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. 



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

Dive into art and culture at Upstream Festival

Words by Penny Cordner 
Images supplied

Four days, two cities, one festival. Immerse yourself in some of the best local and national art and cultural experiences this March at Albury-Wodonga’s ‘Upstream – Festival of Art + Culture’ (March 6-9). 

This family-friendly festival is a celebration of collaboration and connection, with Wodonga Council and AlburyCity coming together to celebrate their shared diversity and creativity. With everything from jazz music and one-of-a-kind dance troupes to art installations and circus performers, these four days promise to surprise and delight at every turn.  

Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie is excited for the wider community to embrace all the festival has to offer.

“The great thing about this festival is that it is for everyone – families, art lovers, visitors, locals. Everyone will find something to enjoy,” says Speedie. 

The festival opens at Noreuil Park foreshore on Friday night (March 6). Catch a set from the energetic Shirazz Jazz Band, be awed by the twists and tumbles of the Flying Fruit Fly Circus and keep an eye out for the laser show along the banks of the Murray River. Take part in a giant game of chess, and then head to one of the food trucks or dessert stations to refuel. 

“Kicking off the festival on our beautiful foreshore with music, acrobatic feats, food trucks and an amazing laser show over the river will truly set the scene for the four days,” says Albury City Mayor Cr Kevin Mack.

Kicking off the festival on our beautiful foreshore with music, acrobatic feats, food trucks and an amazing laser show over the river will truly set the scene for the four days.

Another not-to-be-missed event is the family-friendly Messy Arty Party (Saturday 7 March). This action-packed session will tire kids of all ages. Join in the Colour Run – where you’ll be covered in a rainbow of chalk from head to toe as you complete various challenges, or keep cool at Water Works – a mobile water structure. Embrace your inner musician by signing up to make your very own percussion instruments, get creative and take part in Clay Play, or challenge someone at Waterbomb Volleyball. Whichever way you go, there is fun for the whole family. 

In the afternoon, head to the Cube Chill-out Session where you will enjoy a range of local performers including resident company PROJECTion Dance. There will also be complimentary nibbles, giant games and you can grab a drink at the pop-up bar.

In the evening, it’s all about the Upstream Street Party with many performances to choose from. Make sure you catch one of three shows from The Three Belles – a whirlwind of dance perched atop five-metre sway poles in Richardson Park (Saturday 5.15pm, 6.40pm and 8.05pm). 

Art-lovers should immerse themselves in the swirling droplets of Flow States – an installation inspired by the Murray River, which has been made from hundreds of droplets of tissue paper, or enter the Neon Forest and navigate through a kaleidoscope of treetops to uncover hidden objects. 

There’s even an eight-minute puppet experience, ‘Nightmare,’ which is performed inside a horse float to an audience of just eight.

Sunday, March 8 brings a Market of Curious Things, with beautiful handmade trinkets and keepsakes, as well as performances of Mexican and Latin American music and the local Murray Riverina Jazz Orchestra. 

“We have a fantastic arts and cultural industry here on the border and this will be a great opportunity for local and visitors alike to experience it all including our public art trails and galleries,” says Mack. 

The festival name is inspired by the natural landmark of the Murray River (the meeting point of the two cities) and the idea that to ‘go upstream’ is to go against the current, encouraging you to try new and unexpected experiences. 



WHAT: Upstream – Festival of Art + Culture
WHERE: Albury/Wodonga
WHEN: 6th – 9th March
MORE INFO: upstream.org.au

Gippsland gears up for Farm World 2020

Words by Penny Cordner 
Images supplied


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. 




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

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.

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.

Noble Monks

Shepparton is not blessed with street after street of stunning gold-rush architecture like, say, Ballarat. So the enterprising and stylish types here have to take a different approach. At Noble Monks it’s the semi-industrial bare brick and steel vibe. It works. You’re instantly reminded of your regular Yarraville haunts. The coffee here is from Bean Around – roasted locally by John at the Last Straw. The menu is driven by fresh local fruit and veg.

We had corn fritters made fresh – this is generous country hospitality. Big fritters with a soft poached egg.

Local seasonal fruit is the kind of fresh and easy breakfast you want in the country. When you go to the ocean you want fresh fish. When you go inland to the state’s food-bowl you want fresh grown produce.

A selection of humorously named,  deliciously fresh juices keeps the morning healthy and clean. There are good beers on tap and a respectable wine list if you have other ideas.