Tag Archives: vineyards

Taste the Harvest – Mon’s Style

So Devonport threw a wine and food festival just for me, yay! I tend to be a bit of a foodie/boozie so to have a collection of wineries, breweries and food from around the local area, in one location is pretty much my idea of heaven. I was so excited that I dragged my very patient (non drinking) husband down to the festival as soon as it started at 10:30am.

(Please note that the photos included in this post are not shot with my DSLR Canon, but my iphone5 as i decided that operating heavy machinery while drinking was not advisable!)

As soon as we arrived it started to drizzle, not to be deterred, I bought my tasting glass (rookie error, totally should have thought to smuggle my own it) and started to make the rounds. I won’t go into every single wine and beer I tried, I’ll be honest, there was a lot and I don’t remember all of them. I did however pay special attention to my favs so here they are.

Spreyton Cider

WOW! This unusual cider has not yet made its way up to Brisbane so I haven’t had the pleasure of indulging before and I was blown away by what I tried (which was all of them). Spreyton make the cider in a dry style, perfect with food and not like other sweeter styles on the market. The Cider Maker (??) was there and was very patient with answering all my questions. I learnt that they don’t add any sugar for the first fermentation; however, they do add some into the second fermentation (either in the bottle or the keg) and this makes the bubbles, just like the traditional method of making champagne – very interesting! I managed to get a small taste of the apple juice they make as well and it was a-ma-zing (originally that was what they specialized in was making apple juice and more recently branched into ciders).

Spreyton Ciderery Goodness

Ironhouse Brewery

These guys had 6 beers on tap, all lovely. However, my fav was the Honey Porter, which is Porter with Leatherwood Honey added to it. Leatherwood Honey is produced around the center of Tas and isn’t well known as a table variety of honey due to its stronger flavour and smell.

Seven Sheds

I was able to taste their 5 beers on tap. My favourite was the Willie Warmer, named after one of the owners. Willie used to make this beer as a home brew before starting the brewery. The Willie warmer was a lovely dark beer, all spicy and yummy! I had a good chat to the other owner who was full of information. Did you know that earlier last century Cascade and Boags were part of one company? They bought out all the breweries in Tas and shut them all down. Seven Sheds is the only brewery in Tasmania’s North West to open since 1907. Also another fun fact,  IPA’s are generally more alcoholic as back in the old days, when they were shipping it from Britain to India, to stop the beer from going off on the journey they increased the alcohol content, interesting stuff!

Morrisons Brewery

Quite a new brewery and again I was lucky enough to corner the brewer and bombard him with questions while sampling his beers. The Saison was my favourite and boy was it amazing! Unfortunately as he is new to the game and a small brewer, getting hold of his beers is going to prove challenging so I will need to wait until Launceston to try and get hold of some takeaway.

Morrisons Brewery

Pagan Cider

The label first attracted me to these guys and my favourite cider was the Apple & cherry blend (Cerise) yum yum!

Pagan Cider, great labels

Blustery Banks Vineyard

Grows only 2 varieties of grapes (Chardy and Pinot Noir), has a small parcel of land and all their grapes are hand picked. Add this altogether and you get exceptional wines. The 2010 Chardy and the 2012 Pinot Noir were my picks from these guys.

General observation: A lot of the vineyards at the show were actually the farmers / owners of the vineyards. It seems to be the trend that the task of creating the wines is contracted out to the winemakers who make the wine and then the vineyards sell it.

Also, I’ve noticed that a large number of white wines I tasted are really light, almost like water in colour, strange!

Deloraine Fruit Wines

These guys were just quirky, lovely, but quirky. They use fruits, other than grapes, to make wines and the wine are made in quite a dry style rather than sweet and syrupy. The couple on the stand were quirky and advised us that we needed to go to Zeehan to a theatre where the famous Dame Nellie Melba performed. Now the only reason I know the name Dame Nellie Melba is because Downtown Abbey featured her character on the show so now I need to see this place!

Frenchman’s Cap

Named after a peak here in Tassie, these guys find grapes and then find winemakers to make the wine. They are kind of like a middle man, they don’t actually grow any grapes or make any wines themselves but their wines were lovely. My fav, Frenchmans Cap Pinot Noir

Ghost Rock Vineyard

Had a lovely stand and very knowledgeable vineyard owner. The wines were great and my favourite for the day was the Catherine Sparkling.

Iron Pot Bay Vineyard

The owner has only just bought the vineyard within the past 9 months so only a couple of the wines that she has produced were for tasting, plenty of other wines from the previous owner though. My favourite was the Late Harvest Riesling

Lake Barrington / White Rock Vineyard

Just released a variety that I’d never heard of before called Dornfelder, a red German variety. I bought a glass of this one to finish off my drinking for the day. Man, was it good!


So even though my day was booze filled there was also some food happening behind the scenes. Tornado Potato, I ate 3 of them. It was a potato slinky on a stick, dipped in batter and deep-fried, kind of like potato scallops, yum!

Dornfelder and Tornado Potato

By about 2pm i’d decided (I meaning my husband) that i’d done my dash and it was time to go. Deciding that I had made a nice dent in the long list of places I’d hope to see on our travels (bonus that they were all in one convenient place), I didn’t make a fuss. So home (caravan park) we went for a big meal of pasta, shitloads of water, a couple of pannies and early to bed for me!

The Adelaide Hills are Alive with Food and Wine

We took the long route down from Brisbane to Tasmania with detours via Griffith and Adelaide. While in Adelaide I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with my Husband’s family in the Adelaide Hills, an area I’ve not spent much time in.

