Friday, 30 December 2016

Images of the Taste of Tasmania

There are still three days left to visit the Taste of Tasmania, the annual food and wine festival held on the Hobart waterfront.

The week-long festival aims to celebrate Tasmanian food, drinks, produce, arts, culture and music and coincides with the arrival of the yachts in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race.

Families and children are catered for at the Family Fun Zone on Hobart's Parliament House Lawns, an alcohol-free area offering plenty of activities.

Daily programming includes a dedicated area for sporting activities and games, family outdoor board games, cooking classes for children, jumping castles and children's rides, various workshops, face painting, buskers, performers, and other family entertainment.

For adults, there are cooking classes, wine tastings and entertainment.

The Forecourt stage is the festival focal point for stage-based acts and busker performances throughout the day. 


Here are some photos  of what to expect: 











Tasmania's largest food and wine festival is free to enter and concludes on the evening of January 3. 


A weekend getaway in gourmet country

Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are among the most popular gourmet destinations in Victoria; dotted with restaurants, cafés and wine bars and within an easy drive from Melbourne.

The newest designer home for rent here is Alchemy House, run by Linda Crittenden and the same award-winning team behind Lakeside Villas at Crittenden on the Mornington Peninsula.




Capable of hosting up to six adults in different configurations, Alchemy House is located between Daylesford and Hepburn Springs - and just a stroll from the restaurants and Bathing House in Hepburn.

It is a former weatherboard mining cottage tastefully tarted-up with relaxation in mind; stylish and spacious.



Each bedroom has a king bed, the living room has a timber fireplace and eye-catching armchairs, and the modern kitchen is fully equipped to cook up a storm. Open-plan living means room to relax with friends, but there are also comfortable nooks in which to relax in private, as well as a garden with a barbecue and a sun terrace.

There is a coffee machine in the kitchen, games and train tracks for little ones, as well as DVDs and books to read.

All linen is provided together with quality organic bath soaps from Appelles Apothecary, and a choice of pillows, as well as ducted heating and air conditioning.

This house is the renter's to enjoy with no interruptions from your host. It is suitable for group getaways, families occasions or wedding groups.



And there are all those great restaurants within a short drive, including The Lake House, Mercato and The Farmer's Arms.

Alchemy House is available to book from January 3, 2017. Rates are $350/night (Sun-Thu) for 2 nights or more; $475/night (Fri-Sat) 2-night minimum; $550 for 1 night (Sun-Thu). Contact Linda Crittenden info@lakesidevillas.com.au. (03) 5987 3275.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Back to the future for a new label for Taylors Wines

The Taylor family were originally wine negociants rather than winemakers. 

Patriarch Bill Taylor Snr, who owned hotels and bottle shops in Sydney, worked with South Australian wineries and co-ops to "tailor" house brands for his licensed properties.


The publican later went on to create Taylors Wines in the Clare Valley in 1969, building a behemoth that now produces over a quarter of a million cases of wine a year. 

Taylors is still family-owned and has built a formidable reputation for excellent value and for making some of the country's finest rieslings. 

A founding member of the Australia's First Families of Wine group, Taylors is now by far the biggest producer in the Clare Valley - and its newest range is a tribute to the company's beginnings. 



Called Taylor Made, the new range is a nod to those first wines, sourced as smartly as possible using fruit from grower partners rather than the company's estates. The wines will be sold in select independent retailers, restaurants, pubs and bars - but not in supermarkets. 

Th new range comprises a 2016 Adelaide Hill pinot noir rosé, a 2016 French-oak-matured chardonnay, also made from Adelaide Hills grapes, and a 2015 Clare Valley malbec matured in American oak.

Not your usual new range, then; no Clare riesling and no shiraz or cabernet, two varieties with which Taylors also traditionally shine. My take is the wines will be classy but affordable partners for pub grub. 

The rosé is juicy and deliciously dry, the chardonnay quiet assertive and the quaffable malbec the standout. 

