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If you’re anything like me, the closer you can stay to wineries the better when on holiday. Even if you live in the same city/state as a specific wine region, sometime’s it’s best to turn your winery touring into a weekend or getaway – even if it’s only for a night or two it can be a much-needed escape. Or should I say wine-escape!

I have had quite a number of people contacting me about where to stay in the Swan Valley, and having just stayed at another Swan Valley accommodation option recently, I thought it was about time I put this blog post together.

So if you’re looking for accommodation in the Swan Valley, here are your options:

Swan Valley Accommodation on a Vineyard: Upper Reach Winery Cottage

You may have seen a couple of years ago, Mr. Spittoon and I stayed overnight at the Upper Reach Winery cottage. We had an absolute ball and loved the cottage. We still talk about the time that we had our very own Swan Valley vineyard for the night!

The spa cottage is 2-bedrooms which makes it perfect for 2 couples or a family. It’s walking distance to the Upper Reach cellar door and Riverbrook Restaurant on the property. Alongside being within walking distance to a number of other cellar doors like John Kosovich, Harris Organic Wines, Mann and Entopia Wines.

For more information check out the Upper Reach website.

Address: 77 Memorial Avenue, Baskerville, WA 6056
Prices (approx): $580 for two people for two nights / $385 for two people for two nights

Click to view slideshow. Pandemonium Estate

This Spanish influenced Swan Valley vineyard is a fabulous winery to visit, let alone stay at! The lovely owners of Pandemonium Estate, Martin Buck and Loraine Donlevy have one of the best views in the Valley with the cellar door opening up to look out to the Perth hills across the vines.

The Bed & Breakfast on the property has 2 rooms both with a queen size bed, en-suite, air-con and vineyard views. There is also an alfresco area with a pool and outdoor kitchen that guests can enjoy. A continental brekkie is included in the price.

For more information and booking, please head over to the Pandemonium Estate website.

Address: 1050 Great Northern Hwy, Baskerville WA 6056
Prices (approx): $150 per night

Mandoon Estate – The Colony

This is probably one of the newer accommodation options in the Swan Valley. There are 32 rooms on the property which overlook Verdelho grapevines which were planted in 1895 and the Swan River.

On the Mandoon Estate property, you have Homestead Brewery and Wild Swan (fine-dining restaurant with degustation menus). There’s also the big lawn with outside bar as well as a playground for the kids.

I’d highly recommend signing up for their e-newsletter as in previous years they have had great outdoor movie sessions on the lawn. Therefore you could time your stay in with one of these.

For more information check out The Colony on Mandoon Estate’s website.

Address: 10 Harris Rd, Caversham WA 6055
Prices (approx): From $169 per night

Other Accommodation Options: Swan Valley Tourist Parks:
  • Discovery Parks Swan Valley

We recently stayed at the Swan Valley Discovery Park and were well impressed. As it was in the middle of our move from Perth to Victoria we had the cats with us, so we stayed in one of their pet-friendly studio cabins. It was clean, had great vineyard-inspired artwork and probably had the best shower I’ve ever experienced at a tourist park/campground. For $114 per night, it was a great deal.

Within walking distance, you have plenty of options including Pinelli Estate Wines & restaurant, Maison Saint-Honore, Ironbark Brewery and Funk Cider to name a few.

Alongside the cabins you can of course camp, check out the Discovery Parks website for more info.

Address: 91 Benara Rd, Caversham WA 6055
Prices (approx): From $89 per night

Click to view slideshow.
  • Swan Valley Tourist Park 

Compared to the above tourist park, this one is in the middle of the Swan Valley along West Swan Road (nearby wineries include Ugly Duckling Wines and Lancaster Wines alongside The Margaret River Chocolate Factory and one of my favourite gourmet shopping spots – Providore).

It’s run by Acclaim Holiday Parks.

Address: 6581 W Swan Rd, West Swan WA 6055)
Prices (approx): $150 per night

Chalets, Resorts, Hotels & B&Bs
  • Rose & Crown Hotel

The Rose & Crown Hotel is located in Guildford. It has a great pub/restaurant and is very close to everything you may need. It’s right at the start of the Swan Valley, so a great base if you are wanting to explore both Perth city and the Swan Valley.

Address: 105 Swan St, Guildford WA 6055
Prices (approx): From $150 per night

  • Swan Valley Oasis Resort

This is a great little hub to explore the Swan Valley from, you also have plenty to enjoy right on the resort grounds. This includes; mini golf, supa golf, laser corps, Mash Brewing and an Aboriginal art gallery.

Address: 10250 W Swan Rd, Henley Brook WA 6055
Prices (approx): From $130 per night

  • Novotel Swan Valley ‘The Vines’ Resort

If you’re after more of a big hotel equipped with golf course, mini golf, pool etc, then The Vines Resort would be a great option. It’s located right at the top of the Swan Valley.

Address: Verdelho Dr, The Vines WA 6069
Prices (approx): From $160 per night

There are a few more options which you can explore via the Swan Valley tourism website alongside via Airbnb.

Wherever you stay, I hope you have an amazing time and make sure you check out my Swan Valley Wine Region Guide for more inspiration.

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International Women’s Day (IWD) is being celebrated around the globe on the 8th of March. To celebrate, here at the TC headquarters we will no doubt be popping a few bottles, however, I also wanted to put together a blog post dedicated to all the women who work in the wine industry and also to all those lovely ladies who drink wine to support the industry (that’s most of us covered right?).

This is my way to say thank you for doing such an amazing job – you ladies bloody rock.

But firstly, let’s take a look at exactly what International Women’s Day is. As states on the IWD website:

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

It’s a day for women to celebrate themselves and others, but also for men to celebrate their female counterparts. And what better way to celebrate than with wine! Alongside following some of these awesome ladies in the wine industry who I love to follow:

1. Joanne Bradbury – 3 Drops Wine & Olive Oil

L-R: John Bradbury, Casey (TC) and Joanne Bradbury

Jo is a great friend of mine and she really is an amazing woman in the wine industry.

