Monday 28 February 2011


A GREAT $10 match with Hoisin sauce-basted
barbecued pork chops and salads.

David Ellis

WE're never averse to dabbling with $10 and under wines, particularly with a large tribe of grown-ups who like to drop around for weekend barbecues – and Deakin Estate had us dabbling marvellously a couple of weekends back with their just-released 2010 Chardonnay and 2010 Pinot Noir.

These wines are amongst six $10 releases from the 2010 vintage (the others are a Moscato, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Rosé) that winemaker Phil Spillman crafted from a perfect season on the Murray River – aiming all the while for exceptional quality, value for money wines for those watching the budget.

The Chardonnay was quite a stand-out and significantly different to the "peachiness" we've been used to with Deakin Estate Chardonnays in the past: this one has loads of citrus, pineapple, pear and apple flavours with nice acidity and is quite sweet for a Chardonnay. And it proved a perfect match with the Hoisin sauce-basted barbecued pork chops and salad.

YOU can't but enjoy this one
with a Sunday lamb roast.
The Pinot Noir blended from Coonawarra and Murray Darling fruit certainly didn't disappoint either at $10, with nice strawberry, cherry and vanilla overtones that well-satisfied the red drinkers who weren't quite sure how it would go with the pork and salad. The answer: wonderfully.

ONE FOR LUNCH: LOGAN Estate's Peter Logan well remembers the 2008 vintage at Orange on the NSW's Central Tablelands, in particular for one of his favourite tipples, Cabernet Merlot. Rain in February when sunshine was more important brought on botrytis in many early-ripening varieties, but fortunately winds and good sunny and mild weather later dried the vineyards and his Cabernet and Merlot both then ripened slowly – and beautifully.

The result is a 2008 Logan Cabernet Merlot of quite dark broodiness with bright berry-fruit flavours and savoury herbal notes. Really good buying at $25 to make that Sunday lamb roast all the better.


A big year for Oliver's Taranga

Media Release

Oliver's Taranga achieves a rare milestone this year - racking up 170 years of grape growing in South Australia's McLaren Vale.

The third oldest known family business in Australia including present day vigneron Don Oliver (fifth generation), winemaker Corrina Wright (sixth generation) and Cellar Door Manager Brioni Oliver (sixth generation) is planning to make it a big one, honouring a tradition started by their "great, great, great, great grandfather".

"170 years of continuous family ownership - with a few small hiccups and many more triumphs along the way - is something worth celebrating," said Corrina. "There are stories to be told and parties to be had," she said.

"2011 not only marks 170 years for Oliver's Taranga, it will also be the year that we begin the conversion of our vineyards to certified organic and when we release our first McLaren Vale Vermentino," said Corrina.

Oliver's Taranga began in 1841 when Scottish migrants William and Elizabeth Oliver settled in McLaren Vale immediately planting orchards and vineyards. William and Elizabeth prospered on the property, located in the "Seaview" sub-region of McLaren Vale.

The Oliver family are renowned grape growers. Oliver's Shiraz has been supplied to make Penfold's Grange consistently over the years and Don Oliver was awarded the inaugural Viticulturist of the Year by the McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association in 2005.

In 1875, the Adelaide Chronicles wrote, referring to Don's great-great-grandfather: "Although Mr Oliver's farm operations are large scale, it is evident from the quality of his wine that he has not neglected his vineyard and cellar" (July 10, 1875).

Since 1994, when Corrina convinced her uncles and grandfather to let her have some fruit from the vineyard to make wine from, the Oliver's Taranga vineyards have been producing wines under their own label, welcoming Corrina back officially as the winemaker in 2000.

A limited museum commemorative wine from the revered 2002 vintage will be released this year and a celebration for 170 people to take place at the Oliver's Taranga property is also planned for October this year.

Stay tuned for more news about Oliver's Taranga's 170th year.
Twitter @oliverstaranga

Saturday 26 February 2011

Sydney Cellar Door - Saturday Gallery

photos: Roderick Eime
Just a small section of the Saturday crowd.
Audrey Wilkinson brand manager, Georgia Lea, all excited about the winery's 2009 Tempranillo
Graeme & Ann Shaw kept busy keeping glasses full with their multi-award winning wines. Graeme was particularly enthusiastic about his new Estate Riscato, a lower alcohol wine made from Semillon, Riesling & Shiraz and perfect for the warm weather and alfresco dining.
Glandore winemaker, Duane Roy, didn't have to sell his 08 Estate Chardonnay very hard. "Next please!"
James Kirby doesn't need to brag about his Tumbarumba-grown Hungerford Hill Chardonnay, but he was pleased with the acceptance of winemaker, Michael Hatcher's, new Fishcage range of four contemporary varietals.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

NSW Wine Celebrates Year on Year Growth, Again | NSW Wine Festival

More and more the people of New South Wales are discovering the joys of their home-state wine, with seven out of ten bottles of wine produced in New South Wales sold in New South Wales, according to figures newly released from Nielsen.

