Category Archives: Wine Travel, articles on wine travel

Peter Lehmann Wines – Barossa Valley


Ian Hongell - Winemaker at Peter Lehmann Wines

Ian Hongell - Winemaker at Peter Lehmann Wines

Peter Lehmann Wines

Since its inception in 1979, Peter Lehmann Wines has been a Barossa Valley mainstay. The wines, especially the shiraz and riesling have been – in my little black book – synonymous with the Barossa style. So much so that when overseas guests have asked me to recommend typical Barossa wines, Peter Lehmann always come to mind.

The winery and cellar door are set in leafy, park-like gardens and guests can wander around, taste a good selection of wines and if peckish, enjoy lunch on a sunny verandah – as we did. Continue reading

Henschke – Keyneton – Eden Valley


Stepping into the venerable cellars at the Henschke winery in Keyneton is a real trip into the past. The marks of generations of Henschkes having been hewn into the stony structures since the mid-nineteenth century.

In the winery are rows of open concrete fermenters still in use after numerous vintages, and the visitor may picture how winemakers in earlier days used gravity rather than motorised pumps to process young wines.

Henschke Winery - old concrete vats

Henschke Winery - old concrete vats


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Magical History Tour – more Barossa and Eden Valley

Seppelt Family Mausoleum

Seppelt Family Mausoleum


The drive to Seppeltsfield is memorable – avenues of numerous stately date palms and on a hill the brooding Seppelt family mausoleum. As you arrive you are confronted by a complex of aged stone buildings that seem to have “just growed” since the winery’s beginnings in the mid-1800s.

In the old cellars the visitor is shown rows of casks still containing tawny port styles from 130 vintages. In the tasting room, ancient and modern fortifieds, brandies and table wines are there for an indulgent sip or two. Continue reading

Napa Valley Visit

By Annie Field

We started this morning with a vague plan, to try some wine and enjoy ourselves. Not being at all familiar with the local viticultural regions we took a punt and picked a route around Sonoma, Glen Ellen, Napa and Petaluma (our base). This plan was rapidly turfed when we started battling Labor Day Holiday traffic both on and off (tasting tables!) the road.

Our first stop was Domaine Carneros in Napa. Owned by the Taittinger Champagne House, it is certified organic and just a little bit fancy! We tried four of their wines for an affordable $25 (a person! Ouch!). The stand out was Le Reve Blanc de Blanc: light golden in colour, lemons and apples on the nose and peaches and shortbread on the palate. The finish was smooth and dry. Continue reading

Magical History Tour – Barossa and Clare Valleys

Penfolds Kalimna

Penfolds Kalimna

After years of writing about wine I recently visited the Barossa and Clare Valleys for the first time.

Just three days in the Barossa and one in Clare was far too short a time to do the area justice but we popped around the vineyards in a disorganised fashion and tasted a fair number of fine wines.

As I discovered, the Barossa is a series of small towns spread out over mostly flat plains, the populated areas separated by numerous historic (and new) wineries and gnarled vineyards. Continue reading

Dryish cruising

Water water everywhere…

In late March, early April, we sailed on the Legend of the Seas from Shanghai to the Japanese ports of Miyazaki, Kobe and Fukuoka and to the South Korean port of Busan, before returning to Shanghai.

The Legend’s restaurant wine list was typical of cruise lines – a fair range of wines with over the top prices. To give but one example, a bottle of Wolf Blass Yellow Label Merlot cost a whacking $46.50 (Australian dollars, including an obligatory 15% gratuity, at the then current ship exchange rate). This wine is easy to find in Australia for less than $10.00. Continue reading

The sun sets over Kuta Beach – 1975 & 2009

Kuta Beach Club Hotel, Bali, 1975

Kuta has an obvious village atmosphere. Bare-chested old men in sarongs sit on platforms and groom their fighting cocks. In and around the thatched buildings, scabrous dogs, chickens and swayback pigs root around, wistful-eyed cows graze in nearby coconut groves.

Traditionally dressed women place little woven trays of flowers, rice, and incense, as offerings to the gods at shrines and strategic sites. Soldiers with guns walk around the market stalls. Hippies and Bali Boys ride motor bikes along the beach waterline.

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Granite Belt wine touring

by Martin Field
The kind folk at Granite Belt Wine and Tourism invited us to look around the Granite Belt wine region. ‘Take the scenic route to the Granite Belt,’ they said. We did, it was mid-summer, and on the five-hour drive from Noosa the scenic route was off, it rained all the way. In Stanthorpe, it was about fifteen degrees. Luckily, log fires were commonplace and we were happy to find one in our B&B at Heather’s Cottage.
The coolish weather was due no doubt to the Granite Belt’s elevation, some 1,000 metres above sea level – making it the only Queensland region with four seasons. The altitude has created a grape growing climate similar to that of South Australia’s Clare Valley and has made the area unarguably Queensland’s premium wine region.
We couldn’t visit all of the 60 or so cellar doors but on a madcap two-day trip, we grazed on a fine selection of regional wines and tucker. Here are some of the highlights.
At Summit Estate, Argentinean winemaker Paola Cabezas, poured me a barrel sample of her 2007 petit verdot. An inky dark drop with concentrated fruit and a very firm finish. John Handy, winemaker at Heritage Estate had an impressive 2008 reserve chardonnay: a big, dry, perfumed style showing musk and apricot nectar.

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Cruising Southeast Asia

by Martin Field
Just back from a cruise on the good ship Superstar Gemini. We sailed from Singapore to Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong.
All meals were included in the cruise price, drinks were not. Cuisine was European with the occasional Asian dish. Vegetarian options were limited. In the Ocean Palace restaurant you dined semi-formally, with waiter service, table linen and all. The restaurant has a ludicrous rule that men may not wear shorts or sandals to dinner(we are in the tropics during monsoon you should know). Women wear what they like.
The ship’s other restaurant, the Mariners’ Buffet, is more casual and the food is self-served, er, from a buffet.

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Summer travelling in Italy

For the last two weeks we have been traveling through Sardinia and central Italy. Our trip began with an overnight stop at the Relais San Damiàn, in the countryside behind Imperia, a very beautiful small agriturismo (farm hotel) with ample spacious rooms and a small pool nestled in an olive grove. The stop was needed because we had planned a dinner in Imperia, with friends from the newsgroup: Nils from Sweden, Dale from New York, Luk and Fil from Liguria, and consorts.


Imperia is one of those places that one would normally skip as a tourist, yet it is interesting and in many ways charming. Imperia was an invention of a certain past leader of Italy, the one with the large chin that made the trains run on time but set Italy on the wrong path; the city is actually the artificial fusion of the very large fishing ports of Oneglia and San Maurizio. Agrodolce is situated in Oneglia right on the quays, in a curious mélange of residential palaces and industry, so it is normal, while sitting at a table under the arcades, to get the occasional whiff of olive oil, fish and pasta from the nearby plants. The chef of Agrodolce is Andrea Sarri, and with his wife Alessandra he runs what I consider to be one of the best fish restaurants. Photos of some of the dishes are interspersed throughout this article.

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