Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Tasmania: pretty as a picture

The Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery has unveiled a new winter/spring program that showcases Tasmanian artists.

Running until November, the program encourages audiences to think about their place in the natural world.
“It's important to reflect upon the natural beauty that we're so lucky to be surrounded by here in Tasmania,” said RACT Destinations Chief Operating Officer Andrew Paynter. 
“It's remarkable to see how each artist represents the state through their work.
“Looking at Tasmania from fresh perspectives can inspire us to escape the everyday and get out there and enjoy nature."
The winter/spring program will feature the following artists:
Critical Points by Paul Murphy
Until October 7 
With a strong interest in environmental change, specifically the relationship between man-made and natural materials, Murphy's Critical Points is a response to understanding site.
Making reference to the rock formations of Cataract Gorge, Murphy's clay sculptures explore the connection between the formations' natural creation and their current cultural significance to Tasmanians.
Otherworldliness by Pamela Horsley
Until September 29
Inspired by her home on the Great Western Tiers, Horsley is in constant awe of the Tasmanian wilderness.
As she bushwalks, she takes in the natural sights, sounds and smells, and reflects upon those who have walked before her.
These experiences have made their way into Otherworldliness, a collection of Monotype prints that explore the dynamic relationship between the land and the people that inhabit it.
Everything and Nothing by Adam Gibson
Until October 13
A photographic meditation on winter at Cradle Mountain, Everything and Nothing encapsulates Gibson's search for places that have a magical sense of emptiness. 
Shot this season, Gibson's images focus on landscapes that have been overlooked and abstract moments that embody the characteristics of Tasmania's darker months.
Enchanted Places by Gaynor Peaty and Julie Irvin
Until November 11
Enchanted Places is a joint exhibition by Peaty and Irvin that captures their response to Tasmania's landscape.
Through the art of printmaking, Enchanted Places reflects their personal journeys and travels, as well as the rhythms and patterns of nature that inspire them both.
Perspective by David Murphy
Until November 12
Inspired by the diversity of Tasmania's wild, rugged coastlines and ancient rain forests, Murphy uses photography to share these beautiful parts of the world with his audience.
Through his work, Murphy shows why Tasmania really is a photographer's dream destination.
For more information on the winter/spring exhibition visit wildernessgallery.com.au

Monday, 15 July 2019

Meet the new restaurant and bar with a 100% Victorian focus

Shadowplay by Peppers Hotel at Southbank Melbourne has revealed a menu and drinks list that is 100% Victorian. 

Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar’s wine list features wine from each of Victoria’s 21 wine regions, including some of Australia’s most well-known and sought after wine labels such as Crawford River, Bindi, Yarra Yering and Sorrenberg. 

The wine list also boasts an almost equal gender balance between male and female winemakers.
“Our head chef Ritesh Patil and sommelier Yu Kurosawa have created an extraordinary dining experience that celebrates the diversity of Victoria and Victorians,” said general manager Alister Munro. 

“Our menu is not just curated from the inspiration of Victoria’s best wine and produce, its philosophy is based on gender equity and fostering a relationship with local producers.”

Resident sommelier Yu Kurosawa is one of the growing number of female sommeliers in Australia and says that every wine has a story, not just about how it tastes and what food it should be paired with, but how and where the grapes were grown and the individual style of the winemaker.

“We hang our hat on the fact our wine list has been curated to be filled with Victorian wines, including some of Australia’s most well-known and sought-after wine labels.

“In fact, our entire drinks menu is locally sourced including water and soft drinks from Daylesford, orange juice from Caulfield and soda and mixers from Kyneton.”

Spirits including gin, vodka, whisky, rum, vermouth and liqueurs are also produced in Victoria.

The venue is also encouraging guests to discover the stories behind its wine list with its monthly wine program, created by sommelier and wine educator Dan Sims.

Each month will focus on a different Victorian wine region (e.g. July – Macedon, August - Heathcote/Bendigo, September – Yarra Valley) and the evening event will be presented by the winemakers themselves - and evening tastings will be free.

Head chef Ritesh Patil says it was not difficult to create a menu that exclusively featured produce from Victoria.

“Not only does Victoria produce the best seafood, meats, cheeses and local produce in Australia but we have some great local producers here who deserve to step out of the shadows of being just a supplier and be seen as co-creators of our menu of excellence,” he said.

The menu highlights a Daylesford salumi selection and celebrates cheese supplied by Marie at Emerald Deli at South Melbourne markets.

Chef Patil’s food preparation style is one of simplicity with just four or five ingredients on a plate.

“It is much more powerful to have each ingredient speak for itself," he said. "I don’t over-complicate my dishes because this just drowns each ingredient’s contribution to a dish.”

Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar is located at 308-320 City Road, Southbank, and is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
For more information and to peruse menus, visit www.peppers.com.au/shadow-play/dining

What you need to know about Tasmanian Vintners

The dust has settled. Farewell Winemaking Tasmania, hello Tasmanian Vintners. 

The new company has acquired 100% of the business and assets of Winemaking Tasmania, securing the future of the Cambridge-based wine processor.

Tasmanian Vintners is jointly owned by a family company of prominent Tasmanian businessman Rod Roberts and the Fogarty Wine Group (FWG), one of Australia’s leading boutique wine businesses.

