"U3A Wine Appreciation group drove up to the beautiful King Valley, to visit Gracebrook. This winery would have to enjoy the best views of the hills and mountains, rising from the fertile King Valley. After a wine tasting at the long bar, built from one slice of local Stringybark, we had time to sit out on the terrace to drink in (sorry!) the view. The winery was previously the 110 year-old rustic Gracebrook Stables, so it has capitalised on the historic ambiance. The owners, David and Rhonda Maples, have run Gracebrook for over a decade and their hospitality is legendary. Gracebrook does offer lunches, but Nicole had booked our sizeable group in to nearby Mountainview Hotel, where we were seated out on the terrace. It was a perfect day to dine al fresco. Thanks Nicole for organising the day out (it wasn't her fault one carload managed to get lost en route)." Bev Thornell, FB, 15 Sept.
We headed south to the Strathbogie region and Maygar Hills winery with its spectacular vistas punctuated by rocky granitic outcrops. Our host Jenny, was so welcoming and gave us a short history of Lt. Maygar, the name behind the winery. Lt. Maygar was born on 26 May 1872 at Kilmore. He enlisted in the Victorian Mounted Rifles to fight in the Boer War. He arrived in South Africa in March 1901 and was immediately involved in several heavy actions. In August his column transferred to Natal and was constantly in action against strong Boer commando forces. It was during one of these intense actions that Maygar was awarded his Victoria Cross.
Maygar Hills produces red wines and has won multiple trophies. We tasted the 2018 and 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2019 Reserve Shiraz. Sadly the vineyard has been sold and so there are limited stocks now available. Lunch was at Seven Creeks Hotel with its good food, friendly atmosphere and open fires.
Next month we are off to Gracebrook Winery, 4446 Wangaratta-Whitfield Rd, King Valley followed by lunch at Mountain View Hotel, 4 King Valley Road, Whitfield.
Meeting in the Senior’s Car Park at 1015 and RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone/text 0428 696 408 by Sunday 10th September.
A very intimate and cosy wine tasting was held at Piano Piano Vineyard for our group. The vineyard is situated in the Everton Upper area where the climate is perfect for the many varieties of grapes grown – from a delicious 2021 Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio to a Reserve Merlot and Shiraz. Marc and Lisa were very generous hosts with Marc being the winemaker. Lunch followed at our popular King River Cafe in Oxley.
On Friday 18th August we are off to Maygar Hills Winery, 115 Longwood-Mansfield Rd, Longwood East . The tasting is booked for 11.00 and lunch for 12.15.
Lunch is at the White Hart Hotel, 63 Hill St, Longwood. They are not doing lunches at the moment, however, for our group they are happy to open up. We need a minimum of 25 – so early RSVPs please – it will be alternate main drop for $30 with dessert, tea/coffee extra.
Meeting in the Seniors Car park at 10.15 am.
RSVP by Sunday 13th to email@example.com or phone/text to 0428 696 408.
The weather held for us thankfully on Friday 16th June as we set off to Anderson’s Winery at Rutherglen, established in 1992 by Howard Anderson. His daughter Christobelle, who had graduated with First Class Honours in Winemaking at Adelaide University, welcomed us to their cellar door. They are known, and have won many awards, for their sparkling wines and I can understand why. They are made in the traditional method and have the lightest of bubbles. There is a good selection of whites and reds with all grapes being grown on their eight and half hectare property.
Our tasting was followed by a delicious lunch at Pickled Sisters in Rutherglen.
Next month’s visit on Friday 21st July is to Piano Piano Winery at 852 Beechworth-Wangaratta Rd, Everton followed by lunch at the King River Cafe in Oxley.
Please note change of meeting place. We will now meet in the Seniors Car Park , same time at 10.00 am.
Please let me know by Sunday 16 July if you will be coming. I notify our numbers to both venues on Monday morning. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or text 0428 696 408.
A glorious day had 29 of us travelling to King River Estate Winery for this month’s tasting. In a delightful setting, Karen, one of the owners, led us on a ‘how to make wine’ trip which proved fascinating and informative. We tried many varieties of reds and whites, some of which had been produced from grapes grown on their Flying Duck vineyard next door. Lunch followed at the King River Cafe where once again, we were well looked after.
Next month, Friday 16th June, we are off to Rutherglen. Andersons Winery, 1619 Chiltern-Rutherglen Rd, followed by lunch at The Pickled Sisters Cafe, 121 Main St, Rutherglen.
If you will be coming, please let me know by the latest Sunday 11th June on email@example.com or text 0428 696 408.
Meeting in the car park behind Aldi at 10.00.
Photographs: Bev Thornell
A perfect Autumn day with the trees in all their glory was the setting for our drive to Francesco Winery at Cheshunt. Jacob was our friendly host along with his Nona, Maria, who kept us supplied with salami, cheese and biscuits to enjoy with their delightful wines.
There was a good selection of wines and many a box was carried out at the end of our tasting!
Lunch was in the garden at Whitfield’s Mountain View Hotel where we all enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and good food.
Next month, 19th May, we will be off to King River Estate, 3556 Wangaratta-Whitfield Rd, Edi. The tasting is booked for 11.00 with a $10 tasting fee refundable on the purchase of two bottles of wine.
We will then move on to the King River Cafe. If there are more than 20 of us attending lunch, there will be an alternating main course with tea or coffee at $28.00, and dessert if required on order for $9.00.