What she is doing with not only the 3 Drops brand but also for the effort and time she puts in to promote the Great Southern wine region and West Australian wine industry as a whole is admirable.

Jo is an incredibly friendly and wonderful person that you simply can’t help but want to sit down and have a vino or two with.

If you get the chance, make sure to try the 3 Drops Wine and Olive Oil, however, in the meantime I would definitely recommend following her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

2. Madeline Puckette – Wine Folly

Madeline Puckette

You may already know that I am a huge fangirl for Wine Folly. This wonderful woman in wine has taken wine blogging to a whole new level. She has books, online wine content on nearly every topic under the sun (or should I say vine?) not to mention plenty of infographics to make digesting wine education a heck of a lot easier.

I’ve really been enjoying interacting with Wine Folly on Twitter recently however you can also catch her on Instagram and Facebook too.

3. Rachel Niall – Budburst Wine Bar

Rachel Niall

Rachel knows her stuff when it comes to our favourite grape-tipple and she also has a brilliant sense of humour that’ll give you a good chuckle.

She is Perth based and alongside owning and running Mt Hawthorn wine bar – Budburst, she also offers wine consulting and buying services.

If you don’t already follow her on Instagram, do it stat!

4. Katherine & Caroline Brown – Brown Brothers

L-R: Katherine Brown, Casey (TC) and Caroline Brown

These two sisters in wine are doing some amazing things when it comes to the Brown Brothers brand. When I attended the Patricia 2017 launch in Perth they said they want to ‘create adventures in wine’ – especially when it comes to wine and food matching.

I can’t wait to visit the winery later this year, it’s been high on my bucket list for a while now and since I am now based in Victoria – well it would be rude not to!

Caroline is the Public Relations Manager for Brown Brothers and Katherine is the first female winemaker in the family. Make sure to follow these lovely ladies and the Brown Brothers brand on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

5. Cathy Howard – Whicher Ridge Wines

Cathy & Neil Howard

I met Cathy a good few years ago now and have a lot of respect and admiration for her. Cathy and her husband, Neil, own and operate Whicher Ridge Wines in Chapman Hill (WA’s Geographe wine region).

The Whicher Ridge cellar door should be on everyone’s wine travel bucket list – the wine sensory garden is something all wine lovers need to see with their own eyes. An absolutely gorgeous spot and Cathy is a wonderful host.

You can follow along Cathy and Whicher Ridge’s wine experiences on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

6. Anna Wallner – The Cava Lady

Anna Wallner

Anna from Sweden has an extreme thirst for the Spanish Sparkling wine – Cava. She has become one of the go-to experts on this Spanish fizz via her website and also books (printed in both English and Swedish).

She travels frequently to the Penedès which is the wine region where Cava is made (just out of Barcelona) however I love her posts from her home in Sweden. I have followed Anna for a number of years on social media now, from when you blogged about Cava whilst having a normal job, to having children and all the other bits and pieces you go through in life.

Follow Anna on Instagram and Facebook.

7. Anja Lewis – Canny Grapes

Anja Lewis – Canny Grapes

I first came across Anja when she was working at the Sandalford cellar door in the Swan Valley a number of years ago. Anja is now a leading wine educator in Perth with a very obvious passion for all things wine.

She has an absolute ball sharing her knowledge of the wine world with thirsty wine lovers and also has a very interesting history of working on private yachts in the Caribbean for a number of years.

Make sure you follow Anja and her wonderful small business – Canny Grapes, on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

8. Jen Pfeiffer – Rock it Like a Redhead Wines

Jen Pfeiffer Rock it Like a Redhead 2014 ‘The Rebel’ Sauvignon Blanc

Jen from Pfeiffer Wines in Victoria’s Rutherglen region makes a range of wines specifically for the folks at Naked Wines call Rock it Like a Redhead. She is one awesome winemaker that is flying the flag for not only women winemakers but redheads all around the world.

In February this year she was announced as the 2018 Winemaker of the Year for Naked Wines – Go Jen!

Make sure to follow Jen’s Naked Wines adventures via Instagram.

Of course, there are plenty more absolutely wonderful women in wine, this is only a mere handful – however, my glass is empty and I need to go get a top up stat. Make sure on the 8th of March you raise a glass to all the wonderful women in wine!

PS: Let us know below which women in wine you’ll be cheers-ing for IWD….

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Today on the blog we welcome back Perth-based Naomi Fuller who recently contributed Ideas to Host Your Own DIY Wine Event. Naomi is a born and bred WA local from York who is an avid wine drinker and traveller.

Back in 2016, which seems too long ago now, I was invited to attend the wedding of a very good friend. My Australian friend was marrying an Italian in a small town called Brisighella, a Province of Ravenna in Italy.

I was only able to secure two weeks of annual leave for my trip so I knew I had to make the most of the trip, which meant I had to ensure I had a robust itinerary in place.

This article, will touch on the planning aspect of my trip, and more specifically how to include visits to a specific winery or wine region(s).

Wine Travel Research via Pinterest

Firstly, I love Pinterest for travel planning. If you’re unaware what Pinterest is, they describe themselves as “…a visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas.”

Think of Pinterest as an online version of a vision board, where you can pin articles and images of things you like and when you no longer need them, you can unpin them. I love how Pinterest has kept the terminology very similar to how you would use a conventional vision board.

So now that you have a general understanding of Pinterest, this is how I used it to help with my winery travel planning while in Italy.

As I was attending Italy for a wedding I knew that there were days already allocated to activities. As I hadn’t been to Europe before I started my search pretty wide. My initial searches were things like “Italy”, “Italy Holiday” and “Italy in Summer”.

Being a social network/search engine of topics, it meant that I had to weed through a lot of images that clicked off to interesting articles and some that weren’t so relevant to my holiday. From here I started to narrow down the type of searches which aligned to my holiday, such as “Italy in July”, “2 weeks in Italy” and “July Italian holiday itineraries”.