The range will retail for around $25. For more details visit the designated website: www.taylormadewines.com.au    

   
   

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

New direction at one of Australia's top wine bars


There is a new direction at one of Australia's leading wine bars: Reserve Wine Bar in Newcastle. 

Owner Patrick Haddock, a former wine writer and sommelier, has turned up the heat by enhancing the food and wine experience.

“We never really felt we nailed the wine bar food offering and now we have the opportunity," Haddock says. "With a three-glass- rating awarded in Gourmet Traveller’s Restaurant guide (2017) for our wine list, we really felt that the next logical step was to raise the standard of the food to match the quality of the wine.” 

Enter two chefs who have managed to fuse the world of food trucks with fine dining, Sam Alexander and David Griffin.


Both have impressive resumes with Griffin most recently cooking down the road at hatted Subo, while Alexander has notched up time with two-hatted Fins of Byron Bay, with Robert Molines as head chef at Bistro Molines then with Robert Marchetti at Icebergs and finally with Jeremy Strode of Bistro CBD, where he was senior sous chef. 

To complement these fine dining achievements both chefs have their own street food offering. Griffin operates as Bao Brothers doing authentic Taiwanese street food with a twist, while Alexander pays homage to his North African roots with a stall that does proper kebabs and trades under the name of the Dirty Camel.

Their food philosophy: Keep it simple, to make tasty honest food, packed with flavour using the freshest seasonal produce.

Haddock says: "We are staying true to our roots. You can pop in for a glass of wine and a snack at the bar,  or experience a full meal with a great bottle or two. It’s up to you.” 

Haddock aims to restructure the wine list in fitting with the new food offering. There will be plenty by the glass options, an extensive Coravin list and daily specials. 

“We want to create a friendly space synonymous with one of Newcastle’s best food and wine offerings with service that’s informal yet informed.”

Reserve Wine Bar, 102 Hunter St, Newcastle, NSW 2300. (02) 4929 3393.
www.reservewinebar.com.au 

Monday, 26 December 2016

All change at two Tamar Valley wine stalwarts

Change is afoot at two of the star wine producers in Tasmania's Tamar Valley: Moores Hill and Native Point.
Native Point Wines has acquired a share in Moores Hill Estate and while one vineyard is located on the western side of the valley, the other on the east; the two family-owned businesses have several syntheses.
Established in 1997, Moores Hill Estate was purchased in 2008 by husband and wife, Julian Allport and Fiona Weller with Fiona’s father Lance. The eight-acre estate and cellar door is a popular stop on the Tamar Valley wine touring route.

Ater eight years, Lance has retired from the business and his share has been purchased by the owners of Native Point Wines, Tim and Sheena High.

Native Point, visits by appointment, is another eight-acre vineyard at Swan Bay, which was planted in 1999.
In future, the two businesses will share resources in vineyard management, fruit, winemaking, bottling, sales and marketing.
The first joint project is the construction of a winery on-site at Moores Hill Estate and bottling line at Native Point.  Construction is on track to be completed by the end of February 2017, in time for harvest. 
The partnership brings together the experience and resources of both businesses and is a unique opportunity for us to accelerate the growth of our vibrant wine business,” says Tim High. “Between us, we have significant experience in viticulture, winemaking, business management and marketing.
Combining our resources enables us to increase efficiency: and realise our long-held plans of running our own winery.”

Julian Allport, a qualified winemaker, will produce both brands and said he is looking forward to making wine on-site, allowing control and quality to be the focus from vineyard to bottle.
The on-site winery will enable Moores Hill Estate to expand its tourism offering beyond wine tasting in the cellar door. 


During summer, Moores Hill is open 10am-5pm for wine tasting and sales. If you're peckish, they will be serving cheese platters, charcuterie tasting plates and fresh oysters while enjoying sweeping views over the vineyard. 
For more indulgence, Moores Hill has also sourced crayfish from the waters off Stanley on Tasmania's north-west coast. Quantities are limited. 

