Saturday 29 June 2013

Bernard Fanning: A Day on the Green

Media Release

Including Robert Oatley Vineyards, Mudgee

With a #1 debut for his new album ‘Departures’, rave reviews, press covers everywhere, plenty of radio love and fans more than thrilled with his new songs, Bernard Fanning is once again at the forefront of Australian music.

And that being said, it’s the perfect time to announce the much-loved, multi-awarded singer-songwriter has teamed up with the equally much-loved winery event a day on the green for a series of concerts nationally in late October/November.

Fanning is set to bring his acclaimed ‘Tea & Sympathy’ and ‘Departures’ albums to the stage on a warm summer’s night against the back-drop of the beautiful vineyards of Mudgee and the Hunter Valley in NSW, Barossa Valley in SA, Yarra Valley in VIC and Mt Cotton in Qld, and the picturesque Kings Park in Perth. How good will this be? 

Special guests on the tour – also making their a day on the green debut – will be the iconic Cruel Sea, along with the incredible Sarah Blasko and the charming Bob Evans. The tour will kick off on Saturday October 26 at Robert Oatley Vineyards - the 13th a day on the green event in Mudgee.

“I'm really looking forward to these a day on the green shows,” Fanning said. “I have been hearing about them for years and am glad to be playing my new songs in such a dignified setting. And I'm looking forward to a couple of vinos with Bob Evans, Sarah Blasko and The Cruel Sea.”

Fanning’s ‘Departures’ album, which debuted at #1 on the ARIA chart last week, is his first since Powderfinger called it a day and is the highly anticipated follow up to his 5 x Platinum solo debut ‘Tea & Sympathy’.  His recording success is paralleled in the live arena, where he has proved again and again why he is one of Australia’s finest and most popular live performers.

He is delighted to have three top quality Australian acts in The Cruel Sea, Sarah Blasko and Bob Evans joining him for what promises to be a very special a day on the green.

The unstoppable force that is the Cruel Sea - Tex Perkins, James Cruickshank, Dan Rumour, Jim Elliot and Ken Gormley – has been on a day on the green’s hit list for quite a while. Live performances may be sporadic these days, but the band’s collective chemistry and the swagger and power of their unmistakable grooves remains unrivalled.

Sarah’s fourth album ‘I Awake’ has re-affirmed her status as one of the country’s most outstanding and most applauded artists......‘a defining, unsettling masterpiece’ (Rolling Stone), ‘a great Australian talent’ (The Australian), ‘a truly once in a lifetime artist’ (West Australian) and ‘captivating’ (Herald Sun).  After a sojourn in Paris touring and promoting ‘I Awake’, the ARIA award-winning Best Female Artist returns home in July to co-incide with the release of the haunting new single ‘All Of Me’. Enchanting and undeniably brilliant, Sarah is set to thrill a day on the green audiences.

Bob Evans, the lovable alter-ego of Jebediah frontman Kevin Mitchell, has been charming fans with his quirky solo projects for the past decade.  His fourth album instalment ‘Famous Stranger’ was released in March and showcases a progressive pop sound that is downright irresistible. He’s sure to be a crowd pleaser at the upcoming concerts.  

Fanning is the first national tour announcement for the upcoming – and 13th - a day on the green summer season for which promoter Roundhouse Entertainment is pleased to welcome two sponsors, AAMI and Sunsuper.

Bernard Fanning, The Cruel Sea, Sarah Blasko and Bob Evans – sounds like a wonderful day of great Australian music!

a day on the green is a fully licensed event.  Strictly no BYO alcohol.  Food will be available on site or BYO picnic.  Deck chairs and picnic rugs are recommended.   For all event information, go to

Gold Reserved Seat: $149 plus b/fee
General Admission (BYO chairs & rugs): $94.90 plus b/fee

Leave the car at home and pre-book on a coach. For ticket and coach travel from surrounding towns, call Ogden’s Coaches on (02) 6372 2489 or email: (operating from Lithgow, Bathurst, Orange, Wellington, Dubbo, Kandos, Lui, Rylstone, Gulgong).

Langley’s Coaches (02) 6882 8977 or email: will also operate from Dubbo, Geurie and Wellington,

A shuttle bus service will also operate from Mudgee accommodation venues and the CBD to the winery, returning after the show.

