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Enjoy July's wine, food, travel news and events across Australia and NZ, the best wine book in the world, and win wine, plus pick your own prize!
Winter pruning Granton Vineyard Tasmania by Stefano Lubiana (Flickr)

Yay it's July, bring on the wine, food and festivals to warm up winter

<<SALUTATION>>


Do you love winter? Or hate it? Like it or not, it's one of the most important times in the vineyard, when pruning the vines occurs – the all-important selection and laying down of canes that will bear the fruit of the next vintage. With every snip, the pruners are deciding on the taste and quality of your wines in the year ahead. So spare a thought for the hardy souls braving frost and snow  (we are told even on Queensland's Granite Belt!), including those at Stefano and Monique Lubiana's Granton Vineyard in Tasmania, pictured above. Brrr! Makes you want to open a red wine right now, doesn't it?! So let's beat those winter blues with the latest wine and food news and tips for you.

The good folk at Wine Australia have been busy too, releasing their Australian Wine Industry Strategic Plan 2015-2020 on 1st July. You can read the full plan or a summary here. We wish the team all the best in its implementation, especially in their aim to put Australian wine back on the world stage where it belongs.

Someone helping to do that is Dr Thomas Girgensohn, whose book  Barossa Shiraz has just been crowned Best Wine Book of the World at Yantai in China. We loved this book when it came out, and if you 're a red wine lover, you should read it – Edouard Cointreau of the Gourmand World Cookbooks Awards says so too.

Also in China, this week sees the unveiling of the World's First Smart Wine Bottle in Shanghai. It features Western Australian wine from Ferngrove in the Frankland River area of the Great Southern region, which is now sold widely in China. I (Robyn) have been working with the Norwegian company behind the tech, Thinfilm, and believe the marketing and other potential for this is huge, for food and other premium products as well as wine. If anyone wants to find out more, please email me »

Next month will be our annual survey, when you get the chance to tell us what you think about all things wine. Look out for it in your inbox in the weeks ahead, and meanwhile scroll down to find out what's happening, the latest news and reviews, and lots more from around the world of wine and food :) 

Want to head straight to our home page for the latest? »
Or visit our online store »
 

NEWS and REVIEWS 

NEWSworthy:
Thomas Girgensohn's excellent book, Barossa Shiraz, has won Best Wine Book in the World at the 2015 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards »

Wine Tasmania has announced dates and venues for VIN Diemen tastings which will build on previous years' Tasmania Unbottled events »

In a West Perth distillery, a small batch organic vodka is being made with an unusual name, a dressed seahorse on the label and from a still called Kylie »

Australian chardonnay continues to shine with big wins at this year's Royal Queensland Wine Show »

Entries are open until the 7th August for the Australian Cool Climate Wine Show held in the ACT in September »

A film chronicling the history of the South Australian Hamilton family and their contribution to the wine industry has been awarded the trophy for the Best International Film at the 22nd Festival Oenovidéo  »

Driving an electric car from Perth to the Margaret River region has become far easier with the RACWA launching its Electric Highway  »

Canadian cider expert and author Claude Jolicoeur, will be guest judge at this year's Australian Cider Awards »

Oakridge in the Yarra Valley has welcomed Matt Stone as head chef with his partner Jo Barrett as sous chef »

Over in Geelong, one of the region's best young chefs is heading the new Saint Regis Food & Wine Bar »

On REFLECTION:
Doug Purdie sets out why we should keep bees in this extract from his excellent beginner beekeeper's guide, Backyard Bees »

On REVIEW:
What do you get when two respected cartoonists decide to set off on a bicycle trip around Tasmania's whisky distilleries? Kerry took a deep breath (and perhaps a tipple to help) and delved into Kudelka and First Dog's Spiritual Journey »

We expect Sara's new home to be overflowing with herbs and potted fruit after her review of Courtyard Kitchen by Natalie Boog. It's a bright, stylish book full of recipes and tips for growing, storing and using herbs »   

More wine please »

Food, glorious food »

EVENTS and FESTIVALS

It might be winter but there are plenty of reasons to rug up and get out and about in wine country, or for your urban wine experience!