“With a strong group of contract customers and fruit growers and the shareholders’ own increasing production volumes, together with access to capital, we anticipate Tasmanian Vintners will be one of Tasmania’s fastest growing, high-quality wine businesses,’’ Roberts and Peter Fogarty said.

The business manages production for 30 boutique wine brands across the state.

“We’re committed to retaining all WT’s contract winemaking customers, taking fruit from its existing grower base and working closely with the Tasmanian producers to provide high quality processing and bottling capability in Tasmania,” they said.

Depending upon the season, the business employs between 20 and 30 employees. There are also plans for a cellar door tasting facility on site. . 

“Suppliers and customers can have confidence that the business is now well funded and committed to being one of Tasmania’s most successful premium and luxury wine producers. We see enormous potential for the Tasmanian wine industry. It has rapidly strengthened its reputation for outstanding pinot noir, chardonnay, sparkling wines and other varietals.” 

Winemaking Tasmania went into voluntary administration in May. 

The employment of former CEO Jonathan Lord has been terminated by the administrators and he will not have any further role in the operation of the business.

Tasmanian Vintners Pty Ltd is 50–50 owned by a Rod Roberts’ family company and FWG.

Businessman Roberts also operates a medium-sized vineyard near Swansea on Tasmania’s east coast, while FWG encompasses Lake’s Folly in the Hunter Valley, Evans & Tate and Deep Woods Estate in Margaret River and Millbrook in the Perth Hills. The group also operates a large wine processing facility in Margaret River.

Fogarty said his group was investing heavily in Tasmania having recently acquired the three-hectare Lowestoft vineyard at Berriedale in HObart's northern suburbs. 

It is also establishing a new vineyard site in Gilling Brook Road, Forcett, with plans under way to develop vineyards in excess of 200 hectares over the next three years.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Powerhouse hotel properties join Rydges group

The Rydges hotel group has snapped up two key properties in regional New South Wales. 
Powerhouse Hotel Tamworth and Powerhouse Armidale, currently branded as Quality Hotels, join the growing stable of Rydges properties. 

The Tamworth property (above) will relaunch as Powerhouse Hotel Tamworth by Rydges today, while Armidale will relaunch as Powerhouse Hotel Armidale by Rydges on 31 July, 2019.  
Both hotels will continue to be managed by owner and hotelier Greg Maguire. 
“Powerhouse Hotels is an Australian owned family business and we've been operating in regional NSW for the past 39 years," Maguire said. "Over this time we've developed a solid reputation for being at the heart of the business community with exceptional service, quality restaurants and bars and luxurious facilities.
“The completion of a multi-million dollar upgrade, which will take our Tamworth hotel from a 4.5 star rating to a 5-star rating, was the catalyst for choosing to partner with EVENT whose brands, Rydges Hotels and Resorts, QT Hotels and Resorts and Atura Hotels are at the leading edge of Australian hospitality.
“We're confident our Rydges partnership will deliver a local corporate sector focus, distribution strength in the global marketplace, continued innovation in our food and beverage offering, increased MICE business, strong digital strategy and authentically Australian guest experiences.”
The Powerhouse Hotel Tamworth by Rydges features 81 rooms including brand new 5-star Powerhouse king rooms and suites. It has 24-hour reception and room service.

The Powerhouse Hotel Armidale by Rydges is the only upmarket 4.5 star hotel open 24 hours in the city of Armidale. It has 57 rooms and suites and is home to Azka Restaurant, Wine and Tapas Bar. 

Saturday, 13 July 2019

New look for hotel to the stars

Ljubljana is one of my favourite cities in Europe and the lively Slovenian capital is surprisingly easy to get to; just a two-hour bus ride from Venice, for instance, or a €39 train ride from Munich.

Ljubljana is a delight in summer with its many open air festivals, buskers, interesting food and local wines and beers.

The legendary Lev Hotel hotel in Ljubljana, which has hosted world-renowned artists including Luciano Pavarotti, Agatha Christie, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan, has just reopened after a complete refurb.

The hotel opened in 1964, was the first international five-star hotel in Slovenia and had a spell as an InterContinental.

The Lev now has 36 new rooms and the TehnoLev conference centre, which consists of three modularly designed conference rooms. The owners describe the new image of the hotel as “retro chic”.
Lev Hotel is a member of Union Hotels and is celebrating its 55th anniversary with five completely refurbished floors, including the "Pavarotti floor", new premier "top floor" suites and increased capacity.

There are now 209 hotel rooms of various categories available and 20 are premium-standard premier suites.

The first floor is named Pavarotti's floor after the renowned tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who stayed here during his visit to Ljubljana in 1997. 

Other floors will get new names after their famous residents, among them Christie, Dylan, Orson Welles and Kirk Douglas.

The former café has been replaced by L Bistro and Bar, open also to passers-by. The bistro focuses on light lunches, serving traditional Ljubljana dishes within the framework of the Taste Ljubljana project, including Ljubljana pancakes.
The hotel is central to Mestni Park Tivoli, Ljubljana railway station and Ljubljana Castle. 

The best views you can find in Hong Kong?