Moores Hill will also be at Taste of Tasmania from December 28-January 3 in Hobart and under the trees in Launceston's City Park for Festivale on February 10-12, along with serves of poké- a Hawaiian/Japanese-influenced seafood salad using local ingredients. 

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Where to eat and drink in Hobart this summer

Heading for Hobart? Here are some cool places to enjoy a meal and a drink 

[Cascade Brewery]

The starkly impressive Cascade Brewery towers over the lower slopes of Mount Wellington in South Hobart and is Australia’s oldest brewery – it dates back to 1824. It is set in lovely English-style gardens.


[Franklin]

Located in what used to be a former newspaper building, industrial-chic hipster hangout Franklin is the base for former Peppermint Bay chef David Moyle, whose dishes come from an open kitchen. The contemporary menu changes daily and the wines are largely “natural”.

[Landcape]

Landscape Restaurant and Grill opened in October in the old Henry's space in the Henry Jones Hotel on the waterfront. Chef Ollie Mellers promises a steak and seafood emphasis using an Asado Grill that is fired up daily with a blend of Tasmanian hard wood. 

[Frank]

A fairly recent arrival from the team behind long-time Salamanca favourite Smolt, Frank specialises in flavours of Argentina and Peru; from steaks with chimichuri sauce and salsa picante to empanadas or ceviche. A busy spot that tends to stay open late.

[Templo]

A tiny but classy European-style bistro from an experienced team, casual Templo is Hobart's dining darling du jour. The blackboard menu changes daily depending on what is fresh and local.

[Glass House]

Hobart's beautiful people and savvy visitors hang out at the end of Brooke Street Pier, sipping on cocktails and sampling Asian-inspired share plates. The views and service are awesome.


[Me Wah]

For the best Cantonese food in the state head to the inner beach suburb of Sandy Bay, where you'll find Me Wah behind a shopping centre car park. Think white tablecloths, expensive wines and serious dishes like Sichuan duck or five-spice squid.

[Aloft]

Overlooking the River Derwent on swish Brooke Street Pier, Aloft has food to match the views; an eclectic and innovative selection of Asian-influenced dishes emerge from an open kitchen.

[Urban Greek]

Located in the remodelled former premises of Garagistes in Murray Street, Urban Greek is a family- friendly Greek eatery that serves all the traditional favourites.

[Willing Brothers]

You'll find a cheerful after-work crowd at this lively wine bar on the North Hobart restaurant strip. There is a good selection of wines from both Tasmania and around the globe, and some enticing snacks. A second venue, Ettie's, has just opened in the former Ethos space downtown.

[Lark Distillery]

Bill Lark is the father of modern whisky distilling in Tasmania. His cellar just a few steps from the Hobart waterfront offers tastings of various whiskies and other spirits in a lively ambience – with live music some evenings.


[Born in Brunswick] 

All the range with North Hobart hipsters, this new cafe is light and bright and has an open kitchen serving up very smart food using local ingredients. 

[The Shipwright's Arms]

A traditional English-style pub where you can enjoy a pint of lager or Guinness, a good choice of wines and no poker machines or disco tunes. The premises date back to 1846.

[Black-Footed Pig]

There is a Spanish accent to this new wine bar and casual eatery operated by Naser and Cheryl Daci, who also own up-market bakery Daci & Daci. As the name suggests, Jamon Iberico takes top tapas billing.

[Preachers]

If you like music loud and drinks strong then this cocktail/beer bar tucked away at the rear of Salamanca Square might rock your boat. This is hipster heaven with an old bus parked in a courtyard full of young people enjoying craft beers and burgers.

[Cargo Bar]

This pizza and wine bar in a 180-year-old sandstone building on Salamanca Place is one of the stayers on Hobart's fast-changing bar scene. Think wood-fired pizzas and an excellent selection of local wines. 

