The Never Never Distilling Door is open for business.

Doors Opening for this Gin Distillery

Off the back of a successful 2019, South Australian gin superstars Never Never Distilling Co have continued their groove into 2020 with the opening of their distillery and cocktail bar in McLaren Vale.

The Never Never Distilling Door is part of the Chalk Hill Collective, a venue featuring the Chalk Hill Wine Cellar Door and Vera Pizza Oztalia restaurant.

Never Never Distilling Co managing director George Georgiadis says the team is excited to open the doors, with hospitality an important part of the brand.

“McLaren Vale has always been a dream for Never Never, so much so that we put its iconic landscape on our label right back when we were distilling in the back of a shed in Royal Park,” he says.

The distillery door is open Wednesday-Monday, 11am 6pm.

Visit
neverneverdistilling.com.au to find out more.

Hot Stuff for Homage Restaurant

After devastating fires hit the property in 2018, Queensland’s Spicers Hidden Vale has rebuilt, boasting a new homestead featuring the hatted Homage Restaurant and an impressive new cellar.

Led by Executive Chef Ash Martin, the restaurant has a fresh approach to its food philosophy post-fires, with its ‘cooking with fire’ themed menu fuelled by the local Mulgowie olive tree prunings, which allows for some smoked delicacies across the menu.

The homestead wine cellar is another exciting addition sure to catch the attention of wine enthusiasts. The cellar, which sits beneath the restaurant, has an impressive 3,000-bottle capacity and a tasteful, modern design. The new cellar will see the Homage Restaurant feature around 300 wines on its list, with a strong emphasis on Australian wines and a touch of international sparkling.

Visit
spicersretreats.com to find out more
The Homage Restaurant has a firey approach.
The Homage Restaurant has a firey approach.
Villa Maria winery's vintage is the star of a new documentary.
Villa Maria winery's vintage is the star of a new documentary.

Vintage on the Big Screen

Vintage can be a crazy exciting time for a winemaking and viticulture team, from the sleepless nights and unpredictable weather to the adrenaline rush that comes with the first pick of the season. New Zealand winery Villa Maria and American filmmaker Colin West have come together to produce the documentary Vintage, taking viewers in between the vines for a look into this roller-coaster time of year.

The feature-length documentary takes you on the journey throughout the harvesting of Villa Maria’s 2019 vintage across Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay and follows the adventures of chief winemaker Nick Picone, and his team.

The film can be watched across New Zealand, the UK, US and Europe, as well as here in Australia, for free via iTunes, Google Play, SommTV and Vimeo On Demand.

Visit vintagebyvillamaria.com

Pinot’s Time to Shine

Heaven truly is a place on earth for pinot noir fanatics, with the announcement of the Pinot Noir New Zealand 2021 event in Christchurch in February 2021.

The gathering will celebrate all things pinot noir, with more than 120 New Zealand producers showcasing 400 wines across the three days. There’s also an international pinot noir tasting, which will delve into other regional expressions of the grape and will be led by an expert global panel.

Guests will get the chance to watch a star-studded line-up of keynote speakers, including GT WINE’s very own Nick Stock, discuss everything pinot noir. There will also be various masterclasses, covering New Zealand’s rich history and culture, and exploring their ever-growing wine industry.

It’s a chance to connect with pinot noir and wine enthusiasts from across the world, with plenty of events featuring local produce and wine.

Visit pinotnz.co.nz to find out more and purchase tickets to the event.
Indulge your passion for pinot at this three-day event.
Indulge your passion for pinot at this three-day event.
Luxury, heart and atmosphere at The Gidley.

Taking Flight

Riedel has launched its latest wine glass range called Winewings. Taking inspiration from an aircraft wing, the glasses feature a curved, wing-like shape and flat bottom, resulting in an increased surface area of wine exposed to oxygen. Combined with the curve of the glass, this delivers optimal aromas to the drinker.