For the past four years, sky100 has offered perhaps the best views of Hong Kong. 

sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck is located on the 100th floor of International Commerce Centre, the tallest building in Hong Kong. 

At 393 metres above sea level, it is the only indoor observation deck in Hong Kong offering 360-degree views of the territory and its famous Victoria Harbour. 

The attraction is complemented by a well-connected transportation network, including the Express Rail Link Hong Kong West Kowloon Terminus, and a shopping mall. 

It also features Hong Kong's fastest double-deck high-speed elevators, which reach the 100th floor in just 60 seconds (which sounds both scary, and amazing). 

sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck introduces different facets of Hong Kong culture via various multimedia exhibits. 

sky100's Tales of Hong Kong is a 28-metre-long multimedia story wall, showcases 100 fascinating local tales and anecdotes. 

Visitors can enjoy a range of treats and enjoy boundless sea views at Café 100 by The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, which sits on the west side of the deck. 

sky100 is one of the eight founding members of the Hong Kong Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, as well as the only member in Hong Kong of the World Federation of Great Towers.

It's on my list for my next visit. 

Friday, 12 July 2019

What you need to know before driving in France

Driving in France is more a competitive sport than a method of getting from A to B.

French drivers will push to the limit to get into a roundabout, or beat you to a parking space, but there is very little road rage and most drivers are actually polite.

British motorists heading to France this summer (and by definition that includes Australians, New Zealanders and others used to driving on left) have been urged to read up on driving rules to avoid breaking the law in France.

Research by RAC Europe suggests a majority of British drivers are in the dark about a number of French driving rules and risk being fined.

Research found that:

- 63% of motorbike riders or car drivers are not aware tailgating is illegal in France

- 49% do not know the only legal way of using a handheld mobile phone in the country is to park up in a designated parking place and switch the engine off.

- only 14% are currently aware of the new 'Mesta Fusion' speed cameras being rolled out across France this year.

Also remember speed is restricted to 50kph in towns and cities, 80kph on major roads and 130kph on motorways unless stated otherwise. Fines can be very high.

The wearing of seat belts is compulsory in the rear and front seats of vehicles.

RAC Europe spokesman Rod Dennis said: "With thousands of UK drivers taking their own cars - and motorbikes - to France in the coming weeks, it can be easy to forget that certain driving conventions can be quite different to those this side of the Channel.

"Breaking down on a French motorway, for instance, results in a driver having to pay a mandatory fee to have their vehicle recovered, before a breakdown assistance company can come to help - a very different experience to here in the UK. So it's important UK drivers check their breakdown policy covers them before they leave home.

"Luckily, the vast majority of drivers say they have European breakdown cover in place before they leave - which is just as well, as a good policy is vital in helping drivers out of a sticky situation should they be unlucky enough to suffer a breakdown away from home."

30th vintage for Australian wine benchmark

The first Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc was launched in 1990.

It was a very different time in an Australian wine industry about which I had just started to write.

Sauvignon blanc was a virtually unknown grape variety at the time - but cousins Martin Shaw and Michael Hill-Smith saw potential in the variety and launched their own label using cool-climate Adelaide Hills fruit.

In those days, sauvignon blanc was under appreciated. So much so that the great wine expert Len Evans dismissed the variety as "a weed". This despite the popularity of Loire Valley wines made from the grape, including Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. 

But at that time many Australians had no idea what grape was used to produce those wines.

The public thought differently to Evans, however, and Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc was an instant success story, wowing the drinking public, following in the footsteps of Kiwi crowd-stopper Cloudy Bay, launched just a few years earlier. 

The wine's citrus fruit freshness and length made it a perfect summer sipper.

"Stylistically the wine hasn't changed much over the years," the cousins said. "We've always sought to make a sauvignon blanc that is a pure expression of grape variety and region, coupled with texture and overall drinkability."

The newly-released Shaw + Smith 2019 Sauvignon Blanc is the 30th straight release and it is another cool-climate ripper; fresh and vibrant with bright fruit, mineral hints and a huge refreshment factor.

The price is now around $29 a bottle but it remains a global benchmark. Audacity rewarded.


Thursday, 11 July 2019

Australia experimenting with Cypriot wine grape varieties

Anyone for a glass of xynisteri or maratheftiko wine? 

Climate change is prompting Australian wine researchers to trial drought-tolerant grape varieties from Cyprus.

Alexander Copper with xynisteri vines in Cyprus

The Cypriot varieties xynisteri (white) and maratheftiko (red) have just been released from Australian quarantine and are being propagated at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus in South Australia.

The vines will be planted in trials that replicate those being undertaken in commercial Cypriot vineyards to determine their suitability for Australian conditions.

University of Adelaide PhD student Alexander Copper has established trials under irrigated and drought conditions in Cyprus and the material from quarantine will be used to repeat these experiments in Australia to further determine their drought tolerance.

“We are seeing increasing temperatures and increasing frequency of heat waves in southern Australia and this is affecting vine harvest and putting more and more pressure on water resources,” Copper said.

“These varieties are very drought tolerant in Cyprus, often grown without any irrigation, and it is hoped they will be able to grow in Australian conditions with minimal to no irrigation.”