[The New Sydney Hotel]

Pubs don't get much more casual than the slightly-dated ambience of the New Sydney, which serves a wide selection of craft beers on tap and in bottle, a choice of ciders and whole-hearted pub grub. There is a roaring fire on winter evenings.

[Cascade Hotel]

This completely refurbished old-style pub in South Hobart serves up traditional pub dishes like lamb's fry and bacon or salt and pepper calamari in a convivial atmosphere. 


[Quartermasters Arms]

A funky eatery on the Elizabeth Street strip just north of the city centre that is known for serving craft beers, hip wines and artisan ciders. 

[Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers]

Award-winning winemaker Nick Glaetzer and his wife Sally have just opened a smart new tasting facility in an old ice works on the city fringe. It is open at weekends only. 

# This story is an edited version of a feature that appears in Quest Kudos magazine 
  

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Would you be confused between a turkey and a bottle of wine?

It would seem like the most frivolous case to hit the courts in some time. 
Butterball PPL, a turkey company based in North Carolina, has sued family-owned Australian wine company McWilliam's for trademark infringement, as reported by Wine Spectator and TechDirt
It is clear to all that Americans can be very easily confused, but it is extremely unlikely that even a moron in a hurry would be likely to confuse the two products. 
Similar?







To this? 
Butterball makes poultry products. McWilliam's makes a wide range of wine products, including a rich, flavoursome chardonnay under the Evans & Tate label that it calls Butterball, and has done for some time. 
According to a complaint filed on December 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Butterball states that McWilliam’s Wines Group Ltd. “produces, sells, distributes, and imports into the United States a variety of Evans & Tate branded wines, including a type of chardonnay named ‘BUTTERBALL.’
Butterball states that its trademarked goods and services range from turkeys and marinades to fat fryers and mobile device software. The complaint goes on to say, “The consumer goodwill associated with the BUTTERBALL Marks is one of Butterball’s most valuable assets. Accordingly, the integrity of the BUTTERBALL Marks is extremely important to Butterball and crucial to the continued vitality and growth of Butterball’s business.”
Of course, Butterball does not make any wine. And McWilliam's has no intention of selling poultry. It's a case that is clearly a turkey. It is hard to see how Butterball has any beef at all. 
But Butterball apparently believes it is in competition with an Australian chardonnay. Or that confusion is likely. 
Wine Spectator, treating the story with the seriousness it deserves, says the poultry producer is "accusing the winery of falsely pretending the brands are birds of a feather." 
Butterball is asking for a jury to demand that McWilliam’s axe the name, plus pay damages to Butterball for losses including profits gobbled up by legal fees, and a flock of additional fines. 
Only in America. 

A five-minute guide to imported wines

Imported wines are growing in popularity - and many of us will have the chance to sample something different over the holidays. 

Here is a quick guide to what to try from a dozen different countries away from mainstream Australia, New Zealand, France and Italy. 

SPAIN: Gaining in popularity all the time. The great red wines of Rioja have been joined by refreshing whites made from albarino in the Rias Baixas region and verdejo from Rueda along with reds that range from juicy to earthy depending on the region. Also, sparkling wines known as Cava.

GERMANY: The whites are the stars here; with rieslings ranging from dry to very sweet; also look out for pinot gris (grauburgunder) and light pinot noirs (spatburgunder).

AUSTRIA: You'll find some outstanding aromatic whites among the imports from Austria, particularly wines made from the native grape gruner veltliner (below) and riesling.


PORTUGAL: Best known for its ports and other fortified wines like Madeira, Portugal now produces good-value savoury red tables wines, while whites, particularly vinho verdes and verdelhos, are best enjoyed young.

GREECE: The days of Greece being associated with cheap and nasty retsina are long gone. Today it produces a range of white and red table wines made from both international and domestic grape varieties. Look out for whites using assyrtiko.

SLOVENIA: The rising star in Europe, this former Yugoslav republic is known for its fresh and flavoursome white wines and has leapt ahead of Croatia in terms of quality.