This was a great start and meant that as I saw articles I was interested in I was able to save them to my newly created Pinterest board, aptly named “Italy in July”. I was then able to come back at a later date and refer to the articles as I worked through my ideal holiday itinerary.

By using Pinterest I was able to find some great hacks from bloggers from around the world who had travelled to and who had enjoyed Italy. I was able to then fit in a day trip out to the Chianti region and found a cheap and cheerful tour operator called Fun in Tuscany: Tours for Every Taste, stayed a night at Fontanafredda Winery, which last year was crowned European winery of the year and my personal highlight of the trip (after the wedding of course) was visiting Prosecco Road.

An example of where Pinterest helped me was when I was attempting to find a tour operator in the Prosecco Region of Italy. The majority of tour operators left from Venice, however, I wanted to stay within the region itself, staying in Follina. My Pinterest search meant that I found a blog article about an American who travelled to Italy, who had the same issue as I was experiencing. A reader of her blog suggested a driver by the name of “Oriana” and her details can be found under the section “UPDATE FOR 2018: I’ve found a driver you can book with!” on the Indiana Jo Blog.

Wine Travel Planning with Google Drive

In the lead up to the trip, I had reached out to a friend who was based in London to see if she was free and willing to travel to Italy for a week. Who wouldn’t be, right? Fortunately, she was free and although I had already started somewhat planning for my trip, it was great to get her input on what we should and shouldn’t do along the way.

We straight away jumped onto Google Docs to share our ideas and to start planning our trip.

We used the following columns:

  • Date

  • Location

  • Itinerary

  • Accommodation

  • Transport

  • Comments

We started by plugging in the dates into our shared Google Word Document and dropping in our must do activities such as flights, car hire pick up and accommodation. We also included a section on the first page where we would write extra comments, such as Italian wine regions we wanted to visit ( for me it was important that we hit up as many wine regions as possible!) and things we had to do before we left for our holiday.

As we worked through our travel itinerary, we assigned each other a colour for the comments so we could ask questions and respond easily such as who would buy tickets or who would do the research to find out more information.

The additional benefit of using Google Docs, is you can easily share your itinerary with anyone who has an email address. I shared the link with my immediate family so they knew my plans and as I updated my plans, they were well aware of what I was up to.

So now that you have read my travel hacks to plan a trip which included Italian wineries, do you have any other pre-travel hacks to share?

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This news may shatter a few wine glasses around Western Australia. But believe me, it was not an easy decision to make. If you could see my red puffy eyes and runny nose right now, you’d realise just how hard it was to leave Perth and all of its tasty wine.

As most of you know, I have done a bit of travelling since setting out from New Zealand over 12 years ago. Heck, this blog has ‘travelling’ in the name after all. After 6 years of sipping my way around the WA wine scene, it has come to an end. And this my friends is my farewell letter to Perth.

To be honest, everything happened very quickly. My beloved Mr Spittoon was offered a job in country Victoria and we simply couldn’t say no. The Victorian lifestyle came with no more FIFO living, less stress and also being that little bit closer to family and friends back in New Zealand was very enticing.

Click to view slideshow.

Despite having lived in Dubai for 4 years (aka no vineyards as far as the eye can see), after living in Perth’s Swan Valley, I need to be close to wineries to survive. I am happy to let you all know that the closest winery to our new home is only a 15-minute drive. From here on out, we will be based in Gippsland (east of Melbourne) and I am very much looking forward to exploring the 600+ cellar doors in the state (I wonder if I can do them all – I do love a challenge!).

The blog will, of course, continue on, there may just be a bit more VIC wine involved. Western Australian wine will of course still be featured and I will be keeping up with what’s going on over there. In fact, I have a couple of fellow wino’s on the ground in Perth who’ll be writing guest posts for me here and there. Plus I will still be keeping in touch with my friends from CMS Events to give tickets away to wine festivals like Sunset Wine, City Wine and UnWined Subiaco.

Other than the blog (which alas is only a hobby I do for fun), I have another exciting new adventure ahead of me. Not only did I leave our beloved home in the Swan Valley and all our friends but I also left my day-job which really took my career to the next level. For most of the time I was in Perth, I worked at a boutique search marketing agency in Burswood where I was the Search Marketing Director, looking after a team of Search Marketing Managers alongside looking after a portfolio of clients.

It was very hard to leave and I knew the day I left, that it wouldn’t be easy to find another company with similar values and standards when it came to offering SEO and AdWords services. Therefore I have decided to freelance from our home in Sale, Victoria! 

I am currently in the process of setting up a small business to offer my SEO, Google Ads and online content services across Australia and New Zealand. Obviously, my speciality is the wine and food industry, however, having worked across all types of industries over the last 4 years (everything from locksmiths to patio builders and even a skydiving company) – my main aim will be to help small businesses grow their digital presence by helping their customers find them through Google.

So if you want to keep updated on my ‘working nine to wine‘ adventure, hit the button below and subscribe to Grand Cru Digital’s mailing list – website coming soon!

This post is not a goodbye but see you soon Perth. To help celebrate WA wine and to show that the wines of Western Australia having a big place in my heart (and wine glass), this month for #thetcwineclub I have picked 3 WA wines to help share the love. I will be enjoying these 3 bottles from my new home in Victoria and no doubt will be shedding a few tears while doing so.

It’s on that note that I want to take the opportunity to thank you WA. To everyone who reads this blogs and follows me on social media – T H A N K Y O U! Our passion and devotion to wine is undeniable and it’s this awesome online wine-loving community that motivates me to continue to blog. 

To all the winemakers, winery owners, sales reps and wine companies I have dealt with over the last 6 years, it’s been an absolute pleasure and I hope we can continue to collaborate. Through this blog, I have been so lucky to meet some amazing people and attend many wonderful events – it really has been 6 years that will go down in Travelling Corkscrew history as some of the best!