“Australia’s popular grape varieties, including shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris are all French varieties that traditionally have been grown in parts of France with high rainfall and without irrigation. 

"In Australia these varieties are typically irrigated due to our difference in rainfall, likewise our rieslings which originally came from Germany.

“We do have some more drought tolerant varieties from Spain, Italy and Portugal, but I believe the Cypriot varieties will be more drought tolerant than these. They have been cultivated for thousands of years in Cyprus, tolerating very hot, dry summers, surviving on winter rainfall alone, very similar to our climate here in South Australia.”

Copper is funded by University of Adelaide and Wine Australia scholarships, and supervised by Associate Professors Cassandra Collins and Susan Bastian, and Dr Trent Johnson, in the university’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

He said he hoped to have data ready for publication from the Cyprus trials early in 2020 and from the Australian trials at the Waite campus in Autumn 2021.

“After that we hope to run field trials in different regions of South Australia,” he said.

Associate Professor Collins said the first part of the project was to assess consumer response in Australia to the Cypriot wines, which had been positive.

“Considering the similar climates of Australia and Cyprus, these Cypriot grape varieties have potential as environmentally sustainable wines which will require less resources and help in the future adaptation of the wine industry to a changing climate,” she said.

South Australia is consistently responsible for about 50% of Australia’s annual production and 75% of premium wine.

Airline defends pilot who wanted to drink alcohol; demotes whistleblower

I have never flown with Korean Air - and after reports this week I am unlikely to rush to sample their particular brand of hospitality.

The South Korean national airline has defended a pilot who demanded alcoholic drinks while on duty and demoted the whistleblower who reported him, Travel Weekly reported.

The airline said in a statement that the unnamed pilot's actions "didn't cause real trouble".

Korean media reports said the captain tried to pick up a glass of Champagne from the welcome drinks tray before take-off on a flight from Incheon to Amsterdam in December 2018.

A member of the cabin crew reportedly stopped him, saying “you can’t drink alcohol”.

Midway through the flight, the pilot reportedly requested a “glass of wine” from a member of cabin crew. He was refused and the flight attendant reported the incident to the cabin crew manager.

The cabin crew manager later let other crew and the co-pilot know what had happened, but instructed them not to mention anything to the captain until after the plane had landed.

Korean Air reportedly investigated the claims after the cabin crew manager filed a formal complaint regarding the incident.

There was an "altercation" between the cabin manager and the co-pilot.

It has been reported the captain received a verbal warning, while the manager was demoted for “causing conflict” on board the flight.

“It’s true the captain made a controversial action, but it didn’t cause real trouble,” a Korean Air spokesperson said in a statement to the Korea Times, adding that the cabin crew manager was responsible for using “insulting words during the altercation and revealing the internal issue”.

Full marks to Korean Air for dickheadedness.

Unusual wine blend proves a rare hit

Pinot noir and champagne are frequent companions in sparkling wine blends, but rarely co-habitate in table wines. 

Step forward a new release from Mornington Peninsula winery Foxey's Hangout - the Foxeys 2018 Palheto.

Foxeys Hangout is the project of restaurateur brothers turned vignerons Michael and Tony Lee, who make savoury wines well suited to be consumed with food. 

This rare bird field blend is mostly de-stemmed pinot noir with around 10% chardonnay in whole bunches, stalks intact. 

It turns out palhete or palheto is a traditional Portuguese word for a field blend comprising both red and white grapes (no more than 15% white). The grapes used here have been sourced from one single vineyard, Turramurra at Dromana. 

Inspired by visiting Portuguese winemaker Pedro Frey from Frey Blend in the Duoro, it was made by Chris Strickland as a co-ferment, with the end result a very attractive lighter red with good tannins; somewhat in the style of gamay. 

It's a zingy, zesty red with a sense of fun - and would be terrific during summer, lightly chilled. It will cost you $38. Which would be money well spent.



Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Technology will automatically translate wine labels

Clever technology that enables shoppers to read wine labels written in a variety of languages will soon become the standard among savvy wineries, digital marketing specialist Dave Chaffey believes.

Third Aurora, a tech start-up led by Geelong-based Chaffey, has announced that the technology will be rolled out to its Winerytale platform in 2020.

A video on the Third Aurora website demonstrates the technology with English text instantaneously translated to Chinese. 

The ground-breaking technology is said to be capable of translating more than 100 languages. 

"Artificial intelligence reads and interprets the content and augmented reality projects the new text back onto the label, right in front of you," Chaffey says. 

"The labels aren't actually changing, the translation is projected using augmented reality, which is powered by your smartphone."

It sounds like a handy app to have in your front pocket. 

"it's definitely picking up pace – this sort of technology will reach tipping point very quickly – we think it will be towards the end of 2020," Chaffey says.

For more information including demonstration videos, and images, visit

$30 million development proposed for Adelaide Hills winery

Adelaide Hills winery Bird in Hand has revealed plans for a $30 million revamp of its Woodside property.

The upgrade will include an exclusive 40-seat wine and culinary experience, an art gallery, increased cellar door space, underground cellars, tasting rooms and landscaped gardens.

A development application has been lodged with Adelaide Hills Council and Bird in Hand is hoping its application will be approved in the coming months so construction can begin early next year.

