Pierrepoint Wines

Andrew and Jenny are the kind of family hosts you expect from a little cellar door on a private property. They love what they do, though like most growers and makers, they question their own sanity. We didn’t have any further questions after sampling the wines, though. They’re all a perfect education in terroir – that fancy French word for the intangible combination of place, climate, season, and ‘vibe’ that makes wines taste the way they do. Regular music gigs held at the venue make it worth signing up to the newsletter.

These little places are why we leave the city for a long weekend.

Bridge Road Brewers

Bridge Road Brewers in Beechworth is one of those classic ‘Back Shed to Big-ish Business’ stories. Ben started brewing in his dad’s shed over a decade ago. Actually, there’s a lot of shed about the vibe at this Beechworth venue, and we love it. All of this is by-the-by, really, because the beer is awesome, and the food is casual and fun. It’s a great place to hang with a few friends making short work of a range of beers and pizzas. Tomato, taleggio, thyme, mushrooms and capers. These had a happy home on my pizza, washed down with a Bling India Pale. Delicious.

Tasting boards are a great way to try a few beers before committing to a whole pint or, if you’re like us, choosing which six-packs to take home. And if you like to get your beer-geek on, then every Saturday at 11am there’s a chance to tour the inner sanctum of the brewery with a tasting.

Buxton Trout and Salmon Farm

If you’re new to fishing, impatient, or really you’re just interested in a BBQ with fresh fish you caught yourself, then this place is ideal. The gear is supplied by the farm, you catch the fish, the friendly staff help you with the rest. Then, et voila, you have the freshest fish right there for your BBQ in the park-like surrounds of the farm.

There are several different areas of waterway on the farm, so if you’re impatient for lunch and just need fish now,  there’s a more densely populated pond where your plate-sized fish will volunteer fairly readily. If you’ve got more time and patience, and are happy to get a little more lost in the serenity, then there is a more challenging area with less fish for you too.

The BBQ area is substantial and well equipped, and the expansive grass area is perfect for throwing a rug down under a tree.

Tastes of Rutherglen: Wine, food, fun.

Words by Richard Cornish 
Images by Phoebe Powell

This Labour Day long weekend, head to Rutherglen and explore this beautiful 160-year-old wine region on the Murray River. Winemakers of Rutherglen are urging people to put this fun two-day event in their diary to help businesses that were affected by bushfire and smoke this summer. That said, the fires stayed well away from Rutherglen and recent heavy rains have cleared the smoke and brought a green tinge to the countryside. 

This celebration sees this much-respected and welcoming wine community open up their vineyards and wineries like never before. Eighteen wineries are taking part, offering behind the scenes vintage tours, wine masterclasses, art and wine tours, lakeside picnics, live music, food and wine matching masterclasses, even a morning vineyard yoga session at Scion. “We look forward to welcoming everyone with warm smiles on this special long weekend,” says Sally Brown from Scion. “It’s been a challenging summer for our region and your support will go a long way.”

Tastes of Rutherglen sees the wineries pouring their delicious wines for tasting as usual, so visitors can experience the ethereal Rieslings, powerful Durifs, full-bodied Shiraz and Rutherglen’s globally recognised fortified wines. Added to this, wineries are teaming up with local chefs who have created special dishes from regional produce to match back with the wines. At the castle-like All Saints Estate, you can try a plate of charcoal-grilled sardines with a crisp Riesling. Or you could be enjoying a plate of crisp local pork, cooked by award-winning chef Briony Bradford at Jones Winery & Vineyard with a glass of their Jimmy’s Block. Or perhaps sit by the river, watching the turtles at Pfeiffer Wines with a glass of Tempranillo and a plate of spicy lamb tagine. Meanwhile, at the historic cellars of DeBortoli Rutherglen Estate, they will be serving a rich chicken and pork terrine matched with Fiano, prepared by the chef of their award-winning restaurant Tuileries. All wineries are offering between two and four different food and wine matches. “Rutherglen is becoming recognised for the excellent food we serve alongside our wines,” says Mandy Jones of Jones Winery & Restaurant. “We really take pride in what we grow locally and we are fiercely proud to put that produce on the plate in our restaurants.”   

Running between the wineries all day Saturday and Sunday is a non-stop bus shuttle that also stops in the heart of Rutherglen. Book a room, leave the car and let someone else drive you around. There are also buses servicing the towns of the region from Beechworth to Albury to Wangaratta. 

Each day the wineries are offering rare insights into the culture and traditions, some seven generations old, behind the winemaking process. It could be a tour of Warrabilla Wines as they crush and ferment grapes to make their big bold reds, or an insight into the luscious fortified wines Rutherglen is synonymous with at Chambers Rosewood Winery, or even a sneak preview of the new exclusive range at Cofield Wines.