I’m not going to drag this out, as I think we all need a glass of wine by this point. However, I just wanted to let you all know what’s happening with the Travelling Corkscrew and to say thank you Perth, bottoms up!

PS: Here’s a tiny selection of the wonderful WA wine memories I’m taking away with me…

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I have to admit, I am a bit of a Prosecco fiend. It’s affordable, easy-drinking and it’s food friendly. I will also admit that I do have a jumper which says ‘Prosecco Made Me Do It’ and I am in the Top Ten in Australia for reviewing Prosecco on the wine app – Vivino. So this post has really been a long time coming.

The aim of this post is to share my knowledge on Prosecco so that you can understand better what’s in your glass. And hey, who knows this information may come in handy at:

  • Quiz nights
  • Filling awkward silences on a Tinder date
  • Or simply to broaden your wine knowledge…. to name a few.

In order to get through this post you will need:

  • A bottle of Prosecco
  • A glass

Now fill the said glass up and continue reading wine lovers…

(If you need help with deciding what Prosecco to drink while reading this post, please quickly skip to the bottom of the post for some tasting notes).

What is Prosecco?

Prosecco is a sparkling wine made from the Glera grape (this grape variety has also been known by the name ‘Prosecco’ in the past).

This sparkling white wine originated in the Veneto wine region in north-east Italy, however, you’ll now find Prosecco made around the world, including here in Australia. The King Valley in Victoria produces a lot of Aussie Prosecco.

There’s much debate in the wine world that the name ‘Prosecco’ should be reserved only for Italian Prosecco, just like the words Champagne and Port. Leave a comment below as to your thoughts on this.

Are Prosecco & Champagne the same thing?

No. Prosecco and Champagne are completely different products. And remember, the name ‘Champagne’ is reserved only for bubbles that are made in the Champagne region in France and adhere’s to certain regulations.

So what’s the difference between the two other than where they’re made?

  • Different grape varieties
  • Different wine-making methods
  • Prosecco is considerably cheaper typically
  • Different taste profiles (Prosecco is typically full of apple, pear, melon, and cream while Champagne is more on the nutty, citrusy, toasty and peachy side of things)

What is the price of Prosecco?

As mentioned above, Prosecco is typically cheaper than Champagne. You can buy Prosecco for $10 a bottle upwards. Even the high-end Prosecco’s don’t go too crazy in price. If you’re spending $30-40 on a bottle, then it should be near the higher end in terms of quality.

DOC or DOCG Prosecco?

If you see DOC or DOCG on a bottle of Italian wine, then you should know that these are quality classifications. DOCG is the top classification in the country followed by DOC and after that you also get IGT.

For your reference, DOCG stands for:

Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin)

How many calories in Prosecco?

Typically you’ll find Prosecco is slightly on the sweeter side compared to the highly compared (yet it should never be compared) Champagne – so Prosecco has slightly more calories. Livestrong says that in a 148ml glass of Prosecco, you’re consuming roughly 108 calories. In the scheme of things, it’s actually not a bad choice if you’re watching your calories as for instance, a regular pint of beer is about 195 calories (yes a pint is more mls but less alcohol by volume).

What Prosecco cocktails are there?

Because Prosecco is so darn affordable, it doesn’t seem criminal to mix it with other ingredients to make up a cocktail. Some of the more noteworthy cocktails using Prosecco include:

There are a ton more Prosecco recipes that you can find via Google or perhaps check out Amy Zavatto’s seriously sparkling cocktail book – Prosecco Made Me Do It.

A post shared by Sophie Grant (@sophielgrant) on Feb 3, 2018 at 7:00am PST

Because Prosecco is so darn affordable, it doesn't seem criminal to mix it with other ingredients to make up a cocktail.Click To Tweet Prosecco Tasting Notes

As I’ve previously mentioned, I try my fair share of Prosecco. Here are some of my recent tasting notes:

Aldi Prosecco

I picked up this Corte Carista Prosecco DOC NV from ALDI Australia for $10. It comes from the home of Prosecco – Italy’s Veneto Region in the North of Italy. Quite frankly it’s great value for a quaffing bubbles. It’s a lemon-lime colour in the glass with relaxing skyward bubbles. The nose is full of fresh citrus, herbs and delicate flowers. While in the mouth it’s easy drinking, uncomplicated and very smashable with its pear and lemon flavours. For $10, you can’t complain! All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Wine is subjective & always evolving, so make sure you drink what you enjoy!

Matches well with boardgame day/night.

Freixenet Prosecco

When I received this sample, it stood out to me for two reasons:

1. Its unique and rather gorgeous bottle
2. It’s made by Freixenet which are a cava producer in Spain (you’ve probably seen the black bottle for $10 at some point) and this is an Italian Prosecco

Needless to say, the bottle didn’t last longer unopened. RRP $25 from Dan Murphy’s or BWS.

On the eye, it’s full of plentiful tiny bubbles and it has a real greeny tinge to the colour. The nose is fresh and fruity with crisp pears and lemon zest. There’s also a touch of florals in there to amp up the pretty factor. In the mouth, it’s smooth and easy drinking. Its fruitiness makes it highly approachable and food-friendly. All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Wine is subjective & always evolving, so make sure you drink what you enjoy!

Photo credit: Mr. Spittoon.

Matches well with love.

POPS Bellini Prosecco & Peach Ice Popsicle

Hello POPS Australia ‘Bellini’ Prosecco & Peach ice popsicle! You may have seen recently that I bought a range of Pops from the Thirsty Camel at the Claremont Hotel (4 for $15).

They’re made in Britain and are made using natural ingredients plus 29% Prosecco & 3.6% peach schnapps. There’s also hibiscus flowers and blood orange juice in the mix. At 56 calories a pop and 3.8% alcohol, you really can’t go wrong!

I really enjoyed the Bellini and it’s probably the one I’d reach for first out of the range. It’s highly refreshing with its peachiness and it has that lovely smooth texture all the Pops ice blocks have. Thoroughly enjoyable!