The range was designed by Georg Riedel, who was asked to create the ultimate glass for cabernet sauvignon. There are also chardonnay, riesling, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, and Champagne and sparkling glasses.

Visit riedel.com

Unburdened in Burgundy

If a week in Burgundy sounds like an ideal getaway, be sure to check out Tastes of Burgundy. Owned and operated by Burgundy enthusiast Jillian Francis, Tastes of Burgundy is your chance to be swept away for a week-long itinerary of French food and wine staying at a stunning Vallée de l'Ouche château.

The itinerary is full of unforgettable Burgundy experiences, including visits to the local produce markets, restaurants and wineries, as well as exclusive acclaimed chef-run cooking classes and dining adventures among the French countryside and châteaux.

Visit tastesofburgundy.com
The outlook from Payne’s Rise.

The Other Seville

With views that disarm and wines that seduce, the Yarra Valley’s Seville is well worth a visit. A trio of vineyards stood out most to me.

Paynes Rise is named for both Seville’s first settler, Thomas Payne, and the winery’s high elevation on the upper valley slopes. Tim and Narelle Cullen pick early with the aim of crafting elegant wines that reflect the nuances and complexities of their terroir.

Close in distance, yet far in style, John and Josie D’Aloisio at Seville Hill pick grapes later in the season, preferring more robust and riper styles of wine. There’s chardonnay, pinot, barbera, sangiovese, tempranillo and merlot. Meanwhile, Murray Lyons and family run the small and quaint Whispering Hills. With production at no more than six barrels per variety, the wines are the essence of small batch, but what Murray lacks in quantity he makes up for in quality.  Haz Davies

Whitley Neill’s Welcome

It’s been a year since UK gin Whitley Neill made its way to Australian shores, and it has well and truly settled into the spirit lists at some our favourite venues.

Whitley Neill is one of the brands in founder Johnny Neill’s portfolio, which also includes products such as Deadman’s Finger Spiced Rum, Yardhead Single Malt Whisky, and new Australian addition Ironbark Gin.

Johnny says there are plans to launch more products in Australia. “We are launching our Gelston’s Single Malt soon and I’m working on an exciting collaboration with my cousin Sam Neill with a Single Pot Still Irish whiskey matured in some of his wonderful wine casks.”

Visit whitleyneill.com to see the full range
More products are coming to Australia, says Johnny Neill.
More products are coming to Australia, says Johnny Neill.

Chardonnay May

Chardonnay fans should head for the Hills. The Adelaide Hills are launching Chardonnay May to showcase the region’s hero variety.

It’s the perfect time to take a trip to recently bushfire-hit area, and a chance to directly support wineries. And who doesn’t love an Adelaide Hills chardonnay or pinot noir to kick off the winter season?

The month will feature an array of chardonnay-themed dinners, masterclasses, varietal flights, vertical tastings and much more.

Visit adelaidehillswine.com.au to find out more

Best in Wine Show

Entries are now open for the Royal Queensland Wine Show (RQWS), which marks the beginning of capital city wine awards for 2020. Jim Chatto, GT WINE Winemaker of the Year 2019, will lead the judging for the second year running.

“We now have a trophy specifically for varieties of Italian origin, being awarded to the best sangiovese, montepulciano, nero d’Avola, barbera, dolcetto, nebbiolo and blends,” says Chatto.

The $12,000 Angelo Puglisi Grand Champion Wine of Show Fellowship and 2020 Queensland Winemaker Bursary will also be up for grabs. Judging will start 29 June and end 2 July, with winners announced on 10 July, before the RQWS Grape Grazing consumer tasting event.

To enter wines, visit rqfws.com.au

Apple of our Isle

In our December/January issue, we asked new subscribers why they wanted to win 12 Tasmanian sparklings and the book Flavours of Tasmania.

G Hackett, from Bowral, won with: “SITUATION VACANT. Last 12 spaces available in temperature-controlled wine cabinet. Would suit superior expatriates from cool-climate region. Only those with sparkling character need apply.”

Visit our subscriptions page for this issue's prize.