The Espresso Martini Now Has its Own Festival

The espresso martini is a drink worth celebrating, which is why Mr Black Spirits Co, leaders in coffee and spirits, are throwing the world’s first espresso martini festival at Melbourne’s Meat Market on Saturday 05 November 2016.

The Mr Black Festival of The Espresso Martini will play host to hundreds of coffee-and-liquor loving Victorians. With caffeinated creations from some of Australia’s best specialty coffee roasters, bars and coffee shops, food trucks, tunes and coffee pong.  The Espresso Martini Festival will be a place for the people of Melbourne to taste, talk and get behind the legendary coffee industry.

Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini (Image supplied)

Mr Black founder, Tom Baker said, “We know the people of Melbourne have a love affair with coffee, and the espresso martini is now one of the highest selling cocktails on lists everywhere. So we thought, why not come together to celebrate this shared love with the perfect pairing of coffee and booze.”

“Making a good espresso martini is not a hard task – It’s just three simple ingredients but our festival is a celebration of great drinks: espresso from leading speciality roasters, high-quality spirits, and of course the world’s best coffee liquor. We’re excited to get all our coffee and liquor friends in one place and have a cheeky coffee party”, he said.

Australia’s top coffee producers are on board for a day of caffeinated pleasure at the Espresso Martini Festival. Including: MILKLAB, Ketel One, Campos Coffee, Rushmore Coffee, The Kind Coffee Co, Beats Coffee and Two Birds Brewing.

Entry to Mr Black Festival of The Espresso Martini is $25pp which includes a Mr Black Coffee Liqueur shaken serve, free tastings and more to come.

WHAT: Mr Black Festival of The Espresso Martini
WHEN: Saturday 05 November, 2016. Hours are from 2PM-10PM
WHERE: Melbourne Meat Market, 5 Blackwood Street, Melbourne
TICKETS: $25 per person

Tickets are on sale now at the

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Great Eastern Wine Weekend in Tasmania

A wine weekend filled with special events, insider experiences and discount offers? Yes please! Join us on the east coast of Tasmania for the Great Eastern Wine Weekend on 10 – 11 September 2016 and celebrate the superb cool climate wines, fresh seafood and local fare.

Bruny Island Oysters (Image supplied by Tourism Tasmania)

Oysters (Image supplied by Tourism Tasmania)

During the Great Eastern Wine Weekend stop in at cellar doors and enjoy special offers, enjoy a spectacular Wineglass Bay Cruise with multi award winning wine maker Andrew Hood, or tuck into some Bubbles and Bivalves at Freycinet Marine Farm.

The full program is available at

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Vickery 2016 Riesling: Wine Review

John Vickery is the accepted doyen of Riesling in Australia, with an illustrious career covering fifty years and innumerable awards. The Vickery Rieslings he has crafted from Watervale and Eden Valley in South Australia are the epitome of this variety.

Vickery Rieslings are made in partnership with talented winemaker and family friend Phil Lehmann, so that John’s winemaking methods and knowledge will be preserved and passed on for generations to come, for the benefit of all lovers of classic Australian Riesling.

Vickery Eden Valley 2016 Riesling

Vickery Eden Valley Riesling

The Vickery Riesling from Eden Valley has lovely aromas of lime zest, and some floral prettiness. Palate is fresh and lively with lemon citrus, with a slately edge.

Flavours last and the mouthwatering acidity suggests some great cellaring potential for those who adore aged Rieslings.

Alcohol: 12.5%
Price: $23
Region: Eden Valley (Barossa), SA
Source: Trade tasting


Vickery Watervale Riesling

Vickery Watervale 2016 Riesling

The Vickery Riesling from Watervale shows the typical freshness on the nose, with some aromatic white floral characters.

The palate is similarly lively like the Eden Valley, and also with a steely component. Possibly a little fuller in the mouthfeel. Pure and delicious.

Alcohol: 12.5%
Price: $23
Region: Watervale (Clare Valley), SA
Source: Trade tasting

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Wirra Wirra 2014 Woodhenge Shiraz: Wine Review

McLaren Vale doesn’t have a Stonehenge, but it does have a Woodhenge.  Wirra Wirra’s late owner, Greg Trott, wanted to build a post and rail fence of herculean proportions. It uses massive red gum timber sourced from the Flinders Ranges, with some of the pieces weighing over three tonnes!  But slightly less colossal is the Wirra Wirra Woodhenge Shiraz.