All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Wine is subjective & always evolving, so make sure you drink what you enjoy!

Matches well with hot days.

Sensi Prosecco DOC

I can’t help myself.. when I spot a Prosecco I haven’t tried, I just have to grab a bottle! I was (semi) hoping this Sensi Prosecco DOC had a bright green cap for my Wearing Memories ring – but it was blank, unfortunately. It’s a cheap & cheerful at $12 a bottle.

It’s a refreshing lemon/lime colour on the eye. The nose is fresh, lively and fruity. To be honest, it goes down darn easily – it’s uncomplicated, food-friendly and at $12, I ain’t complaining!

All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Wine is subjective & always evolving, so make sure you drink what you enjoy!

Matches well with nibbles and platters.

Brown Brothers Prosecco

You may or may not have noticed that I drink a bit of Prosecco. It’s highly affordable and so easy drinking that I tend to just grab a new one to try when I go to the shops each week. This Brown Brothers Winery dressed up Limited Edition bottle (designed in collaboration with the RMIT School of Fashion & Textiles) is made from King Valley grapes (Glera). It retails for approximately $20.

It’s a gently erupting straw colour in the glass. The nose is fruit forward yet it has an underlying floral perfume with a whiff of musk. In the mouth, it’s smooth, crisp, flavoursome (think pears, apples and lemon) and incredibly easy drinking.

All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Wine is subjective & always evolving, so make sure you drink what you enjoy!

Matches well with glitz and glam.

Box Grove Vineyard 2016 Prosecco

A few bottles of Prosecco have already been downed in my house this year. This one from Box Grove Vineyard Wines in Victoria I included in December’s #thetcwineclub box from The Wine Gallery. It’s made from the traditional Prosecco grape – Glera.

It’s a pale yellow colour in the glass with crisp apple, sliced pear, creamy peach and sweet florals on the nose. In the mouth it’s extremely refreshing and thirst quenching with plentiful peach and vibrant citrus flavours. Yumo!

All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Wine is subjective & always evolving, so make sure you drink what you enjoy!

Matches well with reading your favourite wine blog ;)

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Today on the blog we welcome Adam Nicholls the Director of Wine Compass who offer winery tours in the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. Adam shares with us 5 of his favourite small cellar doors in the Yarra Valley.

Compared to other wine regions in Victoria, the Yarra Valley has more of a reputation for large wineries with big bus tours. While you definitely find big, impersonal wineries, coaches full or tourists and dodgy looking party buses, there are a large number of small wineries as well.

Many of these have top quality wines matched with personal service and are a lot more fun and relaxed than fighting the crowds at the big boys. Below are a selection of our favourites, all very different, but all with top wines and fun vibes.

1. Pimpernel Vineyards

Voted by Wine Compass hosts as their favourite stop in the Yarra Valley, this really is a hidden gem. Often after experiencing all that the cellar door has to offer, guests are heard to exclaim “Why haven’t I heard of that place before?”

The experience at Pimpernel is one of our favourite in the Yarra Valley. Great for wine lovers and people with a bit more knowledge than average, it is also a good laugh with many good stories.

And then, of course, there is the exceptional wine. Here they are obsessed with French wines particularly the Burgundy and the Rhone Valley, even re-creating a small part of a Burgundy vineyard for their top shelf Pinot Noir. The range of wines includes Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, GSM and Muscat and are right up there with the best premium wines in the Yarra Valley in our opinion (and half the price of a Yarra Yering). A must visit.

2. Soumah of the Yarra Valley

While word has started to get out about Soumah over the last couple of years, it still remains a largely hidden gem. Just off the main drag tucked in behind much larger Rochford and Levantine Hill, this is like stepping into another wine region. Although I’ve never been there, it has been said that it is reminiscent of Tuscany.

Comprising a cellar door and restaurant, it’s a small and friendly space. The wines here are quite delicious and focus on Northern Italy and South Eastern France with some interesting varieties. The range includes Viognier, Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Brachetto (a sweet Italian style wine). There is also a new premium wine tasting experience which we are yet to try

The food is casual Italian style with some highlights being the charcuterie and antipasto boards, pizzas, pasta, grilled fish of the day and slow cooked lamb. The views from the restaurant rival the best in the Yarra Valley.

3. Yileena Park

Yileena Park is the passion project of Bob and Dianne, a retired real estate agent and his wife.  They built the cellar door about 12 years ago, but it feels like it is from much earlier last century. Very homely and quaint with a nice deck, it feels like you are doing the tasting in someone’s loungeroom.

Here they pride themselves on their reds but do a nice Chardonnay as well. They have an interesting point of difference where they only release their red wines after 4 years and their reserve range after 6. They often have people coming in specifically to try aged Yarra Valley wines as opposed to the latest vintage release on most cellar doors.

Another interesting reason to visit is their smoked goods. Instead of selling off their old oak barrels for flower pots, they use them to smoke a range of duck, lamb and kangaroo hams (ham is the process of brining and isn’t necessarily pork, you will learn), cheeses, nuts, oils and sauces which you can try with your tasting. They also have a couple of friendly donkeys and a great view.

4. Mandala and DiVino Ristorante

Mandala is a lovely winery and restaurant out in Dixons Creek, you will feel the Italian vibes here. The cellar door manager is Italian and the restaurant is run by an Italian couple who are passionate about preparing food from their homeland. Even recently taking a working holiday to find more inspiration for their ever-changing menu.

The wines here are quite lovely with a nice sparkling, some great pinot noirs and a lovely cabernet sauvignon, matched with a friendly cellar door experience and reasonably priced wines, it’s hard not to take few bottles home.

As mentioned earlier, DiVino Ristorante is all about the Italian food including a range of woodfired pizzas, pastas and risottos, but also an interesting range of entrees and mains that steer away from just your standard fare. A great place to have a tasting and long lunch.