USA: The cabernets and chardonnays from California tend to be big, oaky and expensive. Good options are fragrant whites and pinot noir from cooler Oregon and syrah (shiraz) and merlot from Washington state.

CANADA: Best-known for its ice wines from Niagara on the Lake, while the best table wines come from the Okanagan region in British Columbia.

ARGENTINA: Argentine producers have gained global acclaim for their take on the tannic red grape malbec, the best of which comes from cooler regions like the Uco Valley, but also look out for native red grape bonarda, cabernet franc and white wines made from torrontes.


CHILE: The wide range of altitudes and terroirs mean Chile produces a range of styles, but cabernet sauvignon, malbec and carmenere make routinely reliable red wines.

SOUTH AFRICA: The wine regions in and around Cape Town produce wines ranging from outstanding to ordinary. Reds made from pinotage are much-vaunted but inconsistent. Whites made from chardonnay and chenin blanc star.

ENGLAND: Don't laugh. Wineries in the south-east of England have already made a splash with their quality sparkling wines and global warming means England could be a major player within 20 years. 

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

New luxury lodge planned for Tasmania

A timetable has been set in place for a luxury lodge on the Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania; a sister property to ultra-luxe Saffire at Freycinet. 

Federal Group managing director Greg Farrell has announced a program for the construction and opening dates for Saffire’s first sister property, located at Port Arthur.

An artist's impression of the arrival circle
With a confirmed start building date of July, 2018, and opening scheduled for the summer of 2019-2020, the design and planning processes are well underway for our the 20-suite luxury spa lodge, located in one of the most famous locations in Australia.

The hotel will be located on the Port Arthur Historic Site, on the western hill, directly overlooking the entire site. Federal Group describes the hotel as "discreet, yet iconic" and says it will offer a contemplative and reflective experience.
The Port Arthur Luxury Lodge will have a very strong emphasis on local produce and food and beverage experiences, with on-site heirloom gardens, outside ovens and a completely open kitchen. 

“The success of Saffire has demonstrated demand for high-end tourism products and we believe this project will further extend this important market for Tasmania,” Farrell says.

"Federal Group has a long and proud history of establishing world-class tourism developments in Tasmania and with MACq01 [the hotel on Macquarie Wharf in Hobart] opening next year, this project represents the next step.”

The spa on the site will have custom-built treatment rooms, specialising in remedial and relaxation therapies.

The Tasman Peninsula is also the location of the recently opened Three Capes Wilderness Walk and is home to an array of nature and offshore experiences.



Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Dear hotel manager: Could I please have a quiet word.

Anyone who spends time in hotels will know that very rarely are they "an oasis", or "a palace", as claimed in their brochures and on their websites. 

Unless you strike it lucky and get upgraded to a fabulous suite, hotels are basically places to sleep without interruption. The hospitality industry has become the making-money industry with hotels looking squeeze every cent they can from guests - which means cost-cutting at every corner. 



I very much doubt if many of the "stylists" who create hotel rooms have ever stayed in one of their modern creations.

Among the penny-pinching and sheer stupidity that most annoy me: 

Cushions

You know those massive cushions that are piled on just about every hotel bed? People have sex on them, throw them to the floor and use them to prop themselves up when enjoying a cup of tea in bed. How many times are they washed or dry cleaned? I'd love to know. 

Lights

So many hotels boast about their high-tech lighting systems. All I want is to be able to press a master switch so that all the lights go on and off. I don't want to have to get up to find the switch for the table lamp, or the soft lighting under the bedside table. Just sort it. 

Open-plan rooms

There is a new tendency towards rooms with no walls between the bedroom and the bathroom area. Now unless I am sharing a room with Miss Bodacious and Willing (which is most unlikely) I have zero interest in hearing or watching anyone else's ablutions. And I certainly don't want to be subjected to lights going on if someone else wants a wee. 

Extra charges

So many hotels try to nickel and dime their guests by charging extra for wifi, water or the morning newspaper. I've seen charges of $30 a day for wifi (you'd have to be a moron to pay that) and $9 for a bottle of water. Just build the costs into room rates. There is nothing more annoying than finding you've spent $50 more than you expected to.