Tent Town will again operate at the Australian Rural Education Centre offering an affordable accommodation option only 5 mins from the centre of Mudgee and the concert site. There are two ($140), three ($200) and four-man ($247) tents, with additional stretcher beds, camp mattresses, chairs, table, and LED battery lanterns also available for hire. For further information go to: and click on the ADOTG icon.

Camping is also available at The Henry Lawson Caravan Park, Mudgee Tourist & Van Resort and Mudgee Valley Tourist Park.

Further information and accommodation bookings can be made at the Mudgee Visitor Information Centre, Market Street, Mudgee or free call 1800 816 304.

From & 136 100 and the Mudgee Bookcase 6372 3127

Friday 28 June 2013

Meerea Park moves its top-selling Hunter Valley wines to exciting new cellar door location

Media Release
One of the Hunter Valley's most awarded boutique wineries, family-owned Meerea Park, will open its new cellar door in July in one of the Hunter's most visible locations;, the corner of Broke and McDonalds Roads.

Owners of Meerea Park, winemaker Rhys Eather and his brother Garth, have been crafting fine Hunter Valley wines made with fruit from some of the region's best vineyards sites since 1991. 

Previously at the former Boutique Wine Centre site since 1997, also on Broke Road, Meerea Park closed that cellar door on 19 May, packed up all their prized wine collection and have headed to the much-visited Roche Complex which also houses Tempus Two Wines, where they will occupy and welcome guests to a renovated and refurbished 110 square metre space.

The landmark complex is owned by the Roche Group who also own other popular tourist destinations in the area including the Hunter Valley Gardens. The complex attracts a regular stream of visitors, with other tenants onsite including The Smelly Cheese Shop, Oishi Restaurant, Goldfish bar and cocktail lounge, The Barrel Room and Tempus Two's own cellar door.  
 Inline images 2

Whilst the Meerea Park winery is into its 23rd year, the winemaking history of the Eather family dates back more than a century. In 1850, Rhys and Garth's great great grandfather, Alexander Munro established Bebeah Vineyard in Singleton. The Eathers pay homage to their roots, with their wine label design featuring an illustration of an intricate gas lamp and fountain which Alexander had commissioned and shipped over from Scotland. Indeed the Meerea Park Alexander Munro range of wines, with shiraz, semillon and chardonnay, are the company's flagship and premium releases.  The Terracotta range also offers exceptional drinking, with the 2006 Terracotta Semillon a winner of no less than four trophies in the 2012 Hunter Valley Wine Show.

 Inline images 1

The move to a new space in the Hunter Valley is fitting for Meerea Park and in keeping with their approach to both respect the traditions of theirs and the region's winemaking history, whilst also offering new generations of visitors to the Hunter a tangible and fun wine and tourism experience. The Eather boys are also one part of Next Generation Hunter Valley – a collaboration between six fun-loving Hunter Valley winemakers who every year take their wines on a travelling road show up and down the east coast of Australia, keen to show the diversity and excitement surrounding modern Hunter Valley wines.

Visitors are invited to samples across the selection of exciting Meerea Park wines from a team of knowledgeable cellar door staff at the new cellar door at 2144 Broke Road Pokolbin. Opening from 6th July 2013 and operating   7 days a week from 10am to 5pm.

Monday 24 June 2013

New Book Unveils Forgotten History of Australian Wine

Press Release

On Wednesday 26th June, The Deputy Premier, the Hon Andrew Stoner MP, will be the special guest at the book launch of "First Vintage – Wine in Colonial New South Wales".

"First Vintage" was written by Newcastle-based academic Dr Julie McIntyre and explores the forgotten history of the early Australian wine industry.

The book was published by UNSW Press with the support of the NSW Wine Industry Association which considered it important to document the role of the early pioneers and their influence on the modern Australian wine industry.

It traces the development of the industry from the arrival of vine cuttings with the First Fleet and the roles played by influential colonists such as Blaxland, Wentworth, Lawson, John Macarthur and Thomas Mitchell.  It demonstrates the impact of international science and technology and the early emergence of wine regions, many of which vanished from the landscape and memory for much of the 20th Century.