Sales of NSW bottled wine in NSW retail outlets are experiencing continued year on year growth, reaching yet another record high of $82.1 million for 2010, up an outstanding 18.3% or $12.7 million from the previous year.  Impressively, over half the growth achieved falls within the super-premium $20+ bottle category, confirming NSW wine drinkers' growing appreciation for the quality of their State's product.

Chair of the NSW Wine Strategy James Agnew says, '"The wine drinkers of this State have heard and embraced the message that NSW winemakers deliver top quality wines. More than ever they are seeking out new regions and wine styles and purchasing NSW wines. It delights me that people are discovering the quality and diversity that NSW Wineries offer."

In February 2008 when the NSW Wine Strategy was launched, NSW Wines sales within our home State were $52.4 million, today they are $82 million, showing a staggering sales growth of $29.6 million in less than 4 years.

The breadth of wine produced in NSW will be on show at the Sydney Morning Herald Sydney Cellar Door this weekend at Hyde Park South where locals and visitors alike can meet the winemakers, tour the Wine Regions of NSW, taste the wines and savour sumptuous meals and  regional produce while enjoying outstanding live entertainment.

The NSW Wine Festival kicks off with Sydney Cellar Door this weekend.  For the full program or to pre-purchase tickets please visit

·         The Sydney Morning Herald Sydney Cellar Door: Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 February (11am-6pm)

Set in one of Sydney's most beautiful alfresco venues, Hyde Park South, it is free to enter, with wine tasting packages starting at just $25.

·         Dine with NSW Wine

Throughout March, participating restaurants will offer a special lunch or dinner meal matched with a glass of premium NSW Wine for under $50.  Participants include: Azuma, Number One Wine Bar, Catalina Rose Bay, Golden Century, Bathers' Pavilion, Ormeggio, and a number of regional NSW restaurants such as Silo in Newcastle, Eschalot in Berry and Arnott's Bakehouse in the Hunter.

·         NSW Wine ~ Tour of the Regions Dinners

Four of Sydney's leading hatted restaurants (Marque, Buon Ricordo, Restaurant Arras and Pilu at Freshwater) will host unique Tour of the Regions dinner experiences.

·         NSW Wine at The Sydney Morning Herald Growers' Market

Wine writers Huon Hooke and Nick Stock will appear at the monthly Growers' Market on Saturday March 5, to take marketgoers through a series of guided NSW wine tastings, matched with fabulous food from market producers.

31 December 2010 MAT Nielsen figures:

·       69.4% of bottled wine indicated to be from NSW is sold in NSW (MAT)

·       NSW accounts for 37.8% ($980m) of Australian Bottled Wine Sales with NSW experiencing 3.1% growth.

·       NSW Wine sales in the domestic market are predominantly in NSW with 69.4% ($82.1million) of NSW Wine sold in our home state, followed by 13.5% VIC, 12.6% QLD, 2.8% WA and 1% SA.

·       NSW Wine now represents 8.4% ($82.1 million) of the total bottled wine sold in NSW having grown18.3%

·       In $AUD dollar terms bottled wines sales in NSW indicated from NSW Wine have grown by $12.7 million on last year.

·       NOTE: All data prepared by Nielsen is based on wine sold in NSW that is indicated to be from NSW.

Monday 21 February 2011

Sydney Cellar Door | A Tantalising Line Up | 26 & 27 Feb

Media Release

A Tantalising Line-Up at Sydney Cellar Door!

NSW Wine Festival ~ February 26 – March 31, 2011

Top New South Wales wines, hip Australian musos and the coolest local restaurateurs and regional food producers see this year's jam-packed Sydney Cellar Door set to tantalise your tastebuds, thrill your ears and sooth your soul. Kicking off in Hyde Park on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th February, Sydney Cellar Door opens the month-long NSW Wine Festival and is destined to be even more delicious and entertaining than ever.

Matching the 400 NSW wines on taste is a mouth-watering line up of food and produce stalls including the groovy dudes from Bodega and Porteño (Sydney's hottest new restaurant) manning their first ever outdoor event with empanadas and seriously succulent roast pork.  They'll be joined by the likes of Jared Ingersoll from Cotton Duck, and Morgan McGlone from Young Alfred serving up his Wollongong royal red prawns and roast pineapple, coconut, sago and mint salad.

