Tuesday, 25 September 2018

New wine initiatives for Vinexpo Bordeaux

While wine trade fares are now common around the world, there is nothing of the size and scale of Vinexpo, in Bordeaux.

The 20th edition of Vinexpo Bordeaux, which takes place from May 13-16, 2019, has announced several new features to highlight its position as a strategic show.

Over 40,000 trade visitors from 150 countries are expected to attend and discover products presented by 2,000 international exhibitors.

The Vinexpo brand now organises events in four cities around the world: Bordeaux, Hong Kong, New York, and soon Paris in January 2020, as well as a touring event, Vinexpo Explorer.

“Vinexpo is continuing to expand internationally and Vinexpo Bordeaux is the group's cornerstone - this is our flagship and it will receive even more resources for 2019,” said Patrick Seguin, President of Vinexpo’s executive board and Chairman of the Bordeaux-Gironde Chamber of Commerce.

A planned investment scheme to refurbish the exhibition hall has been accelerated. For its 2019 edition, the show will be housed in a new facility replacing Hall 2 (cost: €34.7 million). This initiative will continue in the next few years with the gradual renovation of Hall 1.

At the same time, new access will be set up to the exhibition. Attendees will be able to use the Vinexpo Citypass. This pass gives free access to the TBM (tramway and bus) network and offers numerous advantages so they make the most of their stay in Bordeaux (free entrance to the Cité du Vin, some of the city's museums etc.). There will also be a special reception and information stand at Bordeaux-Mérignac airport and at the Bordeaux Saint-Jean railway station.

The first Symposium Vinexpo will be organised in association with the Regional Council of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. This event will provide answers to the major challenges facing the industry. The theme for 2019 will look at the impact of climate change on the wine and spirits industry.

The scientific, technical and economic aspects will be considered during talks taking place throughout the day on 14 May. This topical issue will be examined by representatives from the French Wine and Vine Institute and its international experts.

Another initiative is Les Diners du Palais (May 13-14) where exhibitors will be able to invite their guests to the Palais de la Bourse. Their own wines will be served as they dine, paired with a menu designed by a Michelin-starred chef.

La Grande Dégustation (tasting event) will be held at the Palais de la Bourse on the evening before Vinexpo opens; it will be open to the general public. Information on vinexpobordeaux.com

Great Scoot air deals for Asian escapes

Are you able to drop everything and head off for a week or two between now and mid-November? 

If so, Singapore Airlines' budget offshoot Scoot has some terrific airline deals available. 

Scoot launches a special sale from tomorrow with fares from $149 each way from Perth to Singapore including all taxes, or $169 from the Gold Coast and $179 from Melbourne and Sydney, with baggage and meals extra.

Or go in style with ScootBiz with all-in fares from $339 (Perth) $379 ex Gold Coast and $419 from Sydney or Melbourne each way, including taxes.
Try your luck and enter the Promo Code SCOOT15 for an additional $15 bucks off the fare!
Singapore is the perfect short break destination with spicy street food, fashion bazaars, massages and luxury hotels on tap. 

You can also travel to over 60 other destinations beyond Singapore, many of which are also on sale. Travel dates are from October 1-November 16 or February 10-March 31, 2019. 
All deals are subject to availability and some blackout periods may apply over school holidays and event periods.

Book tickets at www.FlyScoot.com or call (02) 9009 0860. 

Monday, 24 September 2018

Farewell to Kensington Street Social; hello to Barzaari

I enjoyed visiting Kensington Street Social but Brit chef Jason Atherton's Sydney outpost is on the way out - to be replaced by the Eastern Mediterranean flavours of Barzaari.

Barzaari Chippendale will seat up to 120 guests and will take over the former Kensington Street Social space within The Old Clare Hotel. KSS paid the penalty, as do so many restaurants, for having an absentee big-name chef.

The new Barzaari will serve lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday and lunch only on Sunday as well as providing in-room dining for guests of The Old Clare Hotel. The restaurant will offer a modern take on the cuisine from Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

Chef Darryl Martin and Andrew Jordanou (owners of Barzaari Marrickville) have partnered with Loh Lik Peng (founder and owner of Unlisted Collection) to open the new eatery.

Peng says: "It’s an exciting opportunity to present a new cuisine to the Chippendale precinct, which has such varied culture and a rich food scene – but no offering like this."

Martin (formerly of TheThree Weeds and Quay) says: "After trading successfully in Marrickville for a little over two years we are thrilled to be opening within The Old Clare. I’m excited to be cooking for a new neighbourhood and across the street from my mate Clayton Wells (of Automata and A1 Canteen) with whom I worked at Quay."

The Barzaari menu is designed to be shared and will offer bites through to small and large plates, sides, desserts and smaller sweet alternatives.

Barzaari, named after a Cypriot market place where Jordanou’s grandfather used to sell his farm-grown produce, will have a strong focus on changing seasons, with vegetables championed on the menu. 

Barzaari Chippendale will be at 3 Kendington Street, Chippendale, NSW 2008. 

Sunday, 23 September 2018

City restaurant and country outpost share Tasmanian wine list honours

Mure's Upper Deck on the Hobart waterfront (below) and small town outpost The Bridport Bunker Club on the north-east coast were today announced as joint winners in the 2018 Tasmanian Wine List of the Year competition.

Wine Tasmania chief executive Sheralee Davies announced the judging panel had been unable to split the winners. 

The Bridport Bunker Club (below) was awarded the People’s Choice, based on members of the wine-loving public voting for their favourite finalist.

Davies congratulated the two winners and recognised each of the finalists (listed below) for their strong support of the Tasmanian wine sector.

