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BERLIN, BERLIN – WHAT A HAPPENING TOWN

Plane food and average wine was the start of my 26 hour long haul to Germany. Surely we can’t be far off being put into stasis for long haul travel! Just saying, it seems so much better. But then again, when would I catch up on a truck load of movies that I never got to see in my real life! My average travel experience did a complete 180 once I landed in Berlin and Dr Frank Kautter (our distributor in Germany) met Trevor and I at the airport. Frank lifted the bar straight away with a fantastic dinner in the beating heart of this hip city – so full of culture and beauty. Day two and we were straight into tastings and appointments which…

THE BERLIN MUSE MASTERPIECE

Saturday was the first of our two German wine dinners this trip. We travelled to the former East Berlin and Frank guided us through what was once a very different East Berlin. It is very easy to forget that the wall which surrounded this part of Berlin only came down in November 1989. We arrived at the home of Muse Restaurant owner (as the restaurant renovations had not been finished in time). In true German ingenuity, Tobias catered for 45 people in his apartment in a nod to their old days of hosting top quality supper clubs in their homes! And he executed it with flare and finesse. Canapes followed by 5 courses matched to our wines, including good old Aussie lamb to match one…

MICHELIN STARS IN FELLBACH

Sunday is a day of rest in many parts of the world and the good people of Berlin really take this on board. No shops open and while out for a quick morning run at 8.00am there was not a soul was around. Monday found us back at the airport and off to Stuttgart and the home of Mercedes, Porsche and Bosch, to name a few of the big companies in this town. Business meetings here are right up my alley. Outside in the sunshine while sipping on the local wine Trollinger. Then it was on to Fellbach and the Michelin Starred Goldberg Restaurant and Wine Lounge for our second German Brockenchack wine dinner. Trev and I were treated like royalty by the 40 guests as they…

WINE TIME IN THE RHEINGAU

The day after the night before, but no time to linger… It was a quick breakfast, car packed and we were off to the Rheingau, Germany’s premium wine region. You didn’t think I would just work the whole time did you! We did a quick run north of Stuttgart on the Autobahn and clocking over 210kms an hour in our rental Ford station wagon… every soccer mum’s dream! Our first winery visit was to Schloss Johannisberg – the oldest Riesling vineyard in the world. Its historical documents note the first mention of its vineyards back in the year 817! But it was in the 1700’s that the entire vineyard was planted out with only Riesling – the first instance of its kind. This was Trev’s…

3 DAYS IN SHANGHAI, CHINA

Shine bright like a diamond they say… well everything was certainly shining brightly as I flew into Shanghai International Airport. Arriving in the wee hours of Tuesday morning (3.00am) on the 20th September, I had time to explore before my representative and interpreter picked me up mid afternoon for the event. The hustle and bustle of this city is a little overwhelming for this small town wine merchant. There was an endless stream of people, on foot, on motorbikes, in cars, buses and trains. Yet for a city with 24 million people in it you can feel very alone as English is not a very common language. The glowing lights of the city that is divided by the famous Huanpu River was the perfect back drop…

NZ: FELTON ROAD FEVER

Trevor arrived a day ahead of me, so he and Megan took a drive through Central Otago wine country to Bannockburn. First grabbed some lunch in lovely Arrowtown and low and behold, who should they run into but some of our top premium members Gerry & Anne Turner! Small world. Trev and Megan headed on for their pre-arranged appointment at Felton Road – Trevor’s all time favourite Pinot Noir producer. He was as happy as the proverbial pig in mud! Bucket list…. check. Interestingly they noted that our Brockenchack Charli Jaye Chardonnay is equally as lovley as the beautiful Felton Road Block Chardonnays. (#winning)  

NZ: PARADISE FOUND IN QUEENSTOWN!

My turn to fly into Queenstown… I’d never been here before and what a truly magnificent spectacle. Flying into this tiny South Island town is a memory I will not forget. Snow-capped mountains on both sides of the plane, guiding you like open arms straight to New Zealand’s eco-playground. Trev and Megan met me at the airport and we went straight into work mode, an itinerary was handed around and then a quick drive to the lakefront Novotel Queenstown, check in and then first appointment and dinnner at the Botswana Butchery, upstairs in a private dining room, right by the glass walled cellar filled with bottles of Grange among other things. Ahh, familiar sights. What a sublime setting, great food and a very stacked wine…

NZ: QUEENSTOWN CALLING

Early start today with our first appointment was at Eichardt’s Private Hotel, positioned looking directly down the Lake. You can just tell on walking in that this is an establishment of quality. They feature the most expensive accommodation in town with their Penthouse Suite being the ultimate in luxury. This historic landmark was established in the 1860’s during the region’s gold rush. Queenstown was founded by a man named Gilbert Rees. This was his original homestead and woolshed, later turned into a hotel when gold was discovered here and people travelled from far and wide to try their luck at finding their fortune. It became Albert Eichardt’s in 1869 and has been trading as Eichardt’s ever since. Lauren, the Eichardt’s Bar Manager met with us…

NZ: GLENORCHY

Today was a special treat, unbeknownst to us. A 45 min drive along the lake towards Glenorchy and we arrive at the magnificent Blanket Bay Resort. This is not your normal resort. Established by the CEO of Levi jeans back in the 1970’s, this was pure luxury meets Grizzly Adams’ lodge. We were treated to a tour of this magnificent property and then put on a tasting of our wines for Food and Beverage manager Francois and his Sommelier. They needed very little persuasion to try these Eden Valley gems and were extremely impressed with our offering. Back into to town to meet with the Sommellier at Rata, a restaurant owned by one of New Zealand’s top chefs and Masterchef host, Josh Emett.  The Zip Line…

3 DAYS IN HONG KONG

24th – 26th MAY 2016 I was very proud to be a part of this stand and the representation of quality Australian wine. Australia really has a great reputation around the world of quality, honesty and integrity. This is thanks to the hard work and great ethics of the many Australian wineries and winemakers who have come before us and to our governing body Wine Australia, who work hard to ensure these high standards are maintained for Australia as a brand. We made some great contacts specialising in exporting and distribution across Asia, who loved our wines. We were the only winery on the stand to take along a large format 3 litre bottle of wine (which is what you can see me fooling around with…

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