NSW regional produce will be celebrated with fabulous smoked meats from Poachers' Pantry, a chic charcuterie platter from Baroque Bistro and award-winning cheeses from Bangalow Cheese Company.  The delicious tastes continue with Syrian specialties from Almond Bar, spicy bites from Chat Thai, rice paper rolls from Snakebean and luscious duck pies from Sweet Infinity.  There will be dessert treats from Sweetness the Patisserie and The Restaurant at the Art Gallery of NSW who'll pair Araluen stone fruit with buttermilk pannacotta.

And live music all weekend will provide the perfect atmosphere.   The Cellar Door Stage opens with the high octane sounds of The John Field Band before moving over to the breathtaking vocals of 'Jazz Vocalist of the Year' Emma Pask.  Saturday afternoon will wrap up with Australia's own godfather of soul Doug Williams with old school funk, soul and R&B for the whole family.

Sunday starts out easy with Dixieland trad jazz from Robbers Dogs, before the pace hots up with The Strides's own brand of hip-hop-Afrobeat-reggae fusion. This dynamic ten-piece features the easy musings of reggae master Ras Roni from Trinidad and MC Lil Gzeus.  Slide into Sunday afternoon with Kinetic Method, an eclectic mix of acoustic guitar, keyboard and percussion with elements of funk, dance and R&B.

With a world-class festival vibe Sydney Cellar Door is expected to attract over 20,000 attendees as for the first time visitors will have two full days to enjoy the state's largest outdoor wine experience. Around 100 winemakers will be presenting more than 400 wines to discover.  Leading NSW wineries attending include the likes of Audrey Wilkinson, Bimbadgen, Brokenwood, Cumulus Estate Wines, Glandore, Logan, Nugan Estate, Scarborough Wine Company and Tyrrells.

The NSW Wine Festival program continues with restaurants featuring NSW Wine matches and exclusive degustation dinners in Sydney's best restaurants.

·         The Sydney Morning Herald Sydney Cellar Door: Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 February (11am-6pm)

Set in one of Sydney's most beautiful alfresco venues, Hyde Park South, it is free to enter, with wine tasting packages starting at just $25. Purchase from

·         Dine with NSW Wine
Throughout March, participating restaurants will offer a special lunch or dinner meal matched with a glass of premium NSW Wine for under $50.  Participants include: Azuma, Number One Wine Bar, Catalina Rose Bay, Golden Century, Bathers' Pavilion, Ormeggio, and  a number of regional NSW restaurants such as Silo in Newcastle, Eschalot in Berry and Arnott's Bakehouse in the Hunter.

·         NSW Wine ~ Tour of the Regions Dinners

Four of Sydney's leading hatted restaurants (Marque, Buon Ricordo, Restaurant Arras and Pilu at Freshwater) will host unique Tour of the Regions dinner experiences.

To pre-purchase tickets and for further details please visit


LOVING it: Italian-origin Moscato ideal
with chocolate desserts or cheesecake.


David Ellis

AUSSIE wine drinkers are developing a passionate new love-affair with Italian-origin Moscato.

And it could be for any number of reasons: our growing ethnic community bringing with it their own personal wine-loves, Australians themselves looking beyond the norm to wines best-suited to our growing appreciation of international cuisines, or maybe growing numbers of female wine-drinkers who enjoy softer and sweeter whites.

Whatever, sales of Moscato have jumped 87% here in the past two years and are now worth $49m a year to importers and local makers. One of the newest on the shelves is Margaret River's Amberley Wines Kiss & Tell 2010 Moscato that at 7% is a lighter alcohol wine that's also light on the palate with sweet tropical and melon fruit flavours, and has a slight effervescence to it.

TROPHY for Best Wine Under $20
– great with Moroccan lamb pie.
Pay just $14.99 and enjoy with light appetisers, or if you are a sweet-tooth, share it well-chilled with rich chocolate or creamy desserts, or cheesecake.

ONE FOR LUNCH: Picking up seven trophies for just five wines in three competitions in one day was a pretty good day at the office for Penfolds' winemaking team just before Christmas.

And while there were the usual top-shelf wines amongst those trophy winners at the National Wine Show in Canberra, the Adelaide Hills Wine Show and the Great Australian Red Challenge, we were impressed with the 2009 Koonunga Hill Seventy Six Shiraz Cabernet's trophy for Best Wine Under $20.