Founded in 1997 on a former dairy farm near the 19th-century Bird in Hand gold mine site, the family-owned winery released its first vintages in 2001 and now produces close to 90,000 cases a year. 

Bird in Hand exports wine to about 15 countries including China, the United States, Canada, Germany and the UK.

Founder Andrew Nugent said the project was the next step towards the winery’s goal of becoming one of the world’s leading wineries and a pre-eminent international tourist destination showcasing elite South Australian wine, produce, art and culture.

“We intend to create a space of global, cultural and artistic paramountcy that helps secure our state and region as an imperative on the world wine and tourism map,” he said. Paramountcy - an interesting word.

“That means not only increasing our ability to cater for growing demand but also shining light on the outstanding winemakers, food producers, artists and designers that we nurture here.”

Although sometimes overshadowed by the Barossa just to the north and McLaren Vale to the south, the Adelaide Hills has emerged as one of Australia’s leading cool-climate wine regions in recent years and is home to over 100 wine producers.

The existing Bird in Hand winery features a cellar door, The Gallery restaurant, a smaller private dining and tasting room and a larger area suitable for concerts and formal functions.

Nugent said the project aimed to reciprocate the support Bird in Hand had received from South Australians and the Adelaide Hills community for so many years.

“It is a community we are so grateful to be a part of,” he said.

“The Adelaide Hills is a major part of South Australia’s $7 billion visitor economy, and we share the state government’s vision to grow.

“Our family, together with the remarkably talented and dedicated team at Bird in Hand, feel very fortunate to be able to promote the elite artisan wines and produce of South Australia with the world from our Adelaide Hills home.”

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

International wine triumph for McGuigan

Neil McGuigan is one of the nice guys of the wine industry.

A member of one of Australia's most famous wine-making families, he oversees the McGuigan and Nepenthe brands for Australian Vintage.

I caught up with him last month at the Sydney Opera House, where he was showing off some recent award winners. What struck me was not only the quality of the white wines that had tickled wine judge's fancy, but also the excellent value offered by, particularly, the semillons,chardonnays and rieslings.

The Guigans, like Taylors and several other big produducers, are huge fans of the show system, believing global recognition will lead to global sales.

That's why McGuigan and his team will have been delighted to become the first Australian winery in history to win the White Winemaker of the Year award at one of the world’s most prestigious
wine competitions – the International Wine Challenge (IWC) – four times.

The results were revealed last night at a gala awards ceremony in London and follow McGuigan Wines’ previous wins in 2009, 2012 and 2013.

The 2019 White Winemaker of the Year award crowns McGuigan Wines’ strong performance across this year’s IWC, where it won a total of four golds, 11 silvers and 14 bronze medals.

The gold medals were awarded to the McGuigan Personal Reserve Shiraz 2017, McGuigan Shortlist Chardonnay 2015, McGuigan Shortlist Riesling 2013 and McGuigan Cellar Select Chardonnay 2017.

“To have received the White Winemaker of the Year award four times in the last decade is unprecedented and extremely humbling," Neil McGuigan said. "I am immensely proud of our achievements at this year’s show, which are a testament to the commitment of our wine-making team.

"Every time an Australian wine is recognised at international wine competitions it puts Australia on the map and highlights the quality being produced."

That was one of McGuigan's theme at our recent catch-up. He was critical of several other producers who highlight their personal triumphs rather than using them as a way to boost the Australian industry as a whole.

“We continue to be incredibly honoured to represent Australia on the global stage." he said. "Award wins such as this reinforce the reputation of Australian wine and demonstrate we have truly earned our place among the world’s best wines.”

In addition to the four IWC White Winemaker of the Year awards, the last decade has also seen McGuigan Wines named International Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine & Spirits Competition four times: in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2016.

McGuigan Shortlist Chardonnay 2015, McGuigan Shortlist Riesling 2013 and McGuigan Cellar Select Chardonnay 2017 are available in limited quantities at the McGuigan Cellar Door in the Hunter Valley.

Prosecco hills now a UNESCO World Heritage destination

A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to have been invited to the hills of Prosecco, one of the most dramatically beautiful wine regions in the world. 

This week, the hills surrounding Conegliano and Valdobbiadene were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

With exports rising by a record 21% in 2019 in foreign markets, Prosecco has become the most popular Italian wine export. The region is located in Veneto in the north-east of Italy.

Italy’s foreign ministry and agriculture minister, Gian Marco Centinaio, said the announcement marks a “historic day for Veneto and for Italy as a whole.”

President of the Consortium for the Protection of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG, Innocente Nardi, said: “The producers that make up the Consortium of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG have been at the heart of UNESCO nomination.

“They live and shape the uniqueness of our landscape, with its patchwork of steep, demanding vineyards that can only ever be worked by hand. Countless generations have forged our distinctive patchworks and unique grassy earth terraces, that we call ciglioni. 

"Their labour has carved out from nature a unique identity that has led to UNESCO recognition.”

The site is the 10th in the world to be registered as a World Heritage Site under UNESCO's category of ‘cultural landscape’.

Lost Farm a new name on the Tasmanian wine landscape

Richard Angove caught the Tasmanian wine bug when doing a vintage stint at Tamar Ridge back in 2008. 