What you will understand when you come to Rutherglen is that this is not just a wine region; it is a wine community. It’s a place of mostly small family-owned wineries, some of them generations old, where you can still meet the winemakers and learn from them face to face.

That is what Rutherglen is about. On the Friday night before the big weekend drop by Scion just outside the Rutherglen township and kick back with cocktails and handmade wines with young winemaker Rowly Milhinch. (He makes a really delicate Durif in the French style). That same night Anton Thirkildsen from Valhalla Wines will be spinning discs from his vinyl collection and pouring wines from his collection.

While the festivities wrap up on Sunday afternoon, Rutherglen’s cellar doors will be open for business for more tasting and sales on Monday, Labour Day. Rutherglen is also home to some iconic pubs with sprawling verandahs, wine bars such as Thousand Pound, and the sensational pie shop Parker Pies. This is a dining destination with the award-winning restaurant at Jones Winery, The Terrace at All Saints Estate, Taste at Rutherglen a la carte restaurant as well as some exceptional atmospheric dining at the wineries throughout the year. With brilliant accommodation from farmstay to five stars, this long weekend is a great time to fall in love, or re-unite the romance with Rutherglen. 

#getbacktohighcountry


THE DETAILS:

WHAT: Tastes of Rutherglen
WHERE: Rutherglen
WHEN: 7th-8th March
MORE INFO & TICKETS: tastesofrutherglen.com.au

Gippsland gears up for Farm World 2020

Words by Penny Cordner 
Images supplied

PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH COVID-19, THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED

Gippsland is gearing up for its largest annual agricultural and lifestyle event of the year: Farm World. This four-day show (26-29 March), running at Lardner Park will have everything from DIY passions and agri-tech zones to an animal nursery, cooking demonstrations and live music. 

A haven for the farming community and anyone with a passion for the great outdoors, Farm World provides visitors with the opportunity to chat with experts in the field, learn all there is to know about farm animals, and purchase products directly from the makers and suppliers. 

Joanne Kingwill, Lardner Park – Marketing & Communications Manager says there are regular exhibitors who have attended every Farm World since inception (1963), plus new exhibitors that bring exciting additions to the event.   

Whether you are a farmer, hobbyist, city dweller or just a kid – there are exhibits and activations that will appeal to everyone, including state of the art tractors and farm machinery, plants and garden items, livestock, food and drink, clothing, cars and boats.

Lardner Park, 120 hectares of farmland only minutes from Warragul and Drouin and just over an hour from Melbourne CBD, welcomes more than 50,000 visitors through the gates over four days. Farmers travel from all over the country for the show, plus there are bus groups and day-trippers who make the annual pilgrimage.

Joanne says that this success is due to the fact that Farm World is ever-changing but retains the authenticity of a true field day. 

“Many exhibitors are thinking outside the box and making their stands engaging, innovative and with a huge focus on the entire customer experience,” she says. 

This year, Farmer Darryl will be returning with more than 100 animals for the whole family to meet and greet. Get up-close with sheep, lambs, goats, piglets, ducks, geese, hens and chickens, and listen to Darryl’s tales about Polly the Lorikeet and how she found her sparkle. Kids can join in with bottle feeding the calves, put their hand up to feed and brush some of the more cuddly animals or learn to walk an alpaca. 

Another favourite for many attendees, and Joanne’s personal highlight, is The Telstra Women in AG lunch (Thursday 26 March) – a celebration of women who are making real impacts in their businesses and communities. 

“It’s an afternoon for fabulous networking in a casual and charismatic environment over a delicious lunch and a glass of wine,” she says. 

Attendees will also have the chance to hear first-hand from three inspirational speakers: Frauke Bolten-Boshammer from Kimberley Fine Diamonds, Megan Williams from The Camel Milk Co. and Sophie Stewart from Got You Girl

On Saturday and Sunday only, the Events Centre will come alive as Farm World’s Market Place.  Here you can stock up on everything from honey products and vegan breakfast cereals to preserves, wooden chopping boards and native flowers. 

Home cooks or foodies should check out one of the live cooking demonstrations on the main stage and then wander to the exhibit from local Gippsland store, String + Salt – where there will be an enormous display of quality cookware and goods to peruse.  

And when it comes to fuel for the day, there will be more than enough to choose from. Sweet-tooths can enjoy donuts, milkshakes, coffee, meringues, cakes and chocolates, while those looking for something a little more substantial can pick from paella, pizza, dumplings, calamari and more. There will also be craft beers, gin, vodka, rum and wine on offer, to keep you going all day.

Looking for a challenge? Enter Farm World’s Fittest Farmer, which will take place in the Entertainment Arena on Sunday, or simply come along and watch as they battle it out for the title. 