So if you're conscious of the budget on a night out, pay just $19.99 and match this one that's full-bodied with loads of dark berry flavours with Moroccan lamb pie or meaty Mediterranean dishes. It's a perfect combination.


Saturday 19 February 2011

Watch out Australia..."Not Your Usual Caravan of Courage" coming to a town near you!

Media release

It is time to get your surfboards waxed, sunscreen packed and wine glasses polished as the New Generation Hunter Valley winemakers are getting ready to embark on an epic two-week, east coast Austalia road trip they're calling "Not Your Usual Caravan of Courage".

With six top Hunter Valley winemakers, 10 locations, 20 events and dinners, 2000 kms covered and a whole lot of fun and frivolity, this road-trip is set to be a once in a life time experience. If this little 'surfari' doesnt bring Hunter Valley wines into the top of minds and onto the palates of the Australian consumer, who knows what will!

If you didn't already know, the New Generation Hunter Valley are group of six like-minded Hunter Valley Winemakers who decided to form and alliance with a difference over a beer at their local pub. David Hook (David Hook Wines), Andrew Thomas (Thomas Wines), Rhys Eather (Meerea Park), Nick Paterson (Mistletoe Wines), Mike De Iuliis (De Iuliis Wines) and Andrew Margan (Margan Family Wines) are all as fun loving larikans as they are passionate winemakers - all wanting to make a splash in the Australian wine industry and make drinking Hunter Valley wines, particularly Semillon and Shiraz, sexy.

But this time, they are packing their budgy smugglers (well, boardies!) and taking their wines to the masses. Kicking off in Melbourne on May 4th 2011, they'll be travelling north bound and stopping off at major coastal towns and cities such as Sydney, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Brisbane and finally culminating at the Audi Noosa Food and Wine Festival on May 13th-May 15th where they are featured celebrities in the international lineup.

Consumers, trade and media will have the opportunity to follow the "Not Your Usual Caravan of Courage" adventure online through Facebook as well as on their soon to be launched website, and by attending a whole bunch of 'Not your Usual...' Wine Tastings and Wine Dinners in beach-side venues along the way.

More information on dates, event venues and where to buy tickets to the "Not Your Usual..." events are soon to be released via - become a fan today as tickets are limited.

The Rochford Files

2008 Yarra Valley
Reserve Chardonnay

Attending the AIME conference in Melbourne last week, I was delighted to meet John Bright from Rochford - Yarra Valley.

Rochford's 08 Cab-Sav impressed
some finicky palates*
Eager delegates were jostling for glasses of the superb 2008 Cab-Sav and the chilled Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling. John saw me wince at the Sav-Blanc without even trying it (call me a snob) and suggested a sample of the 06 Reserve Chardonnay. My goodness, chardonnay doesn't get much better than that! It reads 'crisp and seamless with beautifully integrated stone fruit and citrus' on the label and I think that's on the money.

2008 Macedon Ranges
Pinot Noir
Thinking he couldn't possibly improve on that, John poured me a 2008 Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir. Now, I'm a sucker for a good Pinto Noir and this was definately a superior drop. Spicy cherry and a hint of oak, it's a cracker.

For anyone who's never been to Rochford (like me) it's way more than just a winery. It's a full wine, food and entertainment destination with everything from balloon flights to open air concerts.

Check out:

from Roderick Eime at AIME
* Matt Preston impersonator Ben Price appeared with the Cheeky Food Group

Friday 18 February 2011

Chardonnay Shines - RESULTS of the 2011 Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show

2011 Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show RESULTS

After tasting and critiquing their way through 2283 entries, the judges at the 2011 Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show have awarded top honours to the best wine and brandy on offer from the Australian wine industry, with chardonnay the stand-out favourite.

Thirty six trophies and 982 medals were awarded to entries representing Australia's top wine regions.

Peter Lehmann Wines from Tanunda, South Australia was the standout performer of this year's Show, taking out the coveted Macquarie Group Perpetual Trophy for its 2005 Margaret Semillon, the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) Annual Prize for Best Semillon and the Albert Chan Memorial Prize for Best White Wine of Show.

The winning entry from Peter Lehmann Wines greatly impressed the expert panel of 31 judges, led by Chairman of Judges Iain Riggs.

"Peter Lehmann Wines was exceptional this year, picking up three trophies, four Gold, three Silver and six Bronze medals in total and in the process made a bold claim for Barossa semillon," Mr Riggs said.

"At the other end of the production scale, Chapman Grove Wines from the Margaret River region also had an outstanding Show with two trophies from its four Gold medals across four different varieties."