The Wirra Wirra 2014 Woodhenge Shiraz shows great regional style, and displays what McLaren Vale does so well. Lots of plush ripe fruit, but also showing moderation.

On the nose there are aromas of warm spices including cinnamon, milk chocolate, and dried fig. On the palate its luscious and warming. Fleshy ripe plums, ripe mulberries, and chocolate coated liquorice. A hint of sweet oak. Medium to full bodied, with flavours showing restraint but still lasting in the mouth and tempting you for more. Its all supported by powdery tannins adding more texture.

The Wirra Wirra Woodhenge Shiraz is sterotypical McLaren Vale Shiraz, and a great example of it.

Wirra Wirra Woodhenge




Alcohol: 14.5%
Price: $35
Region: McLaren Vale, SA
Source: Provided by producer

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Wine Investment: Ultimately Knowledge is the Key

The wine industry is such a broad and diverse beast, and many of our clients have very extensive and varied requirements.  Some readers are interested in new releases, others are looking for something interesting and to minimise the risk of purchasing an ‘unknown’ wine.  Some clients engage us to assist with developing their Australian wine lists or cellars for the own enjoyment.  Some clients also engage in wine investment, of both Australian wines and international wines.  One of the main channels and sources of information I have used for many years has been Langtons. Not only the ‘Langtons Classification of Australian Wine’ but also their market place for fine wine.

Wine investment, as with all forms of investment, expose you to many risks; market risks, currency risks, and producer risks.  Let alone the daily fluctuations of prices.  Any form of investment requires an understanding of these risks but ultimately knowledge is the key.

Good knowledge of the product, knowledge of the market, buying at the right price and also access to the product.  Many investment wines are sourced from a single vineyard and therefore in limited production, or they are in such demand that they sell out upon release.  Accessing these wines means you need to purchase as soon as they are available to ensure your allocation.

Wine investment

Some regions (especially Bordeaux and Burgundy) also sell their wines prior to release using the ‘en primeur’ approach. This offers the consumers the opportunity to invest before the wine is bottled and released.  Payment is made prior to the official release of a vintage. An advantage of buying wines ‘en primeur’ is that the wines may be cheaper during the ‘en primeur’ period than when they are released to the market.

The key to successfully investing in wines is to ensure that you are focusing on the right estates for both quality & value, at an appropriate discount.  Resources such as Langtons website not only help you understand the market and the value of currently traded wines (Australian and international), but also their fine wine specialists can provide guidance on the individual estates and vintage conditions.

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Royal Melbourne Wine Awards goes Organic

Reflecting the growing industry trend, production techniques and consumer interest, the renowned Royal Melbourne Wine Awards (RMWA), Australia’s most respected wine show, will for the first time recognise organic and biodynamic wines with the introduction of a new Best Organic or Biodynamic Trophy in 2016.

“It is our ongoing commitment to ensure the awards continue to be most relevant and valuable to the industry, identifying new classes and categories that will recognise the evolving nature of grape growing and winemaking,” said Tom Carson, Chair of Judges.

“Organic grape production increased by 120% from 2011-2014 with evidence the trend is continuing. The introduction of the new Best Organic or Biodynamic Wine Trophy is a nod to the increasing production of these types of wines in the country, and the outstanding quality we have on offer.”
Royal Melbourne Wine Show

Conducted by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), the RMWA gives producers the opportunity to benchmark their wines against industry standards; seek advice from an independent panel of experts; and to promote and market award winning products using the RMWA’s seal of excellence.

Other accolades to be awarded, include the much coveted Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for Best Young Red Wine, The James Halliday Trophy for Best Pinot Noir, The Douglas Seabrook Single Vineyard Trophy, The Kym Ludvigsen Trophy for Viticultural Excellence, The Victorian Trophy for Wines of Provenance, The Francois De Castella Trophy for Best Young White Wine, The Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz and The Bill Chambers Trophy for Best Fortified.

The winner of the 2016 Jimmy Watson Trophy will also secure the scholarship sponsored by RASV.  The scholarship includes a $15,000 bursary for the winner to embark on an international study tour, providing professional development opportunities and increasing knowledge of the global wine industry.

“As a previous winner of the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy I can attest that an award win at the RMWA is an honour of long-standing tradition, and is highly regarded amongst the national industry and around the world, leading to increased sales, greater export opportunities and significant growth,” said Mr Carson.

Entries for the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards open on Tuesday 28 June at and will close on Friday 19 August, with early entry encouraged.

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