5. Kellybrook

Kellybrook is another small cellar door with casual vibes, this is one of (if not) the closest one to Melbourne. Unpretentious and fun they also have a seriously good range to try.

In addition to their wines, they also make a range of famous ciders and beers. This is a great place for a group with varying tastes, with the wines deliciously drinkable, the ciders top-notch and the new range of beers really hitting the mark

If you’re after casual eats, they do local cheeseboards to match their beverages, which you can enjoy on the deck or in their stunning garden.

What’s your favourite Yarra Valley winery? Leave a comment below!
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Yesterday I headed along to Sunset Wine at Brighton Reserve in Scarborough. And I had an absolute ball!

I have always said out of UnWined, City Wine and Sunset Wine, that the Scarborough beach based wine festival is my least favourite. I am not entirely sure why, perhaps it’s because it’s a bit of a hike for me to get there. Something silly like that.

179 photos later, many glasses of wine, a few cocktails and some loaded fries – it’s safe to say, I had a bloody great day!

The good news is, that if you’re reading this today (Sunday 18th of February 2018) then you can head along today. Simply hit up the Wine & Food WA website for info. If you’ve missed out on 2018, then follow Wine & Food WA on social media for upcoming festival announcements.

Here are some of my highlights from the festival this year:

Harmans Estate – Wine & Pisco

If you haven’t yet come across Harmans Estate, then check out these guys stat. They were literally the first stand when you walked in the gates at Sunset Wine 2018. You’ll find the bubbly Bec and co on the stand who’ll take you through the wine range (the bubbles is always a favourite of mine and this year I really enjoyed the Verdelho!) and then you can try the Pisco (find out more about what exactly Pisco is here). Sunset Wine is the debut of their Negroni Pisco and it’s delish!

As per the typical Casey MO, I started my day out with Harmans and ended it with a number of Harmans cocktails (the Pisco Sour is always a favourite, however the Ginger Slushie was going down a treat with our gang of wine-lovers too).

Redgate Wines

Another Margaret River label and another very tasty spot. If you like chardonnay, you have to try their Reserve Chardy – it’s a stunner! It’s not every day you can try $60 chardonnay at a wine festival! Between the Chardonnay, bubbles and Chenin Blanc – I was in my element.

Flying Fish Cove

I feel a bit of a pattern going on here. Guess which wine I couldn’t get enough from at Flying Fish Cove? Yep the Reserve Chardonnay. It’s a beaut!


It’s always great to bump into Happs and try the latest from the range. The lovely Lara and Sue were on the stand to take us through the range. After having a wee taste we ended up heading back to Happs to buy a bottle of their PF Pink Rose to go with our dinner. This rose is preservative free (learn more about preservative free wines here) and the blend of varieties is top secret, however I hear there’s a splash of verdelho in the mix ;) It’s light, dry and elegant. Not to mention, incredibly easy to drink! You can read more about Happs PF Pink for $22 a bottle here.


Again, I seem to be following patterns. It was the Xanadu Exmoor 2017 Rose that caught my attention here. I loved the watermelon-y notes in the wine!


It’s always great bumping into Umamu, these guys produce some top notch wines. It was the 2005 Sparkling Chardonnay that had me swooning. It’s definitely an oldie that is probably peaking, but my oh my, if you like your bubbles with a bit of age, it’s a winner!

Summer Sparkling Bar

If you love bubbles, then a stop at the Summer Sparkling Bar is a must. At $8 a glass, you can’t go wrong. It was the Brave New Wine Pinot Noir Pet Nat that had me bubbling with joy. Mr. Spittoon couldn’t get enough of the Castelli Checkmate, which is an old favourite of ours.

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Choosing the best wine tasting trip around Margaret River just got easy thanks to Travel Writer Jennifer Morton…

For most visitors to the Margaret River region, hitting the cellar doors is high on their to-do list. And what better way to make the most of it than with an official wine tour.

There are upwards of 60 companies (including ones based in Perth) who offer sampling trips around the much-loved wine region. While it’s great to have so much choice, how is one to know which tour is best for their own needs and wants?

Everyone is different and while most tour companies cater to everyone, some do specialise. In this post, we’ve put together a guide to 10 Margaret River wine tours that will make choosing your big day out a lot easier.

Top Drop Tours

In 2016, Top Drop Tours were inducted into the Western Australia Tourism Awards Hall of Fame, which means that they’ve won multiple gongs for excellence. The directors, Chris and Kerry, were once tourists to the area who stayed to pursue their dream of becoming true-blue ambassadors of Margaret River wine.

  • The low-down: 3 wineries, 3 food providers (including chocolate), lunch
  • Great for: doers and dreamers
  • Half or full day: full
  • Departs from: Your Margaret River region accommodation
  • Prices from: $120 per person

Next level offer: Top Drop and Skydive Geronimo have joined forces to offer a day out that includes a wine and tandem skydive package. Could that be the best vacay day ever?

Margaret River Tours

Margaret River Tours have been in action for more than 20 years. As the originators of the region’s wine tours, they are experts of all things wine, food and Margaret River.

  • The low-down: up to 6 top-shelf wineries, gourmet lunch*, a gourmet share platter, chocolate and cheese tastings
  • Great for: lovers of the finer things
  • Half or full day: both
  • Departs from: Margaret River town
  • Prices from: $85 (half) $150 (full) per person
  • FYI: humorous commentary and divine snacks included

*full day only

Cellar d’Or

Cellar d’Or is owned and operated by Geoff Hard and Cherri Brown. As owner and driver, Geoff has the liberty to alter the day’s itinerary based on the passengers. With a focus on boutique cellar doors, this tour is big on personality and easy on your pocketbook.