Coonawarra Wine Tasting Roadshow
Brisbane: 9 Aug »
Sydney: 11 Aug »
Melbourne: 13 Aug »
Hobart: 14 Aug »
Adelaide: 16 Aug »

VIN Diemen (formerly Tasmania Unbottled)
(new name, even more fun!)
Melbourne: 16 Aug »
Brisbane: 20 Aug »
Sydney: 5 Sep »

NSW
Meet the Makers Pop up W&F Fest, Broke: 25 Jul »
Cowra Wine Show Public Tasting: 25 Jul »
Winemaker's Table Dinner, Mudgee: 15 Aug »

QLD
Regional Flavours, Brisbane: 18-19 Jul »
Xmas in July, Ballandean: 25 Jul »
Australian Italian Festival, Ingam: 1-2 Aug »

Vic
Pfeiffer Wines Photographic Exhibition,
Rutherglen: 1-31 Jul »
French WIne & Cheese Matching, Melb: 18 Jul »
Open House Melbourne: 25-26 Jul »

SA
Winter Reds Festival, Adelaide HIlls: 24-26 Jul »
Joe Ahern Unplugged, Williamstown :2 Aug »
Cellar Treasures, Langhorne Creek: 8-9 Aug »

WA
A Taste of Broome: 16 Jul »
Cider & Sliders, Perth: 21 Jul »
A Taste of the Blackwood: 8 Aug »
Gascoyne Food Festival: 13-15 Aug »

TAS
Devonport Jazz Festival: 23-26 Jul »
Josef Chromy Xmas in July, Launceston: 25 Jul »
Chocolate Winterfest, Latrobe: 9 Aug »

ACT
Truffle inspired dinners: every weekend Jul - Aug »

NT
Darwin Festival: 6-23 Aug »

NZ
Grain vs Grape Degustation Night, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty: 22 Jul »
A Taste of Europe, Auckland: 7-8 Aug »


Events and festivals near you on our calendar »
More on wine & food festivals and events »

WINE and FOOD TRAVELS

It might be mid winter right now but with these makeovers and refurbishments, it feels like spring is in the air already!

Thinking spring travels to or from Tassie? The Spirit of Tasmania ships are having a makeover with fresh new bars, dining and relaxing areas and cabins ready for cruising the Strait by the end of August »

And if you're coming to the island state, we highly recommend you check out the new cellar door at Puddleduck, it's fantastic and still as friendly! »

Another cellar door going world class is Magill Winery, the spiritual home of icon Penfolds. It certainly adds yet another reason to visit Adelaide »

Over in Margaret River let the whales, wine, truffles and caves draw you outdoors with these eight exhilarating weekenders »

The subject of change in Canberra is always a topic in the media but Robyn recently found there have been changes of much more interest to you and us in the wine and food scene! Australia's Capital Cookbook II  showcases the best chefs and culinary enticements »

Another book with content aplenty to prompt travel plans is The River Cottage Australia Cookbook by Paul West. Not just his story or a recipe book, it's a call to country – and with evocative images throughout, you may find yourself answering that call, perhaps even to Tilba on the south coast of NSW »

 

Head off to wine & food country here »

To TASTE and CREATE
From the glass
Rutherglen in Victoria has a long winemaking history and is renowned for its rich, intense fortifieds topaques and muscats. Five star family winery Pfeiffer has built on that heritage and adds makes their own contribution to the legacy. Here's a small taste from their 'pfabulous' range »

In Tasmania's beautiful south east is another Halliday five star winery that's added a few more stars to its wines over recent weeks: Bream Creek Vineyard. And it's no wonder when the vines have such glorious views over Marion Bay and Maria Island. Here are their very latest tasting notes and accolades »


To the kitchen:
Margaret and Me by Kate Gibbs is part biography, part autobiography and full of marvelous recipes for both food and life itself. 'Margaret, as in Fulton, is one of the country's best loved women, attributed with teaching Australia how to cook and what to cook.Here's a couple of delicious recipes from this 'foodoir':

In Backyard Bees, Doug Purdie sets out to convince us of the need to look after bees and indeed, how easy it is for the greater majority of us to do our with our own hives, wherever we live. The rewards are not only in feeling good about saving the bees one hive at a time, but in  the very sweet rewards of honey itself. Here's a simple, sweet way to celebrate the bee:

More deliciousness here »

Joseph Burton: winter wines from your virtual sommelier

Some delicious fortifieds to warm the winter chills, including a gift pack for Fathers' Day ahead.