#getbacktogippsland


THE DETAILS

PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH COVID-19, THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED

MORE INFO: http://lardnerpark.com.au/farm-world/

The Teller Collective

Next door to the Food Store (held by the same owners) is the more formal dining experience of the Teller Collective. It lives in a slick fit-out of polished timber and polished concrete. It’s still laid-back and comfortable, but the menu is refined and the food style carefully considered. Pretty dishes like the house-cured salmon with horseradish and Ras el hanout are delicate and stunning. Gin-cured snapper with blood plums melts in the mouth and shows off local stone fruit.

Speaking of local, “These figs came off my tree at home” – it doesn’t get much more local than that; the figs and whitlof are the heroes of a delicate salad also featuring Jamon.

The smashed pavlova and the rice pudding look spectacular: such that they surprise and delight, belying their simple names. The wine list is short but really well curated – a mix of very local and imported gems. 

Hogget Kitchen

When a chef and two winemakers conspire, it’s usually a good thing. It usually means food+wine=good. Hogget Kitchen is no different. In the winery, Bill Downie and Patrick O’Sullivan. You might recognise those Reg Mombassa labels Bill is famous for. In the kitchen, Trevor Perkins with brother Steve.

Trev is quietly spoken, passionate about food and provenance, but in a way that just gets the job done. No fanfare. Just, “Oh, I picked the tomatoes from Mum’s garden”, and “Yeah, we grew up cooking, hunting for meat, that sort of thing”,  and “Yeah, I built the hot smoker from scratch, to get one I liked.”

The food is a simple, beautiful, produce-driven style, not overly presented, and it’s all from around here. We had Trev’s mum’s heirloom tomato salad, (best tomatoes ever), flathead and Dobsons potatoes (perfect), Bresaola and radishes (sublime, cured in-house), and a simple little dish Trev called “Steak and chips.” OK, it was a steak and potato chips, but what you need to know is that the beef is dry-aged in the cabinet at the front of the open kitchen. It’s cooked carefully in the pan to get that golden crust on the outside and be gloriously soft and pink on the inside. It’s finished with Trev’s mum’s own Worcestershire sauce, and served with the crispiest golden potato chips ever.  O. M. G.

The Independent

We’d heard whisperings about The Independent since it opened. Carnivore friends had raved about the meat offerings. They were right, as it turned out, but what they failed to mention was the extraordinary vegan menu. We found this completely by accident after a particularly meat-heavy week. We were treated to one of the most extraordinary slow-cooked corn dishes we’ve ever tasted. It was slow cooked, but still had crunch. Chef Mauro Callegari is Argentinian, and proudly brings those flavours to his menu. The corn dish was a revelation in spices and flavours. Now, you’d never accuse us of being vegan, but that’s a menu I’d happily order from again.

Until the meat came out.

The lamb shoulder was generous to say the least. It was most of a lamb from the shoulder back, and came with some amazing carrots  that had Mauro’s Argentinian flare for spice. Broccoli, chilli, walnuts, and tahini dressing made for a stunning salad. Desserts were the kind you’d travel across the state for. It’s only an hour away though, so there’s no excuse not to get a little Independent love.

Go Direct – Grassroots Bushfire Relief Fundraisers

Words by Ruth Meighan 
Images supplied

I think it’s safe to say that all of us have been affected, either directly or indirectly, by the 2020 bushfires that are still burning. The silver lining in all this devastation is the incredible upswell of support from the Australian and international community.

It really does make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to see so many people, from all walks of life, dig deep into their pockets in order to help out those who have lost so much – including such great losses to wildlife.

However, questions have been raised in the media about how much of these funds actually reaches the intended target. It’s a touchy subject and not our role to dig too deep there; instead, we thought we would put together a list of grassroots fundraising activities that aim to support the affected communities directly.

Please email hello@ohomedia.com.au if you know of any others.

High Country Comeback
#notevenanhourout

So much of the prolific tourism trade of January was lost when the evacuation notices were given to the North East of Victoria. Visitors to the region had to cancel their holidays and locals had little to no income. High Country Comeback is an event that brings the food, drinks and fun of the High-Country to your doorstep!

On Sunday, Feb 2nd 2020, you can see all that the North East has to offer, with no need to pack the car and get a dog sitter! Head to The Timber Yard, Port Melbourne – Door entry is a donation to the NE Vic local CFA brigades and wildlife rescue organisations. 

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/high-country-comeback-tickets-91107518039

Gather Festival
#fourhoursout

Showcasing more than just music, Gather Festival (Feb 08 2020), embraces the “sweet life” of the high country, with a family-friendly vibe. Take your mountain bike and enjoy the trails before putting on your dancing shoes and revelling with some delicious ales! You’ll be supporting local musicians, the hospitality industry and boutique crafters.