President of the NSW Wine Industry Association, David Lowe, praised Dr McIntyre's work.  "It is important to recognise the influence of the early winemakers and understand how this has shaped the NSW wine industry. 

More than this, the story of wine in early NSW is the foundation of Australian wine history. Julie's book is a must have for all winemakers and anyone who loves wine!" said David.

In his cover endorsement, noted wine critic James Halliday says First Vintage "...deserves a place on everyone's bookshelf." 

Copies of "First Vintage" can be purchased on line at for $49.95 plus postage and handling

"First Vintage – Wine in colonial New South Wales" by Julie McIntyre is published by UNSW Press, 247 pages with colour.


REWARDING drop with
a winter's Sunday roast.

David Ellis

WHEN you buy an obsolete cricket ground that's heard the Thwack! of bat on ball for a-near half-century and replant it with a vineyard – in deference to its founders and fans leaving the actual cricket pitch untouched in the centre of the vines – it's probably only natural that you'll give one of your cricket ground vineyard wines a cricketing moniker.

And that's just what Jim Barry Wines did when they bought the old Penola Cricket Ground in South Australia's Coonawarra in 1996, when the game ended there after some 46 seasons. They planted most of it, except for the pitch and a small area around it, as well as close to 12ha (30 acres) outside the fence, with cabernet sauvignon, and labelled the resultant wine The Cover Drive.

Their now just-released The Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is a drop to enjoy this time of year with a hearty winter's Sunday roast, or to cellar away for three to five years; it's nose exhibits a delightful blend of dried herbs, cedar, cassis and sandalwood, and the palate has rewarding velvety fine tannins coupled with nuances of briary fruit and wood from 12 months in 50% American and 50% French oak.

Pay $22.95 and you'll realise why Jim Barry Wines wanted to get their hands on this great 12ha sitting over some of Coonawarra's finest terra rossa soil.

CAPITALISING on growing popularity
of wines with lower alcohol and calories.
ONE TO NOTE: AT the time Lindeman's launched their Early Harvest range of lighter alcohol and calories wines in 2007, they did so with just two labels: today they have eleven wines now made to this growing-in-popularity lower alcohol/calories format.

The latest is the Early Harvest Pinot Grigio that it says is the first lighter alcohol/calories pinot grigio on the market, and well timed to capitalise on the growing popularity of the variety whose sales under all labels are increasing at an amazing 22% year-on-year.

And despite Early Harvest Pinot Grigio's just 8% alcohol, it's got refreshing crunchy apple and pear flavours and balanced acidity. At $14.99 a good drop to take along to the party room if you've more than just a couple of glasses in mind.   


Monday 17 June 2013


GIVE it 12 or 15 years in the cellar, or still
enjoy now with wintry chicken and leek pie.


David Ellis

THEY'VE been making durif at Rutherglen in Victoria since around 1908, so it's little wonder the region has earned its reputation for creating iconic durifs that come from seven makers who've perfected the art of the varietal.

One such is Campbells Wines whose history goes back to 1859 but which didn't really get into stand-alone durif until the mid-1950s, and has since risen to be amongst the fore-front of makers: their recently-released 2010 Barkly Durif is nothing short of sensational with wonderfully powerful dark cherry and blackberry fruit, nice oak and earthy characters coming together to make it beautifully more-ish.

Not one to rush into, it could do with a good 12 months to settle comfortably in the bottle (and should prove hugely rewarding for those with the patience to nurture it in the cellar over 12 or 15 years,) but if you can't wait then, decant it a few hours before serving and enjoy now with a slow-cooked sugar-cured lamb rump.     

 $10 bargain from "wonderful"
Victoria Murray-Darling vintage.
It's certainly worth the $48 asking price for those who enjoy this not-quite-mainstream varietal and which is really now making a name for itself. And for those interested: Durif itself had its beginnings with the cross-pollination of Syrah and Peloursin in France's Montpelier region somewhere around the 1860s, resultant vines later found their way to California (where it's now known as Petite Syrah) and then to Rutherglen in 1908.

ONE TO NOTE: DEAKIN Estate Winemaker, Dr Phil Spillman says the "wonderful" 2012 vintage in Victoria's Murray-Darling resulted in the best overall quality fruit he's seen in nine vintages in the region.

