods. The fresh ale is distilled twice in custom low-reflux copper pot stills that are designed to create a robust spirit, and transform the fresh beer into whiskey. Westward Whiskey is then aged to taste in new, charred American oak barrels, where Oregon’s dry, hot summers and cool, wet winters create the ideal environment to raise a world-class whiskey.

Imported and distributed by Think Spirits in Australia, Westward Whiskey is available in leading independent liquor stores, Vintage Cellars, and Dan Murphy's.

For more information, visit


Founded in 2004 by Christian Krogstad, and later helmed by CEO and Co-Owner Thomas Mooney, Westward is a leader of America’s craft distilling resurgence and the anchor of Portland, Oregon’s famed Distillery Row. Since the opening of its new, expanded distillery in 2015, which increased capacity six-fold, Westward is both the largest distilling operation in the Pacific Northwest and the largest craft distiller on the West Coast. A leader of the rapidly growing American single malt whiskey category, Westward has earned high praise around the world, with Gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, a 93-point/Excellent rating at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, a 94-point rating from Wine Enthusiast, and top billing in the Wall Street Journal's list of Singular Single Malts Born in the US

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Uncover #NewSouthWales Wine - April 2020

Wineries, brewers and distillers around NSW are steering their cellar doors online. Brothers Ed and Dave Swift from Printhie Wines (above) in Orange are showcasing their delicious cool climate wines in virtual tasting sessions on their Facebook and Instagram channels. Be sure to check out the tasting schedule ahead of time, so you can get your hands on the relevant varietals for the session, which kick off at 4pm every Friday.

Continue exploring the wine regions of NSW by joining winemakers Stuart Horden and Kate Sturgess from Brokenwood Wines in the Hunter Valley, for their tastings every Wednesday from 6pm.

Alternatively, if you’re all wine’d out, the team at Stone & Wood are delivering freshly brewed craft beers to your doorstep in selected areas and encourage you to join them to a ‘cyber cheers’, with after-work beers every day at 4pm on their Instagram.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Annie Fume Blanc Virtual Tasting at Chrry Tree Hill [video]

Fume Blanc 'Annie'
2018 Fumé Blanc
Southern Highlands, NSW

Fermented in French oak for 13 months, this Fume is full mouth feel yet has delicate fruit.

Buy this wine

This Mother's Day, step away from the macaroni and get your mum something she really wants. We have some great deals this week including a Girls Night In 6-Pack which we can deliver in time for mum to enjoy on her special day.

Includes the Annie Fume Blanc