Browse Joseph's online wine store here »

Big Red and Port Sampler (mixed half dozen)

A great mixed 6 pack of solid reds and authentic port. Great for warming in the colder months, and a great gift idea for Fathers' Day ahead.

Contains two bottles of each of the following:

  • 2010 Quinta do Vale Dona Maria LBV 375ml
  • 2013 Palacios Remondo 'La Vendimia' Garnacha-Tempranillo
  • 2013 Navarro Lopez 'Tierracalar' Tempranillo

919 Limited Release Vintage Fortified 2009

If you love a fireside or after-dinner drink, this is for you! The fragrance of ripe mulberries is unmistakeable, with hints of cinnamon.

Made from five grape varieties, tinta roriz (tempranillo), touriga nacional, tinta cao, durif and shiraz, its feature is the fruit, but it is not overly sweet. It's clean, and having been fortified with a fine brandy spirit, has no harshness.

Even those who don't like port could settle into this. A real winner, to drink now and to put a few away to enjoy in years to come.

Great value twin-pack for $80.00 »

WIN pfabulous wine from Rutherglen and more

No it's not a typo in the heading – we're talking "pfine" wine from Pfieffer in Rutherglen of course! This month is their photographic exhibition which shows off the work of locals behind the lenses, be they professional, amateur or point and click. It's also the time of year so conducive to sipping on pfortifieds, a style this winery and region are renowned for. So to celebrate the rich pool of photographic endeavour and the rich wines, we have four mixed half cases of Pfeiffer wine to be won » 

Jeremy Oliver and Rob Geddes MW – now here are two fine, highly respected gentlemen who have done a lot of hard work for all of us over the years with their annual wine guides. With background information, specific tasting and vintage notes, informed and independent commentary, the guides are keenly awaited by wine lovers and novices alike. We have a copy each of Mr Oliver's Australian Wine Annual 2015 and Mr Geddes' Australian Wine Vintages 2015 to be won » 

For a spectacular island holiday, Flinders Island in Bass Strait is surely hard to beat. The granite mountains rise out of the sea and stand guard over lush countryside and long white beaches whilst locals give their special friendly wave to all visitors. There is much to discover on the island and the first step is with a copy of Wild Discovery Guide – Flinders Island. Enter now and you could win one of four copies of this pocket rocket guide » 

Did someone say Christmas in July? We've found four great books hiding away on the prize shelf so now's your chance to pick your prize! Will it be a local journey from Produce to Platter around Geelong or a crazy dive into the brilliant mind of Dan Hong? Maybe you'd prefer the international flavours of Turkey or Italia? Make the choice and pick your own prize this month »

All July's competitions here »
Winners.. hello... hello... where are you
? »

 
Your subscriber and Auto Clubs' SYCAS* offers, plus social media for wine and food producers


Out there in wine country, all VisitVineyards subscribers (that's you) enjoy special offers on great books, accommodation and more. See your full list of subscriber savings and other benefits you can enjoy here »

And at cellar doors, Auto Club Members* can taste, enjoy benefits and save in 3 States:
*eg RACV, NRMA, RASA, RAWA, RACT and international AAA Members. SYCAS is your Show Your Card and Save members' discount program, which we at Visit Vineyards have extended to wine country in the States where they allow it (unfortunately, not in NSW, SA, NT or WA.)

Producers interested in joining up, please email Kerry »

Are you a wine or food producer wanting to use social media better? Join Robyn's Social media + wine group on Facebook and chat to experts and newbies around the world about reaching your customers and spreading the good word on wine and food, wherever you may live.

Remember, when you're out tasting, drive safely, and always have a designated driver. We want to see you back again! Cheers to all and happy July from Robyn, Kerry, Andrew, Charlie and Laura and the VV team.

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