  • The low-down: 4-6 wineries, breweries and/or distilleries; cheese and chocolate tastings, share platter lunch and a visit to Vasse Virgin (olive oil)
  • Great for: the spontaneous
  • Half or full day: full
  • Departs from: Your accommodation between Busselton and Margaret River town
  • Price from: $105 per person
  • FYI: max 14 passengers
Wine for Dudes

Wine for Dudes have been tour guides and designated drivers for wine and craft beer lovers since 2003. Owned and operated by Johnno and his crew of cool kids, these dudes are into keeping in real by visiting the best small, family-owned wineries while playing some kick-ass tunes along the way.

  • The low-down: 4 wineries, 2 food producers, 1 brewery, lunch and a wine blending demo
  • Great for: laid-back cruisers
  • Half or full day: full
  • Departs from: Your accommodation between Busselton and Margaret River town
  • Prices from: $115 per person
  • FYI: it’s not just for dudes, dudettes are most welcome
Cheers Winery Tours

On a Cheers Winery Tour, you don’t just drink wine, you learn about how it’s made. Their full day tour includes behind the scenes glimpses into the world of viticulture and wine making.

  • The low-down: winemaking 101, several cellar door visits, gourmet lunch* (with wine), chocolate, cheese, nougat and game meat sampling
  • Great for: the curious, active and hungry
  • Half or full day: both
  • Departs from: Accommodation within Margaret River region (full day only)
  • Prices from: $70 (half) $100 (full) per person
  • FYI: best value is the Full Bottle full-day tour

*full day only

Bushtucker River and Wine Tours

Bushtucker River and Wine Tours is an award-winning tour operator with more than 25 years’ experience as local guides. Their full day excursion combines wine, beer and unique eats for the best of food, drink and culture.

  • The low-down: 4 wineries, 1 brewery, 40 samples (drink and food), wild foods lunch, winemaking history and education
  • Great for: the adventurous
  • Half or full day: full
  • Departs from: Dunsborough, Busselton and Margaret River town
  • Price from: $110 per person
  • FYI: your chance to eat bush grubs
McLeod Tours

The McLeod family history dates back to the 1800s so it’s fair to say, they’ve got roots here. A wine tour with McLeod Tours offers extensive knowledge of the vineyards and they feature something a little different: wine tasting straight from the barrel*.

  • The low-down: 4 wineries, 1 brewery; coffee, chocolate, cheese and olive oil tastings
  • Great for: everyone, including families
  • Half or full day: both
  • Departs from: Within 10kms of Margaret River town, Prevelly and Gnarabup*
  • Price from: $99 (half) $115 (full)per person
  • FYI: starts with coffee at Yahava Koffeeworks

*full day only

Taste the South

If you’re travelling with kids,Taste the South has the tour for you. Their Hits with the Kids tour includes animal excursions, lunch and of course, wine and beer stops for the mums and dads. It’s a win-win day.

  • The low-down: 4 visits to kid-friendly wineries and breweries, 1 animal-themed farm or park, lunch, 1 sweet stop (chocolate factory or ice creamery)
  • Great for: families with young children
  • Half or full day: full
  • Departs from: Your accommodation within the Margaret River region
  • Prices from: $125 per adult $75 per child (2-12 years)
  • Next level tip: bring your child’s car seat
Grape Escape South West

The crew at Grape Escape know that a dog is part of the family. That’s why they offer a private Pawesome wine tour that welcomes your fur-baby to tag along.

  • The low-down: a custom itinerary to dog-friendly wineries
  • Great for: humans travelling with dogs
  • Half or full day: full (5 hours)
  • Departs from: accommodation between Busselton and Augusta
  • Price from: $375 for 1-3 people
  • Next level tip: ask them about pet-friendly hang-outs and accommodation

We hope this Margaret River wine tour guide has inspired you to book a day exploring this famous and fabulous wine region of Western Australia. All tours include complimentary wine tastings. Cheers, and you’re welcome.

Author Bio: Jennifer Morton is a travel writer, content producer and photographer. The Canadian expat has lived all over Canada, New Zealand and Australia. She’s even spent 6 months working aboard a cruise ship in Europe. When she’s not writing about travel, you may find her lounging on the beach, hanging out with her son, reading a book or zooming in on a beautiful scene. She’s also likely to be boarding an airplane… or jumping out of one.

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I think it has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Two years ago I suggested we change the USA’s National Drink Wine Day to Global Drink Wine Day (GDWD). It just feels like it should be an occasion for everyone, anywhere in the world to raise a glass and cheers our favourite bevvy.

The awesome thing is, 2 years later, a lot of awesome people have picked up. There are a number of wineries and brands who are getting into the spirit of the day and celebrating in their own wine-y way.

Join the 2018 Facebook Drink Wine Day Event Group here >>

So the question is, how will you be celebrating on Sunday 18th of February 2018?

Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:

Picnic & Wine at The Cheese Barrel (Perth)

Wine tasting, cheese platters and music on the lawn – is that not the best way to enjoy a Sunday afternoon? The Cheese Barrel and Olive Farm Wines in the Swan Valley are holding this event – you can find out more info here.

Order Some Tote Wine

Last year I tried wine in a pouch. Aka Tote Wines. It’s the modern-day goon that carriers 1.5 litres, chills in 15 minutes, stays fresh for up to 4 weeks after opening and is only $25. I was suitably impressed with their rose and so was Mr Spittoon!

To celebrate GDWD 2018 Tote Wines are offering a 15% discount code “GLOBAL15” for the day. This can be applied to their entire premium range

Sunset Wine Festival (Perth)

Have you been to a Sunset Wine Festival in Scarborough yet? I went along last year to Sunset Wine and had an absolute ball! And how convenient is it that in 2018 the festival falls over GDWD – it’s an omen! For more information and tickets, check out the Wine & Food WA website.

Host Your Own DIY Wine Event

Thanks to my lovely friend Naomi, she recently wrote up a guest post on different ideas for hosting your own wine party at home. I love the quiz night and high tea ideas – check out more here.