Angove,  a fifth-generation member of one of Australia's most famous wine-making families, loves drinking fresh, vibrant fruit-driven wines, so decided to make some small batches of his own on the Apple Isle.

The Lost Farm, Angove's personal range of two sparkling wines, along with a chardonnay and a pinot noir, will be launched next month. 

It has been an exercise in getting involved in hand-on winemaking for Angove, who has had stints working at Tahbilk, Domaine Carneros in California and Brokenwood before rejoining the family firm, which produces wines from McLaren Vale and Renmark, as well as St Agnes brandies, and has been in the wine business since 1886. 

More recently Richard has been involved in the marketing side of the business but has relished the chance to get his hands dirty after sourcing fruit from standout Tasmanian producers including Josef Chromy and Goaty Hill. 

The name has a double-barrelled impact. It refers first to a Tea Tree Gully vineyard the family was forced to surrender to urban creep in McLaren Vale back in 1974, but also shares its name with one of Tasmania's finest golf courses, which will be selling the wines. 

Angove is making the wines at the Josef Chromy facility, working with Jeremy Dineen, before finishing them off at the high-tech Angove facility in Renmark, which has meant a lot of recent interstate travel. 

"Clean and fresh wines is what I am looking for, because that is the style I love to drink," Angove said. "I have relished the chance to work with high-quality, cool-climate fruit."

The wines will range from between $30-40 a bottle and will be distributed by the Angove family's Vintage House Wine and Spirits arm. 

See www.lostfarmwines.com.au 

Sunday, 7 July 2019

A very special wine weekend in Tasmania

A beautiful setting? Tick. Luxurious accommodation? Tick. Wines from some of Tasmania's best small producers? Fine food and some adventures? Tick.

The annual Great Eastern Wine Weekend returns for its fifth year from September 6-8, 2019, showcasing some of the best food and wines of Tasmania's east coast.

The event offers an opportunity to explore Tasmania's east coast wine region through a variety of special events, cellar door specials, lazy brunches hopping between vineyards, communal yoga, cheese and sparkling events and a cruise to Wineglass Bay.

“Freycinet Lodge is again thrilled to be an integral part of this year's Great Eastern Wine Weekend, which is an excellent showcase of local produce and wines,” Destinations Chief Operating Officer Andrew Paynter said.

“At the Lodge, we use local producers wherever possible, and it is great to see an event such as this bringing them together to celebrate the best of the east coast.

“Each year the event has grown from strength to strength, including winning the Event of the Year award at the recent East Coast Regional Tourism Awards (known as the Great Eastern Drivers).

“We look forward to hosting locals, Tasmanians and visitors at this outstanding event.”

From free tastings to tours of oyster farms and sunset cruises, I can vouch for the quality of this weekend having done it twice before.

Wineries involved include Gala Estate, Lisdillon, MacLean Bay, Kelvedon, Apsley Gorge, The Bend, OvertimeVineyard, Priory Ridge, Freycinet Vineyard, Craigie Knowe, Devil's Corner and Milton Vineyard.

Accommodation packages at Freycinet Lodge are available, with discounts for auto club members.

For information and booking details see www.freycinetlodge.com.au/WineWeekend

New Perth hotel named in honour of graffiti artist

The new Art Series hotel in Perth will be named after one of Australian street art's most influential big wall painters – Matt Adnate.

Adnate will craft one of the world’s tallest murals for the first Art Series hotel dedicated to street art.

The imposing 27-storey ‘Mega Mural’ on the west-facing side of the hotel is the largest artwork Matt has painted on a building and, once completed, will feature faces which represent the cultural history and community of Perth.

This, along with a ‘Laneway Mural’, which spans more than 50m long and features multiple portraits from Matt and a collaboration with a local Indigenous artist, and Matt’s interior ‘Staircase Mural’, will completely transform the hotel both inside and out.

“I see this hotel as a beautiful canvas to tell a story about Perth’s cultural and community connection through portraiture and traditional elements,” Matt said.

“My Mega Mural will feature three large-scale portraits. It will represent the past through the cultural representation in the subject’s dressing elements, the present with contemporary faces, and the future as the subjects are the youth of today.

“What excites me most about this collaboration with Art Series is the opportunity to capture the stories and emotions of my subjects and to share them with a new audience in the west.

“I’ve always held a personal connection towards the First Nation people I paint. Whether it be a connection to country or a strong emphasis on spirituality, I believe we have a lot to learn from these people.”

Two original canvases and up to 650 reproductions of 30 of Matt’s most recognised works from around the world will adorn the walls and halls of the 250-room hotel development by George Atzemis.

“To have an Art Series hotel dedicated to showcasing my work is an honour,” he said. “In more ways than one, this collaboration with Art Series is a high point in my career and I cannot wait for the doors to open in October,” he said.

Accor Chief Operating Officer Pacific, Simon McGrath, said The Adnate is destined to become an iconic landmark in Perth’s CBD.

“The Adnate’s Mega Mural will face the city centre for all to enjoy, and we are thrilled to announce Matt Adnate as the namesake artist for our ninth Art Series hotel,” McGrath said.