We started off with a quick drive up to Mt Barker Summit, which can be driven, ridden or walked. It was a clear day so we were lucky to get 360 degree views of the countryside. This area has a long history of German settlers (check out Harndorf) that is evident in the cobble styled structures that dot the countryside and add bucket loads of rustic charm to the area.

Mount Barker Summit

Next stop, and my favourite of the day, was the winery Bird in Hand. You can read more about my experience at Bird in Hand here.

Following the stellar visit to The Bird in Hand, we dropped in at Melba Chocolate Factory; but more importantly we stopped in quickly to the Woodside Cheese Wrights and did a quick cheese tasting. And oh my, their cheeses were amazing! I managed to walk away with only 1 block, such great self-control right? It was the Monet Chevre (see below), which meant the chevre was topped with a bright array of edible organic flowers. Nearly too good to eat; but we managed.


Monet Chevre

On the way home we stopped quickly at the Green Valley strawberry farm and bought a punnet of freshly picked strawberries, easily the best I’ve ever had.

We had managed to cram all of this into a ½ day without feeling like we were pressured or exhausted and not too sleepy considering the wine I enjoyed so much. This was just a tiny portion of the Adelaide Hills, there are so many more places to see and I cant wait to come back!

Bird in Hand Winery and Cellardoor

During my quick visit to Adelaide Hills I was lucky enough to stop over at Bird in Hand winery and cellardoor.

Having sampled a bottle of their Rose the day before, I was fairly eager to check out their cellardoor and the estate and Bird in Hand excelled my expectations. Green vines greeted us surrounded by rolling green hills; perched on top was a stunning sandstone building and bright blue silos behind, you really couldn’t miss it. I later learned that the site was once a dairy farm, many of the original structures remain and have been transformed to house different areas of the winery including the two big blue silos which were once used as grain storage for the cattle.

There were only another two devotees sampling at the cellardoor when we arrived, benefits of visiting mid week. The lady serving, Rachael, was lovely. She was knowledgeable, polite and wasn’t averse to cracking a few funnies throughout the visit. There were 21 different wines to taste, more if you paid for the premium range, and with Rachael fuelling my wino tendencies, I managed to get through the majority of the wines on offer in the hour we were there.

I had a very memorable experience and cannot recommend it enough. So if ever you’re in the area, Bird in Hand should not be missed!

My ratings for the winery:
Service: 5/5
Wine: 5/5
Estate and grounds: 5/5
Overall Experience: 5/5 – great winery, will definitely frequent again!

General Information:
Charges for tastings: no charge for the 21 on their listing. If you want to taste the premium range (there are 3 levels and you get to taste the other 2 for free) there is a charge of $35
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 10am to 5pm, Weekends & Public Holidays: 11am to 5pm
My favourite wines: Pinot Noir Sparkling, Honeysuckle Riesling and Nero d’Avola
Address: Pfeiffer Rd, Woodside SA
Website: http://www.birdinhand.com.au/
Other amenities onsite: Lovely outdoors area where you can enjoy a glass of wine, a new restaurant / gallery and a functions area in the barrel room. They were setting up for a wedding when we were there.

Blue Silos

Blue Silos

Lamington National Park

On a Saturday we started out early to get to Lamington National Park. Once we reached Canungra, we headed up into the Mountains by way of a 36km, windy road that took about three quarters of an hour to drive through. The scenery was beautiful but the road was scary with the whole trip being blind hairpin turns all the way up.

Finally we reached the Green Mountain campground, situated next to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. Our campsite was situated right at the back of the campground in a hidden camping area for the Great Walk Hikers. We set up in a little alcove hidden behind some trees, very cute!

Lamington National Park has a number of walks. The first walking track we did was the Python Rock lookout, a short 3km walk passing through rainforest and eucalyptus with a platform at the end looking over the valley and Moran falls.

We then went the other direction and walked to Moran falls where the water has eroded the volcanic rock away and overtime became a waterfall. Both of these are beautiful and quite easy walks to do.

We then headed back to camp for some lunch, wine and R&R. Lunch and wine were lovely; however, for the next 2 hours the sky was filled with helicopters. They were bright yellow so we figured they were probably private transport to O’Reilly’s or tourists rides. Whatever they were they went on for hours and seriously killed my zen, to the point where I would probably not recommend camping here on the weekend if you’re there to relax.

We then had dinner, more wine and as you do when camping, headed to bed early. It got very cold quickly. It was quite windy during the night and the bush turkeys kept jumping on our table, which was irritating.

In the morning we had breaky and then packed up. We were going to do another short walk but due to my female navigational skills we drove out in the direction opposite to where we needed to go to do the walk so we decided to head home slowly.

We stopped off at a lama farm/shop/cafe. There were some cute Lama’s in the paddock. The gift show was nice but really expensive, but if you walk out the back of the shop to the cafe sit down area there is an amazing view of the mountains, definitely worth the stop just for that!

Further down we came across a winery, Sarabah Estate. The signs seemed to indicate you needed to book to see the vineyard, so we kept going. I later found information at the visitor’s centre, which indicated otherwise. We drove a little further and came to O’Reilly’s Vineyard; we stopped here while I did a tasting, $3 for 5 tastings and tried a lovely sparkling chambourcin. One thing I have found in QLD is that a lot of cellar doors charge for tastings. Usually it is refunded if you buy something but still quite irritating.

We then drove into Canungra for lunch. We checked out the historic Canungra Hotel and then had pie at the Outpost Cafe before heading home.