The 2283 entries from 405 exhibitors judged at this year's Show covered red and white table wines, sparkling, fortified wines and brandy, with an impressive 43 per cent of entries receiving a medal.

2011 saw the Sydney Royal Wine Show become the first capital city wine show to implement a regional grouping judging system, based on the geographical indicators (GI) set out by the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation.

"This innovation was trialed to assess its suitability in the judging process," Mr Riggs said.

"It allows smaller entry numbers per class and importantly less palate fatigue among the judges, but the main purpose is to judge like with like. The six judges involved in the class judged by GI were positive in their comments," Mr Riggs said.

Wine Show Committee Chair Lyndey Milan said the standard of Australia's chardonnay was exceptional this year.

"It was pleasing to see the depth of quality of Australia's chardonnay with Gold medals being awarded to wineries stretching from Tasmania to Western Australia. However, the ever-reliable shiraz topped the medal tally," Ms Milan said.

The 2011 Show saw the introduction of a new trophy. Formally the RAS of NSW Annual Prize for Chardonnay, the AP John Coopers Perennial Trophy for Best Varietal Wine Chardonnay was awarded to Wolf Blass' 2009 White Label Chardonnay.

"Wolf Blass, while part of a much larger entity, is always a standout as a premium producer," Mr Riggs said.
"Their work with chardonnay - now going back more than 20 years - is paying dividends. Wolf Blass had a super Show with six Gold, three Sliver and 12 Bronze medals."

McWilliam's Wines once again retained the McCarthy Shield for the Most Successful Exhibitor in the wines and brandy section for the fourth year in a row.

The Len Evans Memorial Perpetual Trophy for Best Named Vineyard was awarded to Chapman Grove Wines for its 2009 Dreaming Dog Shiraz.

All trophy winners are listed in the attached document. For a complete breakdown of Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners, visit:

Monday 14 February 2011


JUST the drop with a
brunch of Eggs Benedict.


David Ellis

WHILE we've still hopefully quite a few more weeks of warm weather to enjoy lazy late Sunday morning brunches, a wonderful drop to share these with is Rolling Wines' 2010 Moscato.

The first frizzante-style (small bubbled semi-sparkling) from Rolling's innovative young winemaker Debbie Lauritz, this lovely drop is also just 6.5% alcohol – about half the norm – making it ideal for splashing chilled into large wine glasses to enjoy with those relaxing brunches.

A blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Black Muscat from Rolling Wines' vineyards in the cool climate Central Ranges of NSW, this wine's salmon-pink in colour with aromatic fruitiness and that frizzante light fizz. There's also a nice apple freshness without the biting acidity that sometimes comes with lower-priced fizzes.

At a good-value $17.95 put a couple of bottles on the ice and quaff it down with a brunch of Eggs Benedict.

KILLER drop: Italian Pinot Grigio perfect with
pan-fried or barbecued Atlantic salmon.
ONE FOR LUNCH: A label with a pair of legs in fishnet stockings, one stiletto on and one off, hints of a bare-backside, and the name The Killer may seem a somewhat raunchy way of drawing attention to your product on the shelves.

But South Australia's Chaffey Bros Wine Company has done it to good effect to successfully push sales of a 2009 Pinot Grigio they import in bulk and bottle here under supervision of their Italian winemaking partner in Venezia.

In keeping with the label the wine is subtly perfumed with floral and fruit – and put to the lips wakes the tastebuds with hints of honey and Pinot Grigio grassiness; at $14.95 a nice one to invite to the table with pan-fried or barbecued Atlantic salmon.


Monday 7 February 2011

Seafood & Sauvignon at Bluemetal Vineyard

Media Release

Seafood & Sauvignon at Bluemetal Vineyard
Saturday 19th February 2011

Fresh south coast Seafood matched with new release Bluemetal Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2010.

Bluemetal Vineyard, just outside of Berrima, in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW is celebrating summer at the vineyard, by offering another Seafood and Sauvignon Day.

The atmosphere is relaxed and casual, ideal to sit back and enjoy the beautiful summer vineyard setting. Bluemetal Café offers many large alfresco dining tables or a cosy indoors setting.

The menu for the day includes:
  • Freshly made Sushi
  • Platters of fresh prawns with dipping sauce
  • Platters of Freshly shucked Oysters
  • A range of Sourdough breads
  • As well as our Highland Cheese Platters.
New Releases

The Sauvignon Blanc 2010 – Honor was subject to unusual weather conditions in late summer 2010 which meant the grapes were picked riper than normal, resulting in intense flavours of melon and passionfruit. The addition of a small percentage of Semillon provides a hint of zesty lime and sometime in French oak barriques imparts a mild texture. A refreshing, well balanced wine with a subtle, silky persistence, perfect for matching with Seafood. Alc 11.2 %.  Drink now until 2013.