TV remote controls

How many times have you settled back in a hotel room bed, shattered, clicked the remote control and found it has a flat battery. You then have to get back up again to open the door to the staff member bringing a replacement. Remote controls should be checked by hotel staff at least once a week. 

Room service 

So tempting. You look at the room-service menu and are tempted by, say, a burger and chips for $16. Sounds great. Except you have to order from someone who has barely a basic grasp of English and then wait for up to 45 minutes for a soggy, only slightly warm meal to make its way up several floors to your room. And it won't cost $16, because the menu hid away the details of a 20% service charge and other extras. And the server will expect a tip anyway.

Electronic room keys

You juggle your suitcase, hand luggage and a newspaper up to your room (rarely will you find a porter any more) - and you slot your credit-card sized key into the slot. Nothing happens. This can occur when you have just checked in, or at any time during your stay. Frustration plus. And so often the staff say: "That happens quite a lot". 

Power points

Why is it so often impossible to find a convenient power point in these days of everyone needing to recharge multiple devices? No-one wants to have to climb underneath the bed to find an unused power socket. Two at least by the desk, and two beside the bed please.  

Environment notices

I call bullshit on hotels where there is a sign in the bathroom asking you to keep recycling your towels and save the environment. These are often the same hotels that have giant neon signs on their roof, leave the TV on with a welcoming sign and use heavy industrial chemicals for cleaning. 

Loyalty schemes 

Just about every hotel has a loyalty scheme that offers upgrades and rewards. I find it hard to actually collect those points. My wife and I recently paid upwards of $200 a night at an upmarket property in Bangkok. Those points have never been added to my account - and most regular travellers do not have the time to check their accounts and query the missing points.       

Of course, then there are staff who ignore the "do not disturb" sign to check the mini bar (almost always outrageously over-priced), wake up calls at 5am that were set by the previous occupant of the room and hotels where they expect one small bottle of shampoo to last four days. 

So, Mr/Ms Manager. please do not smile and say "have a nice stay". Just make it happen by paying attention to this list and input from other guests. 


Monday, 19 December 2016

Fancy a beer in Bangkok? Meet me on the 30th floor

There is no shortage of good bars in Bangkok, but not all of them have, how shall we say, the right decorum for business meetings or hot dates. 

Hotel bars are often too stuffy but apparently not Brewski, newly opened on the 30th floor of the Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok. 


This rooftop craft beer bar has spectacular views from the heart of Sukhumvit, one of Bangkok’s most exclusive districts, across the city. 

“Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok has long established itself as home to many award-winning dining establishments and a favourite destination for discerning epicureans," says hotel general manager Peter Feran. 

"With Brewski, we aim to redefine Bangkok’s rooftop bar experience with sophisticated ambience and a delectable bar menu."

Earlier this year I enjoyed an excellent meal in another of the hotel's restaurants, the authentic Italian eatery Attico on level 28, and was very impressed by the attention to detail.

Brewski features contemporary outdoor furnishings, coupled with an Italian copper-coated beer tower and a state-of-the-art cooling system from the United Kingdom that serves up to 12 international ice-cold craft beers from the tap to the glass. 

Adding to the artisanal appeal, Brewski features 100 craft beers with a variety of textures and flavours, including pilsners, wheat ales, stouts, brown ales and IPAs from all around the world. 

Executive chef Thomas Smith's menu includes the signature Brewski Burger, a Brewski hot dog,  Gai yang – grilled chicken in spicy chilli sauce - and Sai krok e-sarn – pork sausage balls with fresh chilli, ginger and peanuts. 

Brewski is open daily from 5pm to 1am. For more information visit venuesbkk.com, email info.bangkok.blu@radisson.com or call +66 2 302 3333
Learn more at www.radissonblu.com/plazahotel-bangkok

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Oysters and wine: discover one of Tasmania's best-kept secrets

The Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed has just celebrated its second birthday but remains something of an insiders' secret for Tasmanians, although the word is rapidly getting out. 