Puppies and Pinot (Melbourne)

If you’re up for some GDWD eve celebrations, then this sounds like an awesome event! Vinomofo is partnering with the Ascot Lot and Gumtree Greys to put together a day full of wine, dog-friendly Pinot Noir, pup treats and food trucks. There’ll be puppy swag bags and WINESCREAM available with all proceeds going towards Gumtree Greys, a local greyhound rescue group that fosters and re-homes beautiful greyhounds in need. More info can be found here.

Make sure to share with us on social media how you celebrate GDWD by using the official hashtag #GlobalDrinkWineDay
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Hi, I’m Naomi, a good friend of the Travelling Corkscrew and fellow enjoyer of all wines.

I have been teasing the Travelling Corkscrew that I would contribute to the blog and until now, I just hadn’t got around to it. However, it was after a recent wine and food night with friends and a discussion with the Travelling Corkscrew about a DIY high tea party that I became inspired.

I begun thinking about all the nights (and there have been quite a few!) I have spent drinking at home with friends or at friends homes and how we have consumed or themed our days or nights together. I love a good get together and if I can spin it in a way to get friends and family excited to join me, then its got to be a good thing!

So here are a few of my suggestions to host your own DIY wine day or night.

Host a wine and food pairing night from around the world

I recently attended a Spanish themed wine and food night hosted by a couple and attended by about 10 friends. The host made a range of Spanish dishes including an entrée, mains and even dessert and invited guests to bring along a bottle of wine to share which was produced in Spain.

I took along three bottles as I couldn’t decide on only one bottle of wine. These included a bottle of Segura Viudas Heredad Reserva Brut Cava, a bottle of Albarino Pazo Barraantes and a bottle of Marques de Murrieta Reserva Tempranillo Blend. As there were about 10 of us, there was plenty of wine to shared and new varieties to try.

Everyone appeared to really enjoy themselves and the next event was already in planning come the end of the night which is looking likely to be an Italian theme.

Host a high tea

The Travelling Corkscrew and I have been talking of attending a high tea together for some time, however as we both enjoy our wine, the thought of having to stop drinking after two or so hours isn’t really our cup of tea. So we started talking about hosting our very own high tea.

There are so many benefits to hosting your own high tea including:

  • You can choose your choice of drink – be it champagne, sparkling wine or another variety, you choose what you like to drink, or if you would like to be adventurous and try something different.
  • Keep to your budget – Spend as much or as little as you like.
  • Decorations – If you’re saving on the cost of wine and food, why not look to create a theme and decorate.
  • Choose the food you like – I don’t have such a sweet tooth, so I’ll be buying more cheese and crackers.
Host a DIY wine making project event

Do you have a Mr. Spittoon in your life? Luckily for the Travelling Corkscrew, Mr Spittoon has up-cycled a number of wine items, some easier than others. The Travelling Corkscrew even created her own Christmas Wreath!

Personally I’m not too crafty, however after a little bit of research, the following seem easy enough, even for me to make. All you need is the right craft materials to get you started such as old wine bottles, corks or wine caps.

Some suggestions of wine inspired craft ideas include:

  • Cork coasters
  • Wine bottle lighting
  • Wine bottle signs – use chalk paint or wine glass pens to decorate
  • Flower vases
  • Cork magnets that contain cactuses inside
  • Cork bath mat

I highly recommend checking out Pinterest for many wine craft ideas.

Host a Wine Inspired Quiz Night

Do you want to improve your knowledge about wine and test others at the same time? Then why not host a quiz night at home?

If you’re not too confident about your wine knowledge or the type of questions to ask, then why not tailor the quiz questions to reference wine within songs, movies or test your wine geography skills.

Still not sure where to get started? Then test your knowledge with this question:

Which wine takes its name from the unpolluted waters of the river beside which it grows?

If you think you know the answer, comment below. The first to comment and get it right will win epic bragging rights ;)

Wine cocktail night

A wine cocktail night is another great way to experiment with wine and your favourite flavours. Frose is again expected to be a big hit in 2018 and with the popularity of Prosecco getting bigger and bigger, Mimosas are a great wine cocktail to add to the menu.

There are so many websites that offer suggestions for fantastic wine cocktails, or why not buy a bunch of different ingredients and invite your guests to experiment or to show off their expertise?

Another option is to invite your guests to bring the ingredients to make their ‘special’ cocktail. At the end of the night you can all vote for your favourite and award a prize, or perhaps the winner must host the next cocktail night.

Cheese and wine tasting

There is just something about a cheese and wine combination that whets my appetite! I love a good cheese board, matched with meats, olives, crackers and dip. I’m getting hungry just writing this!

If you’re budget conscious, why not invite guests to bring a cheese and a bottle of wine each to make up the platter.

I have recently noticed that my local IGA has tasting notes for unfamiliar cheeses, which takes the guesswork out of what you’re buying, while some Coles stores now offer cheese and wine matchings.

Alternatively, there are many cheese specialty stores in Perth such as The Little Cheese Shop in Bayswater and The Cheese Barrel in the Swan Valley (who are conveniently next door to Olive Farm wines).

If you have the budget but no time, why not contact one of the many grazing table companies based in Perth. They can provide tables, chairs, cushions and platters to share. Check out Instagram for some inspo.

Host a Wine Wednesday night

Do you follow the Travelling Corkscrew on a Wednesday night? If you do, you would have noticed that she does a shout out every Wednesday to see what you’re drinking on Facebook. Why not enjoy the fun and host your own Wine Wednesday and do a shoutout back to the Travelling Corkscrew?

Host your own global wine drinking day or night

Have you seen the recently updated Wine calendar for 2018?

With days like “Global Drink Wine Day”, “National Rose Day” and “Champagne Day”, you have many excuses to get friends around to try a tipple or two.

The best part is, there are so many different wine days that you now have the perfect excuse to try a new wine variety or to pull out an old favourite.

At the end of the day, you don’t need to go to all the effort listed above. Inviting a few friends or family around to share in some wine is a great idea in itself.

Wine is meant to be enjoyed and since we’re talking about, I think I might just do that right now.

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