“Matt is a next generation artist who reflects the expansive view on Australian art. His unique artistic style and experience with painting large-scale murals in main cities around Australia and the world made him the ideal namesake artist for the scale and design of our newest Art Series hotel in Perth.

“This hotel heralds the arrival of the Art Series brand in Western Australia and demonstrates our commitment to growing this iconic Australian hotel brand – Australia’s only boutique hotel brand creating art inspired experiences for guests.”
The Adnate will also be home to a chic new international food and beverage destination, serving Mediterranean cuisine and cocktails. The venue will be centred around the hotel’s pool area on level one, positioned directly above Hay Street.

The hotel will also feature a gymnasium and a function room, fully equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual technology.
Art Series Hotels chain was launched in 2009 in nis now part of the Accor group. 

Signature art experiences at The Adnate will include art tours, in-room art channels and art libraries. Branded Smart Cars and Lekker bicycles will be available to explore all that Perth has to offer and further afield.

The Art Series portfolio includes Melbourne hotels The Olsen, South Yarra; The Blackman, St Kilda Road; The Cullen, Prahan; The Larwill, Parkville; The Chen, Box Hill, along with The Watson in Walkerville, South Australia and The Johnson and The Fantauzzo in Brisbane, Queensland.

The Adnate
900 Hay Street
Perth WA

Saturday, 6 July 2019

One of the world's great hotels snares fabulous chef team

Opened in 1887, Raffles Singapore is one of the last remaining truly grand hotels in the world.

With its 19th-century architecture perfectly preserved inside and out, Raffles is the home of the famous Singapore Sling and is undergoing a complete restoration.

The famous Long Bar has been refurbed and is now open in its original location, while the hotel this week opened the doors to La Dame Pic, an eatery to be overseen by Anne-Sophie Pic, one of the world's leading chefs.

Pic was only the fourth woman to gain three Michelin stars and La Dame de Pic replaces Raffles Grill.

Anne-Sophie Pic hails from a long lineage of chefs with the Pic family's culinary heritage beginning when their first restaurant started in 1889. She is a third-generation Michelin-starred chef from Valence in the South of France.

“Making our debut in Asia at Raffles Singapore is a very natural choice for me," Pic said. "Like Raffles, the Pic family's culinary heritage spans more than a century.

"Just like this beautiful hotel that will become one of our overseas residences, we are storytellers and constant seekers of excellence. Together, we share the vision to provide distinctive experiences to our guests,delivered with innovation that combines both tradition and change.”

The 46-seat La Dame de Pic will be headed by chef de cuisine Kevin Gatin who has been a protégé of Anne-Sophie Pic for several years and has been hand-picked by her. 

A Noma graduate, Gatin has worked for Pic since 2008, most recently in her outpost at the Beau Rivage Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Star dishes on the menu include cucumber with Oscietra caviar; Brittany lobster slow-roasted with shellfish butter and served with a coriander-and-barley-infused broth; and Tajima wagyu beef, roasted Japanese wagyu accompanied by smoked beetroot and mushroom broth.

The wine list offers a curated selection that leans towards the French regions, with a particular focus on Anne-Sophie Pic's birthplace, the Rhône Valley.

La Dame de Pic at Raffles Singapore will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays to Sundays. +65 6337 1886.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Meet the most expensive new-release wine the world

There is a new Bordeaux wine about to become the most expensive current release in the world. Apparently, it is not a scam, or a fraud.

Loic Pasquet, a maverick Bordeaux winemaker, is to release a new wine under his Liber Pater label that will go on sale for €30,000 - that's over $48,000 Australian - per bottle.

Yes, you read that right, per bottle.

Former Tetsuya's wine guru - and now Merivale sommelier - Stuart Halliday admitted on Twitter that he had never heard of Pasquier's Liber Pater label. Likewise, I had to do some furious research.

But Pasquet believes the market is ready pay more for his wine than Bordeaux first growths and Burgundy superstars.

Domaine de la Romanée Conti's Romanee-Conti Grand Cru, the most expensive current release wine in the world, sells for around $28,000 AUS a bottle.

Pasquet says the 550 bottles produced are an opportunity to taste what pre-phylloxera Bordeaux was like.

"I don't set the price, the market does," he told Wine-Searcher. Which is more than a little disingenuous.

"That's what you get with only 500 bottles produced," he said. "The wine turns into something else – for some it is like a piece of art. The 2015 will be the first vintage made from entirely autochthonous grapes from ungrafted vines; it is produced as wine was before phylloxera."

Of the total 550 bottles produced, only 240 will be sold now. The remaining bottles will be kept at the cellars for later release.

Pasquet uses grape varieties like castets (which has just been approved for use in certain Bordeaux appellations), tarney-coulant and pardotte.

The winemaker, known for his run-ins with local authorities, says anyone lucky enough to secure a bottle of the 2015 Liber Pater will be rewarded with a unique wine, unlike anything made over the past 150 years.

"We have succeeded in finding what must have been the pre-phylloxera taste, with ungrafted vines and using the viticultural techniques of the time," he said. "Great collectors want to taste wine as it was in the middle of the 19th century and now they can."