Hosted by the fire-affected community of Mt. Beauty, come and soak in the beautiful surroundings whilst grooving along to the likes of Dallas Frasca, Sarah McLeod, Richard Perso and many more. Bring the kids, a picnic rug and support this beautiful little town. All profits will go to local emergency services. 

https://www.gatherfestival.com.au/

Art Aid Gippsland
#threehoursout

For a bit of culture whilst on your #roadtripforgood visit the Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale and view the Art Aid Gippsland exhibition (15th Feb – 15th March 2020). Numerous artists have donated works – over 500 in fact! These works will be auctioned at the conclusion of the exhibition. 

Entry is free with the auction taking place at 4pm of March 15th 2020 at The Wedge Performing Arts Centre. All funds raised will go to  Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF), supporting those who lost their homes in the devastating bushfires.

http://www.gippslandartgallery.com/exhibitions/

King River Brewing
#threehoursout

The day before having to evacuate, the brewers at King River Brewing had already added #thankscfa to their barcodes! Now that they are back in the brewhouse and making the most of what’s left of the summer trade, they are allocating 50% of profits from sales of their Summer Ale to the CFA Relief Fund.

Before you head off on your road trip, check out #beerforbushfirerelief to see who else is doing an ongoing fundraiser.

http://kingriverbrewing.com.au/

Hitch to the Sticks – Bushfire Benefit
#threehoursout

Superjesus Official, Dallas Frasca, Barry Morgan’s World of Organs! Does it get any better? Yes, it does…this family-friendly fest is setting out to raise lots of coin for Victorian Bushfire Appeal and Blaze Aid. 100% of profits from merch and donations on the day plus profits from the event. 

But wait, it keeps getting better – kids under 13 are free! If you’re quick enough you can even book the bus and stay overnight in the Mohyu locale – the gateway to the King Valley. This will be a day of celebration, and you can bask in the knowledge that you will be directly helping communities in need.

https://ahitchtothesticks.com/hitch-series/

Brighter Days
#threeandahalfhoursout

Since its inception 7 years ago, the Brighter Days Festival has always had community & family support at its heart. A 3-day event combining music, bikes & cars into a family friendly atmosphere.

Initially set up to give support to The Cooper Trewin Memorial (SUDC) Research Fund, DEBRA Foundation and The EB Research Foundation. Every year the foundation looks to give additional funds to those in need and 2020 will see them contributing to the CFA Ovens Valley Group of Brigades – you can support the local bushfire relief effort by purchasing a festival ticket, raffle ticket or merchandise.

https://www.brighterdays.org.au/

Shop 2 Support
#everywhere

A Facebook-based platform for fire-affected businesses to make their presence known. If you’re planning a holiday check out the numerous posts – you’ll find everything from online products to amazing accommodation deals.

The beauty of this platform is you get to directly support the people who are doing it the hardest, which then feeds back into the local community. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/S2SBFC/about/

It’s My Shout
#fourhoursout

At a time when East Gippsland should have been booming with tourists, the bushfires were tearing through the landscape. Leaving local business owners with not only the possible loss of their homes, but also their livelihoods. 

This is where #itsmyshout comes in. This online initiative creates a way to pay it forward to the many affected small businesses. Purchase a virtual item and know that your donation will go directly to the respective business. 

https://www.itsmyshout.com.au/

Spend With Them
#everywhere

It’s one thing to donate to a worthy cause, but many retail and produce companies are sitting on stock that they haven’t been able to move due to the bushfire emergency that hit Victoria in January. Inspired by #buyfromthebush a support network for drought-affected areas, “Spend With Them” gives fire-affected businesses the opportunity to showcase their wares to a larger audience. 

Highlighting brilliant regional products like, ‘Better than Sex’ brownies from @milchcafebar in Falls Creek Victoria and ‘Memphis Style BBQ sauce @alpinesauceco. These are both perfect examples of the entrepreneurialism required to keep small, family-owned cafes afloat. 

https://www.instagram.com/spendwiththem/

Go Fund Me
#everywhere

Even though GoFundMe take a percentage of donations, at the very least you are able to read the personal plights of the individual or organisation. Do a search with the keywords, “bushfire” “Victoria” “wildlife” and see how you can make a difference. 

https://au.gofundme.com/

Basils Farm

The Bellarine Peninsula is home to some amazing little finds, most of them set away from the main roads and found by local knowledge or that article you read once somewhere. Basils Farm is a vineyard and restaurant at the end of a spectacular driveway, through the vines, and almost on the beach overlooking the water to Queenscliff. Getting out of the car and discovering where you are is just the start of a beautifully surprising adventure.

With an almost Royal Mail–like attention to the provenance of their produce, they are crafting tasty dishes with veg from their extensive garden (a small section of which you are free to roam). The wines made on the estate are equally as fine and detailed. Two styles of chardonnay are particularly interesting, as is the maritime influence seen in the pinot noir.