Just off the main road between Hobart and Port Arthur, the 6,200-hectare property is a working farm with a vineyard, a tasting room, restaurant and gourmet store, children's playground with sand pit and will soon launch motorised bicycle trips through a beautiful area of bushland.


Bangor also has a fascinating history as it was on the northern shores of the farm that Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sent crew members to plant the Dutch flag 274 years ago.


While the Dunbabin family runs sheep and cattle on the farm 45 minutes’ drive from Hobart, the focus now is cool-climate Bangor wines, freshly shucked oysters from the Gray family leases just down the road and local produce. 

There are spectacular water views of Dunalley and Blackman Bay and the menu's "paddock to plate" focus always features fresh seafood, including mussels and abalone, along with Bangor beef pies. There is a deck for warmer days and a wood fire for Tasmanian winters.


Five generations of Dunbabins, dating back to 1830, have farmed in this region, starting with John Dunbabin, convicted of horse stealing.

The farm, once the site of two whaling stations, has been owned by the Dunbabins since 1890 and is today managed by Matt and Vanessa Dunbabin and their three children.

The northern shoreline today looks almost identical as it did when Tasman and his men laid anchor in 1642 (there is a small memorial - pictured above - set back from the beach).


Members of the crew searched for fresh water and edible plants but found little of either and while they saw smoke they did not engage with the local Aboriginal people. They sailed north before heading to New Zealand. 

To mark the links with Tasman, the Dunbabin family has released a new flagship wine; the excellent Bangor 2014 Abel Tasman Pinot Noir ($43), which has already picked up a couple of show medals. It will be reviewed on my Tasmanian wine blog next week.



The family's first three hectares were planted in 2010, and another hectare in 2014. Pinot noir, pinot gris and chardonnay are grown on site and vinified at Winemaking Tasmania. The property was badly hit by the 2013 bushfires but the vines survived.

The Shed is a perfect spot to stop en route from Hobart to Port Arthur. Summer opening hours are 10am-9pm, seven days a week. Bookings are recommended, particularly on weekends.



For those who want to arrive in style, Par Avion runs scenic helicopter flights directly to Bangor Shed, with a leisurely lunch included. 

Bangor Wine & Oyster Shed, 20 Blackman Bay Road, Dunalley, 7177, Tasmania.
(03) 6253 5558. www.bangorshed.com.au



     

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Coming to a hotel lobby near you: an essential oils bar

What happens first in the US tends to happen next in Europe and Australia, so get ready for an essential oils bar in your hotel lobby sooner rather than later. 



Filament Hospitality - a San Francisco-based hospitality management company - recently launched Shoreline Hotel Waikiki's Essential Oils Lobby Bar in collaboration with Oahu-based Oil Miracles Hawaii. 

The new facility features herbal essences that are "specially blended for island life" and offers a range of potions aimed at "improving the guest experience and with holistic wellness in mind".


The oils include a headache helper, muscle reliever, allergy relief and a sleep aid - all of which can be sampled at the essential oils bar and purchased at the front desk or online. 

While "try before you buy" is a great idea, and impulse buying could be high, I have a couple of problems with this. 

1. The lines at many hotel desks are long and annoying. I'm not sure how many guests will stand in line to buy essential oils. 

2. Some of the oils have such ridiculous names that sensible adults would feel stupid ordering a Buggy Begone, Sleepytime or Vog Relief (apparently vog is smog caused by volcanic ash). 

Useful, perhaps, are Muscle Relief, Sunburn Soother and Ditch the Itch. 

All told, Shoreline’s Essential Oils Bar offers over 18 essential oil blends on offer (sprays and rollers) and guests who book VIP rooms will be treated to complimentary oils in their rooms. 

For details see www.filamenthospitality.com and www.shorelinehotelwaikiki.com