The Signature Pinot Gris 2010 has aromas of ripe pear and green apple. The palate is a complex blend of apple and citrus with a hint of wet stone. The wine has excellent length and displays a crisp, dry finish. Alc 12.5%.  Drink now until 2014.
Merlot is a traditional blending partner to Cabernet Sauvignon but makes a satisfying wine in its own right. Bluemetal Merlot 2008 is medium- to dark red in colour. The nose has aromas of berries and plums with just a trace of spiciness. The wine has a well-rounded palate, with dark plum, fruitcake and red berry flavours and supple, supporting tannins. Though immediately appealing, it will repay one or two years of cellaring.  Alc 12.5%. Drink now until 2013.

"We are really pleased with these new releases." Says Louise Horsley, manager of Bluemetal Vineyard.  " We are now in our eight vintage and seeing the wines evolve under our Bluemetal label has been rewarding and exciting.   Being so small, our wines vary with the different weather conditions each year brings but I believe that we are constantly improving our quality and continue to make wines that are different, interesting and award winning wines."

For full details of new release wines please visit the online store at

Seafood and Sauvignon - Free Entry but bookings are advisable on
(02) 4877 1877 or

Bluemetal Vineyard is the highest vineyard in the NSW Southern Highlands and produces single estate, award winning wines from its 11 hectare vineyard. There is a range of wines which includes whites: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and a Fumé Blanc and red wines: Sangiovese Rosé, Petit Verdot, and The Cabernets.
The Cellar Door is open Thursday to Monday from 10am to 5pm and the Café is open Friday to Monday and Public holidays from 11am to 4pm. Address: 112 Compton Park Rd, Berrima NSW 2577



David Ellis
A FIZZ bang for your buck:
Germany's Henkell Trocken claims title
to being  Europe's "favourite sparkling wine."

GERMANY's most famous sparkling wine, Henkell Trocken Sekt goes back 155-years to 1856 when Adam Henkell began making a bubbly little drop that whilst popular, took three generations of the family to really hit its straps.

And it was a 20-year-old, Otto Henkell who went to the USA to learn about marketing and trading, who finally put the wine on the world map: on his return home he recommended that the family discontinue its range of many differently-labelled sparkling wines, and produce just one Sekt (it means dry) bubbly of unmistakable flavour and quality.

And in a standard-labelled bottle, that could be recognised instantly wherever it was sold – in Germany or internationally.

It was revolutionary, and it worked. Today the company uses Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Blanc de Noir and Chenin from Rhine Valley vineyards to make a non-vintage fizz that's German-precision consistent, with a palate of smooth and creamy citrus-like fruit flavours and a lingering finish.

HISTORIC drop to share with a
rosemary-infused roast leg of lamb.
It sells 16-million bottles a year and claims title to being "Europe's favourite sparkling wine." It is also exports to 100 countries internationally, making Henkell Trocken a party-time favourite world-wide; enjoy at just $18.99.

ONE FOR LUNCH:  BRAND'S Laira were the first to plant Merlot in Coonawarra, and two rows of the original vines amid its-now 300ha vineyards were basically the genesis of most of Coonawarra's current Merlot plantings.

Fruit from those two original rows was hand-selected and used to create small quantities of the unique 2007 Brand's Laira Two Row Merlot, a big wine with varietal plum and blackberry flavours complemented by notes of cinnamon, chocolate and cedar. A great drop worth searching out – yet just $27.99. Share it with a rosemary-infused roast leg of lamb and baked vegies.


Australian wine industry rallies behind flood victims

Flood ravaged vineyards, some of which have lost their entire crops, have joined the Australian wine industry in an unprecedented show of generosity by the industry for victims of the floods.

Three hundred vineyards and wineries have donated more than $240,000 in exclusive wine, memberships, books and travel packages to the Australian Wine Trade Flood Relief Raffle - which is aiming to raise one million dollars for flood victims in Queensland and Victoria.

Launched by Brisbane based wine writer and author Tyson Stelzer with support from Australia's leading online wine and food travel guide,, wine has been donated from almost every corner of Australia; with wineries from Europe and New Zealand also contributing.

Two hundred prizes are up for grabs - including three boxes of Wild Duck Creek Duck Muck Shiraz 2007 valued at $1320 each, six three litre double magnums of Cullen Diana Madeline 2007 valued at $500 each and an imperial of Kalleske Eduard Shiraz 2008 (retail price $900).