The 2015 Liber Pater grape component will see it fall outside the Graves appellation rules and it will carry the humble Vin de France logo. It was vinified in amphorae, given a two-month maceration and then aged for a further two and a half years. No oak was used in the process.

Pasquet says 12 bottles will be allocated to the US, another 12 to China, and so on.

The rarity of the wine obviously elevates the price. In some years Pasquiet does not release any wine at all. That said, this is an obscure wine with no long-term provenance. 

For me, no wine is worth anything like that being asked - but fools and their money are easily parted, so they tell me.

Liber Pater, or Free Father, takes its name from an ancient Roman God of wine.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Aromatherapy for those unfortunates doing Dry July

In solidarity with the thousands of Australians going alcohol free this month for Dry July, Menulog has launched an exclusive range of alcohol-scented candles to help encourage a hangover-free month.

The online food delivery service will be delivering some of the nation’s favourite tipples (in the form of a candle) to homes throughout July.

The Scentsational Alcohol Candle range features five bespoke aromas including Mulled Wine, Champagne Cocktail, Scotch Whisky, Espresso Martini and Pink Apple Cider, which have all been paired with a flavour-matched meal deal.

The ‘beverage’ pairings match the complexity of the dishes, acting as an integral extension of the meal by bringing a sensory element to each delivery order. 

Menulog customers can order a free candle – until stocks run out.

Menulog’s Scentsational Alcohol Candle Range pairings include spicy prawns and chorizo traditional-style pizza with Champagne Cocktail Candle, available from Manoosh Pizzeria, in Enmore, Sydney.

Menulog marketing director Simon Cheng said: “Working closely with our restaurant partners, we have created a fun and playful way to pair some of their most popular dishes with an alcohol-scented candle, to help Aussies get through their alcohol-free month.

Dead body lands in Clapham. The strangest of travel stories.

John Baldock was enjoying some rare British sunshine, sunbathing in the backyard of his home in Clapham Common, a suburb of south London.

But Baldock's relaxation was rudely interrupted earlier this week when the frozen body of man fell from the sky and landed right next to him - just a metre away.

The body hit the ground with such an impact that it dislodged paving, creating a crater in the yard.

It is believed the body may belong to an airport worker, most likely a stowaway, as it fell from the landing gear of a Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi to London Heathrow.

A spokesman for the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority said it was “likely” the body was that of an employee at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, from where the plane took off.

“Whoever it is most likely had access to the airside because with the way security is tight, it’s unlikely that an outsider would have been able to make his way through to the airside where an aeroplane is parked and be able to climb in,” director general Gilbert Kibe told media.

British police have sent the dead man’s fingerprints to authorities in Nairobi to try to identify him, Kenyan media reported.

Neighbours previously described hearing the frozen body crash into the garden.

“I heard a ‘whomp’ – I went upstairs to look out of a window. At first I thought it was a tramp asleep in the garden,” one neighbour told The Sun newspaper.

“He had all of his clothes on and everything. I had a closer look and saw there was blood all over the walls of the garden. His head was not in a good way. I realised immediately that he had fallen.

“One of the reasons his body was so intact was because his body was an ice block."

Tim McKean, another witness, was in his garden when a “black streak” shot over his head and crashed metres away.

It is believed the body fell as as the plane lowered its wheels before landing at Heathrow after a nine-hour journey. A bag, water and food were later found in the landing gear.

Metropolitan Police said officers were still working to establish the man’s identity.

Software engineer Baldock, meanwhile, was said be suffering from shock after his narrow escape and fled to his parents' home in Devon.

Eat an in-flight burger and help fight AIDS

AirAsia and Santan have teamed up with (RED) to create a special in-flight meal, the INSPI(RED) Burger, in support of the fight to end AIDS.

Created by New York-based (RED) chef/ambassador Hong Thaimee, the burger draws on her Northern Thai roots to deliver an East-meets-West experience. 

It features a chicken patty infused with fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass, topped with zesty nam prik noom mayo (green chilli mayonnaise), shredded purple cabbage and tomato on a red beetroot bun.

For every INSPI(RED) Burger sold, 10% of sales will go to the Global Fund to support HIV/AIDS testing, counselling, treatment and prevention programs in the ASEAN region.

(RED) Chef Ambassador Hong Thaimee said: “As a Thai chef based in New York, I wanted to combine the best of both worlds - Thai flavours and the classic all-American burger - to make a meal that would be easy for the airline passengers to enjoy. 

"Since I started my culinary journey, it’s been my mission and passion to bring Thai food to a wider audience, and it’s exciting to think that I can introduce the flavours of my hometown of Chiang Mai to the 8 million guests who fly with AirAsia each month.”

Guests are encouraged to pre-book the INSPI(RED) Burger with a complimentary drink at a promotional price of only RM10 on AirAsia flights across all AirAsia destinations.

Santan meals are available for pre-booking via My Bookings on airasia.com.

# (RED) was founded in 2006 to engage businesses and people in the fight against AIDS. (RED) partners with the world’s most iconic brands that contribute proceeds from (RED)-branded goods and services to the Global Fund. (RED) partners include: Amazon, Apple, AirAsia, Bank of America, Beats by Dr. Dre, Belvedere, Claro, Durex, MCM, Salesforce, SAP, Starbucks and Telcel.