And a quite exceptional chardonnay he's created from that fruit should have chardy fans rushing to their liquor stores: while this one's got excellent mid-ripeness apple and citrus flavours and a touch of brioche from time in-barrel, the price tag is a remarkable $10. Yes, $10. Certainly well worth snapping up a few and enjoying with a winter-time chicken and leek pie, or grilled tuna and roast vegies with a sesame dressing.


Monday 10 June 2013


DEDICATED to an amazing lady
forced to the helm 27 years ago.


David Ellis

AFTER retiring from 27 years at the helm, Michelle Nugan can now invite friends to share a very special drop with her on the many big occasions that lay ahead – Nugan Estate's Chief Winemaker, Daren Owers has created an exceptional wine in her honour under the label Nugan Estate Matriarch McLaren Vale Shiraz 2006.

Thrown into her role after the unexpected death of her husband Ken, who died within six weeks of being diagnosed with cancer in 1986, Michelle found she'd inherited a business that she says, at best, could be described as faltering. "I would like to recognise the support of my children Matthew and Tiffany during those early days as CEO," she says. "But together with Daren Owers and his winemaking team, I believe Nugan Estate has gone on to become one of Australia's great family success stories."

Daren's drop created to honour Michelle is a real cracker, and while in the top-shelf price range at $65 is worth every cent: sourced from the family's premium 11ha vineyard in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia, it's a wonderfully rich and full-bodied Shiraz with an elegant – and seductive – palate of opulent dark fruits layered with dark chocolate and anise, silky tannins and well-integrated oak.

Reward yourself with a bottle (or two) at that next very special occasion – and raise a glass at the same time to an amazing lady after whom it is named.

END of a blockbuster era – but the beginning
of another more refined and elegant.
ONE TO NOTE: THE recently-released 2011 Angus the Bull Cabernet Sauvignon marks the end of an era – and the beginning of another.

Created a decade ago by winemaker Hamish MacGowan and wife/business partner Brigitte purely for the enjoyment of having a good cut of prime beef accompanied by a great red, up until the 2011 its been blended from fruit from across South Eastern Australia: from the 2012 vintage it will be made from exclusively Central Victoria fruit.

This will result in a more refined, elegant and less blockbuster Angus, but still a great partner with a great steak – and if it stays around its $19.95, still great-value buying.


Monday 3 June 2013


SOMETHING a little different that's
great with steak and kidney pie.

David Ellis

THE Clare Valley's Tim Adams has a problem: he's tweaked one of his great reds, shown it to liquor retailers and restaurateurs who've all said he's come up with a potential Aussie classic – but that no, they won't put it on their shelves or wine lists.

Because until now his Tim Adams Cabernet was labelled as just that, even though it had some 15% malbec blended into it. Buyers loved it, and a few years ago he increased that 15% malbec to 20% to further complement the leaner cabernet flavours with the wonderfully soft mulberry of malbec. This meant that because malbec was now a 20% component of the wine, by law it had to be included on the label, so since the 2008 vintage Tim's labelled it Cabernet Malbec.

And herein lays the problem: most bottle shops and restaurant wine lists don't have sections or listings for cabernet malbec – so they're shying away from this great new blend, a blend whose sales, incidentally, are booming in the UK. "Okay it's a reasonably uncommon blend," says Tim, "But once people try it they quickly become fans… it's just a matter of getting them to taste it."

LOADS of flavour, but less alcohol
goes well with salads and seafoods.
And having done so ourselves, we agree with Tim that it will be a decision you'll not regret. Pay $29, and as we did, enjoy with a home-made steak and kidney pie.

ONE TO NOTE: LILLYPILLY Estate in the NSW Riverina has followed-up its 2011 Sauvignon Blanc with a 2012 release that also has its predecessor's 10% alcohol content, compared with 11.5 to 12 per cent for earlier vintages.

"It's a response to talking with our cellar-door visitors and those we meet at wine fairs and other events," says Lillypilly winemaker, Robert Fiumara. "They tell us about wanting lots of flavour, but at the same time slightly lower levels of alcohol, from both a health perspective and to better suit modern cuisine."

Robert's created a great drop with ample herbaceous and tropical-fruit flavours and a crisp palate; good value too at $15.50 to share with salads, seafoods or Asian dishes.