Stelzer says since putting out the call to the wine industry for support just weeks ago, he can't believe the generosity that has been shown, particularly given they've faced such tough times themselves.

"It hasn't been an easy year, as winemakers face widespread crop damage due to mildew and disease from the humidity, let alone direct damage to vineyards from rain and floods, all in the midst of a particularly challenging time in the market for everyone, so to see this kind of support is simply overwhelming."

Jason Kaeser who owns Kaeserberg Vineyard and Winery on the bank of the Lockyer Creek has had to replant three times in four years, and lost most of his vineyard to the Queensland floods - but was one of the first to donate.

He was forced to evacuate and on returning to his property found many sentimental items destroyed from flood waters which ravaged his property.

He says returning to his property was devastating, with dead animals strewn across the vineyard and having to trudge through the stench of the mud to salvage what he could - but he's just grateful he and his wife, and their three dogs, made it out alive.

"It is absolutely devastating, but it is phenomenal that everyone has chipped in, and people you don't know are coming up to you and offering to help out, it restores your faith in humanity."

Mount Avoca in Victoria, which donated a selection of its award winning wines, lost its entire crop to floods which affected one third of the State.

Despite facing an estimated $1.5 million loss over the next 24 months, Director Matthew Barry is philosophical, saying his problems seem trivial to others affected by the foods.

"It's not like losing your loved one, or your house .. sure economically we'll be hit very hard, but our family survived and we have our house."

He says the focus now needs to be on Melburnians supporting local vineyards.

"Taking a visit and purchasing wines at cellar door can really make a difference to smaller vineyards. It will help ensure they survive and without that, the future is grim."

Hanging Rock Winery in the Macedon Ranges also lost its entire crop for the year, and half of its crop in Heathcote, but Ruth Ellis says they didn't give a second thought to contributing to the cause.

"The floods were short and sharp and with the clean-up comes the need to get out and support each other." founder and CEO Robyn Lewis who is providing backend support, online raffle ticket services and donating memberships to its own online wine and food travel guide, which has 30,000 subscribers, hopes it will go some way to help drive visitors to cellar doors.

"Working in the wine industry and owning our own vineyard, we feel deeply for those affected by the floods and hope our involvement can in some way not only support flood victims, but go some way to assisting the wine industry through these trying times.

"But most of all, it's about being part of the community and showing those affected that they are not alone."

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased from from February 4 with the raffle drawn on 11 March. There are 40,000 tickets available, and no limit on the number of tickets which can be purchased.

Victoria counts down to foodie fervour: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival celebrates highlight events from 250 + program

Media Release
The 19th Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (4 -14 March) invites fun-loving foodies to prime their tastebuds and clear their diaries as the countdown begins to Australia's preeminent celebration of food and wine. In five weeks the Festival will bring food and wine to the streets across 11 delicious days, from Chinatown to Footscray to Dandenong, and from the High Country to the Mornington Peninsula in a year that celebrates Heritage and Tradition.

A sold-out World's Longest Lunch (Fri 4 March) kicks off the Festival in the garden surrounds of the Royal Exhibition Building, but with more than 250 events, including 50 for under $50, there is still a plethora of tickets up for grabs. Book now to take a seat at one of 25 Regional World's Longest Lunches in spectacular locations across Victoria, then stay for the weekend to feast on more than 50 other regional events, from family festivals to alfresco lunches and dinners celebrating the state's bountiful produce and local wine.

On the first weekend, take your pick from alfresco events for every palate. Taste your way around Victoria's wine regions at Melbourne's original boutique wine market Cellar Door & Farm Gate (South Wharf Precinct, Sat 5 & Sun 6 March) in a new grassy riverside location, or celebrate multicultural cuisine, music and dancing at the SBS Food Journey Festival (Royal Exhibition Building, Fri 4 - Sun 6 March).

On your way there, pass through the CBD and drop into Metlink Edible Garden (City Square, 4 - 13 March) and watch free cooking and gardening demos as top chefs and gardeners revive the lost arts of pickling, preserving, baking and stewing. Sunday 6 March is officially Foodie Family Day presented by City of Melbourne (Federation Square Plaza) with hands-on fun and learning, spud-hunting, taste testing in the mini-market and foodie family favourites on the big screen.

Fill your week with after-work quick sips, longer feasts and satiating classes, or drop into Fed Square to catch free food-flavoured cinema and dish demos at HOSTPLUS Foodie Films (Mon 7 - Fri 11 March).