“The growing global profile of Tasmania’s wines means that more and more people are travelling travel to Tasmania to try our wines - close to 300,000 of our visitors called into a cellar door during their stay over the past twelve months,” she said. 

“It is an important part of the visitor experience for them to be able to enjoy a glass of local wine over a meal during their visit, and it’s great to see so many venues promoting Tasmania’s outstanding wines as part of their offering.”

The judging was undertaken by an independent panel comprising 2018 guest judge Hon Peter Gutwein MP, wine writer Winsor Dobbin (that's me!) and Davies. 

Venues were assessed against a range of criteria, including the representation of Tasmanian wines by the glass and bottle, the depth and scope of wines offered, the way Tasmanian wines are listed and promoted on the wine list and relevant aspects of wine service, training and knowledge.

2018 Tasmanian Wine List of the Year Finalists:

Tasmanian winery holds its own music festival

Wine lovers who also enjoy some funky music might want to plan for a trip to Tasmania in late October.

The Delamere Music Festival returns to Delamere Vineyard, Pipers River, on Saturday, October 27.

Delamere owners/winemakers Shane Holloway and Fran Austin had been looking for ways to shine a light on the creative talent, innovation and spirit of the regional Tasmanian community when they conceived the first Delamere Music Festival three years ago as the winery partner of the North East Rivers Festival.

The festival, which brings together roots-based musical talent from around the country to perform in the beautiful setting of the Delamere gardens, has since gained its own strong following.

“We decided to create an event that gathered together friends and families to enjoy intimate performances of some really talented musical artists, all while enjoying local food, beverages and the stunning local scenery," said Fran Austin.

"It’s a beautiful way to celebrate what regional community is all about, and it’s been particularly rewarding to see the community get behind it with so much enthusiasm."

The Music Festival is going ahead this year, along with a number of other satellite events, despite the main North East Rivers Festival being put on temporary hold whilst the committee seeks additional volunteer support to manage the full program of events.

This year’s line-up includes the award winning South Australian singer/songwriter (and ex winemaker) Kelly Menhennett, who will be accompanied by her talented band for the first time in Tasmania.

The Bad Dad Orchestra is on the bill as well as one of the country’s most experienced young bluesmen, Tasmania’s own Pete Cornelius. Funktional, Launceston’s energetic nine-piece funk band completes the program.

Festival goers can also enjoy food from Formosa Bites (below) with Taiwanese food from Tasmanian produce; beer from Little Rivers Brewing Co and Delamere’s range of 100% estate-grown and -made wines. Attendees are welcome to bring along a picnic.

Delamere Music Festival tickets are $35 (plus booking fee) per person and kids under 18 get in for free. Tickets are limited and are now on sale via the Delamere Vineyards website: www.delamerevineyards.com.au

Friday, 21 September 2018

Venice to tourists: You are not really welcome here

Tourists in Venice could be fined for sitting in public areas or pausing on bridges as part of new measures being discussed by the Italian city to deal with overcrowding, the TravelMole website reports.

The ideas, proposed by Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, will be voted on by the city council in October.  month.

Mayor Brugnaro said: "The aim is to create more of a deterrent to people who think they can come to the city of Venice and do what they want, not respecting the city, urban decorum, and public safety."

Other proposals include bans on picnics unless they are in public parks, bans on excessive noise at night or between Venice's siesta time of 1pm-3pm, no feeding of pigeons, no riding or wheeling along of bikes and no busking, drawing or other art without a permit.

Breaking the rules could see tourists fined anywhere between €25 ($40) and €500 ($805), the city's official website says.

Paola Mar, the councillor responsible for tourism, told Sky News people need to take the rules seriously.

"The message we have to get through is that we're not joking," said Mar. "If it gets about that people who do this kind of thing are fined, as well as it being flagged to their respective embassies, perhaps we'll be able to stop others copying."

The proposals are the latest in a list of measures to deal with the city's over-crowding problem, which also includes the banning of large cruise ships from 2021.

Venice's #EnjoyRespectVenezia campaign, which launched in summer 2017, highlights the message that tourists are welcome but they must follow the city's rules.

Australian Government plans to impose travel bans

The Australian Government is threatening citizens with a welfare debt that they could be hit with international travel bans.

Using inflammatory terms like "welfare debt dodgers" a Government press release issued by The Hon Michael Keenan MP, the Minister for Human Services, has threatened travel bans as part of a new push to recover money owed by those unfortunate enough to have needed to apply for welfare.

The Department of Human Services began issuing Departure Prohibition Orders (DPOs) in June to prevent former welfare recipients from leaving the country if they have an outstanding debt that they have been unable, or unwilling, to repay.

More than 20 DPOs have already been issued and the Department is now looking to escalate their use to help recover money owed.

In a blanket statement, the press release said: "These people are making no effort to repay their debts and the Government believes that if they can afford to go on an overseas holiday, they can afford to start repaying what they owe.

"We make no apologies for the tough action we are taking, as many of those who are in our sights have known about these debts for years – in some cases for up to a decade.

"Others accrued their debts as a result of deliberate acts of fraud and have gone out of their way to evade attempts by my Department to sign them up to repayment plans, repeatedly ignoring our calls, letters and emails.

"The message we are sending to them is that you cannot ignore us forever. If you received a payment you were not entitled to, you have an obligation to repay the money you owe and we will use every tool at our disposal to ensure it is recovered on behalf of Australian taxpayers." 

So if a relative offers a sick or stressed "debt dodger" a holiday treat then the recipient may be banned from leaving the country.

Many welfare payments were, of course, made in error by Government departments with no intention of fraud on behalf of those receiving the money. Either way, beware. Big brother is watching you.