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Learn to grow grapes and make your own wine

The resurrection… of brandy, whisky, vodka and beer

Can it really be Easter already? I have only just put away my Santa hat and elf slippers! Early as it is, I am grateful for the opportunity to reunite with family so soon after Christmas  and to take a breather before facing the rest of the year. In my family, it...

Autumn Comforts

It is easy to miss the sublime divinity of Autumn. Amid our busy lives we tend to notice our surroundings only when they make us uncomfortable. Summer and Winter, like overconfident friends, shamelessly attract our consideration with their extreme personalities, while...

Fresh from Torbreck

Shortly after posting my last blog, I packed my bag, grabbed my notepad and boarded a plane bound for the beautiful Barossa Valley. I was fortunate to have received an invitation to visit Torbreck Vintners where I was to be immersed in a whirlwind of masterclasses,...

November through Rosé coloured glasses

Rosé. What images does that word conjure up for you? For many it’s a bad seventies dinner suit, a distinctive round Portuguese shaped bottle and a lucky lady ready to be romanced… Oh yes, Rosé still seems to be tainted with memories of wines such as ‘Mateus’ and, if...

My ideas for easy Christmas drinking 2013

Ahhhh, December. Christmas may be the time for wishing peace on earth, but there’s no time for a moments peace in the hospitality business (or for anyone else; present buying, party going and feast preparing are usually not optional). We wouldn’t have it any other...

My Summer and Winter of Riesling

As we hit the height of Perth Summer let me transport you for a moment to the cold streets of a New York Winter, the city I travelled to but a few weeks ago. (The temperature hovered around freezing point – small piece of advice, don’t take your gloves off to eat your...

A Whiskey Valentine

My first and truest love will always be wine – we share a perfect marriage that’s worth celebrating every day. But some of you may know I have a little thing on the side with whiskey, until recently strictly single malt. Bourbon never really caught my eye, but I’ve...

Verona, the Barolos and the war cry of Burgundy

Many people aim to ‘eat and drink’ their way through Europe. I was no exception on my 2013 trip to France and Italy, but I feel sure I outdid most regular travellers in the drinking department – tastings only of course! Travelling in France and Italy in March and...

A revealing vintage at Laughing Jack Winery

It might seem surprising that I’ve never been involved in the production of a vintage before last week. Despite this, I did like to think I knew a thing or two about wine-making and the processes involved. And I did, theoretically, because I’ve listened to so many...

Surprising countries making a splash in wine’s new world order

When you can walk into a small, hip, Perth wine bar and order a Greek wine by the glass – and it’s good – you know that things have been changing in both the international and local wine scenes. Greece has been producing wine for thousands of years, of course, but...

There’s something about Sherry…

If you follow my blog, you’ll know I love making sure that all types of wine get the attention they deserve. Not every style of wine is a crowd-pleaser, but each has its pleasures and its enthusiasts. Sherry is one of those wines that keeps a low profile, perhaps...

The Secret Cellar Winter Favourites

As Winter sets in, Perth’s clear sunny days and arctic nights are building our appetites for warm, comforting food and wine. For me, this means loading the slow cooker up each night and waking to the aromas of lamb shanks, beef cheeks, ragu… you name it, I’m probably...

Learning to love aged wine

It was Monday the 11th of July 1994, twenty years ago tomorrow. I was what is now strangely called a ‘tween’. I know it was my brother’s birthday but I can’t remember much else about the day our family first opened the doors of La Vigna. What I now know is that very...

Four essential elements for creating a cellar

Once upon a time, before anyone had even dreamed up ‘My House Rules’, a pool was the ultimate luxury home feature; an outdoor spa ran a close second and a water bed perhaps completed the set. Home theatres hit the big time a decade ago. Outdoor kitchens are so last...

How to build an exciting wine collection

So, you’ve created your perfect cellar. Now you must begin creating your life’s work by filling it! Many people start collecting wine seriously when they’re in their thirties or forties, in order to reap the rewards of aged wine in their sixties.  I began as soon as I...

Wine Show Secrets

I’ve been involved in various WA wine shows since 2008, occasionally acting as a judge or associate judge. Last week I had the honour of being invited to fill in as an associate wine judge at the Perth Royal Wine Show.  I don’t like to brag, but I did judge my way...

Fruitful Spring drinking

A quick word association. SPRING. For most people: flowers, t-shirt weather, baby animals, hayfever. For me: Pinot Gris, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Gamay… I could go on. Of course I love the other hallmarks of Spring as much as anyone – I can’t walk past a...

The wine lovers guide to… beer

If you’re a wine lover like me, you probably only drink beer occasionally – for me that usually means the odd Pilsner and fries! And if you read this blog regularly you’ll know that I also love to push my reader’s boundaries by encouraging the exploration of lesser...