The Festival's second weekend has every level of wine enthusiast covered, with events ranging from global benchmark tastings at Acqua Panna Global Wine Experience for the wine obsessed to new all-round pleaser Perfect Match replete with food tastings, wine and tipple pairings, and sound advice from cupid (both at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sat 12 & Sun 13 March); and an unmissable tasting of some of the purest wines on the planet presented by revered biodynamic winemakers including Spain's Telmo Rodriguez at Australian exclusive Return to Terroir (ZINC at Fed Square, Mon 14 March).

Food lovers can still catch 100 of the world's biggest and brightest food and wine personalities at Langham Melbourne MasterClass, with select tickets available including Spain's Elena Arzak, New York's Zakary Pelaccio and Bordeaux's Jean-Guillaume Prats.

Spice takes centre stage at the Festival's night of extravagance, Stars of Spice - The Gala Dinner (North Melbourne, Sat 12 March) with fragrant and heady global flavours from stars including the UK's Atul Kochhar, Bali's Chris Salans and Peru's Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. These and other international stars will also showcase their spice-laden cuisines at amazing gastronomic dinners at Crown restaurants and Star Cooking Classes at Culinarium during the Festival.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, 4 - 14 March 2011, more than 250 events online:

Friday 4 February 2011

NSW Wine Festival | Feb 26 to March 31 2011

Media Release

2011 set for Wine & Food Heaven!

NSW Wine Festival ~ Feb 26 – March 31, 2011

NSW wines are set to star at the annual NSW Wine Festival launching February 26, 2011. Every year New South Wales toasts its most talented winemakers and award-winning wines with a collection of exciting public tastings and dinners in Sydney. This year the celebrations will be bigger and better than ever with the newly named NSW Wine Festival (formerly NSW Wine Week) hosting even more ways to discover the delicious wine and food produce from New South Wales' 14 diverse wine regions.

It is no coincidence that 2011 rhymes with 'heaven', as this year's month-long program is set to be the most tantalizing and tasty ever seen!

·      Sydney Cellar Door - February Sat 26 & Sun 27, 2011 (11am-6pm) - kicks off the festival as in previous years, but this year for the first time visitors will have a full weekend to enjoy even more wine styles, accompanied by all-day live music and cool entertainment, creating a world-class festival atmosphere.

To join the 100 or so winemakers that will be bringing their favourite drops to our fair city, the State's best producers and providores, and Sydney greatest restaurateurs will provide more dishes than ever to complement your wines perfectly.

One thing that hasn't changed is it will once again be set in one of Sydney's most beautiful alfresco (and convenient) settings, Hyde Park, and it is still free to enter (with tasting packages starting at just $25).

This year's Sydney Cellar Door is set to be our State's premier Wine & Food Fair and cement its position as the 'must attend' cultural event on the Sydney calendar.

·      Dine with NSW Wine – February 28 to March 31, 2011

Can't attend the Sydney Cellar Door on the weekend of the 26th & 27th? Well you can now explore the best our state has to offer during the whole of March 2011, with special wine-matched menus at participating restaurants throughout NSW. Celebrate the NSW Wine Festival at lunch or dinner, from just $30-$50 including wine. Participating restaurants will be listed on

·      Tour NSW Wine Regions Dinners - selected dates throughout March, 2011

And don't miss the very special Tour NSW Wine Regions Dinners! A series of unique degustation dinners – made from exclusively NSW produce and matched to the finest NSW wines - hosted by leading food and wine personalities at four specially-selected top Sydney restaurants. For more details see

So why so many great improvements when these events have already been sell-out successes since their launch in 2008?

New Chair of the NSW Wine Strategy, James Agnew explains, "We have a lot to celebrate this year! The latest Nielsen figures* show that sales of NSW bottled wines, within NSW, have grown a staggering 22% or $14.3 million on the previous year, to reach a record $79.3 million. This outstrips the State's growth of only 0.8% in the same period and shows that people are really embracing the quality and personality of our local wines. This phenomenal support is truly appreciated by the NSW wine industry and we are happy to give a little back. The new 2011 NSW Wine Festival is the ultimate way to meet all the well-known names in the wine and food industries, as well as discover the true secret gems our State has to offer."

*31 August 2010 MAT Nielsen data

NSW's 14 diverse wine regions are: Canberra, Cowra, Gundagai, Hastings River, Hilltops, Hunter Valley, Mudgee, New England, Orange, Perricoota, Riverina, Shoalhaven, Southern Highlands and Tumbarumba.

For full program details see