As usual we will meet in the car park behind Aldi at 10.00. If you prefer to drive direct, please let me know. RSVP by Sunday 14th either by return email or phone/text 0428 696 408.
Photographs - Bev Thornell
A lovely morning of wine tasting was held at Gapsted Winery for our March outing where twenty five of us enjoyed the view across the vineyard, the good wines and great company. Paul, our Taster, was excellent at describing each of the wines we tasted.
We then made out way to Café Fez in Myrtleford where we enjoyed a variety of delicious middle eastern fare.
April’s (28th) winery is Francesco Wines at 1005 Upper King River Rd Cheshunt, an Italian family run vineyard. Our Tasting is booked for 1100 and there is no tasting charge. We will lunch at the Mountain View Hotel/Whitfield Hotel 4 King Valley Road, 3733 Whitfield.
Please note: the hotel now has a new system re payment. Each table will be given a bill, no split payment , so I am guessing cash will be helpful.
As usual we will meet in the car park behind Aldi at 10.00. RSVP by Sunday 23rd April to phone/text 0428 696 408 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Until then, stay safe and have fun.
*Photos taken by Bev and Andi at Gapsted Winery and Cafe Fez sourced from Facebook
"What a lovely day the Wine Appreciation Group enjoyed at Gapstead Winery in the Alpine Wine Region. Seated on the deck, with that wonderful view over the vineyard to the distant hills, we were given a tasting of 3 Whites and 3 Reds. Suitably educated, we made our purchases from the counter. It was only a short drive on to Myrtleford for lunch at Cafe Fez at Red Ramia Trading. It was very busy inside, but after a short wait we were all fed. Nicole, you did well organising this outing!" Bev Thornell, FB
"Lovely outing with U3A Benalla and District Wine Appreciation - tasting at Gapsted, lunch at Cafe Fez, then a quick wander through the ever amazing Red Ramia". Andi Stevenson, FB
Welcome to our many new members.
On one of the hottest days this summer, 35 of us made our way to Pennyweight Winery at Beechworth where the temperature was a few degrees lower, thank goodness. We sat out under their beautiful big trees in the paved courtyard and were looked after by Libby and Liam.
We tasted two reds and whites and their delicious, fortified Pennyweight Gold aged in old oak casks for seven years. It can be enjoyed chilled as a delicious aperitif, a dessert wine or as a mixer with tonic, ice and lime – sounded good on the day!
As there was a little bit of time to spare before lunch, several members took the opportunity to peruse the shops before going onto lunch at the Stanley Pub.
Once again, we were seated under trees and umbrellas on their expansive lawn. The menu is predominantly Asian with some usual pub food. I can’t speak highly enough of the staff who looked after us. They were always smiling and happy to help.
Our March 17th our outing is to Gapsted Winery at 3897 Great Alpine Rd, Myrtleford and then onto lunch at Café Fez located at 145 Great Alpine Rd, Myrtleford. There is a $5 charge for the tasting. The tasting is booked for 11.00.
As usual we will meet in the car park behind Aldi at 10.00. Please RSVP by Sunday 12th either by return email or phone/text 0428 696 408.
"U3A Wine Appreciation Group met at Pennyweight Winery's rustic Cellar Door in Beechworth. The small traditional, family run winery is biodynamic and organic. It produces table and fortified wines. Our large group of 37 had to be divided into 2 groups for wine tasting. Libby and Liam did an amazing job attending to us all. Liam gave me a short tour of the cool Wine Cellar, where the barrels of wine and spirits are stored and aged, so that I could share these photos. A short drive up to Stanley Pub for lunch followed. It was a very hot day, so we took advantage of the picnic tables under shady trees or umbrellas on the Pub lawns. Thanks to our convenor, Nicole, for keeping your large mob under control." Bev Thornell, Facebook post, 18 February 2023
Hello everyone and welcome back to our adventures in wine, food, friendship and fun.
Our first winery visit for 2023 is on Friday 17th February to Pennyweight Winery, a certified organic and biodynamic vineyard that have been crafting fine wine spanning four decades and three generations. They are located at 13 Pennyweight Lane, Beechworth.
This will be followed by lunch at the Stanley Pub, 6-12 Myrtleford-Stanley Rd, Stanley.
Meeting at 10.00 in the Barkly St car park behind Aldi.
Please let me know by Sunday 12th February if you will be coming. You can RSVP to email@example.com or ph/text 0428 696 408.
Look forward to catching up!
'Some photos from our U3A Christmas Break Up at King River Cafe in Oxley. The owners of the cafe did an amazing job feeding and watering our group of 72. We celebrated Claire's Birthday during the lunch. We all enjoyed the lunch and the opportunity to be bussed there by Benalla Bus Lines. Thanks Nicole and Corrie for organising this function to end a successful U3A year.'
Facebook Post w Photographs, Bev Thornell, 25 Nov 22.
Our last group outing for the year and we were off to Rutherglen, Andrew Buller Wines to be exact. Andrew and his wife, Wendy, were very gracious hosts and their wines extremely enjoyable. Andrew is from the Buller family of winemakers and he and Wendy bought their winery in 2015. In their lovely old home they have converted the front rooms into a cellar door. Had the weather been co-operative we would have been sitting out under the rather grand old trees.
We started off with a traditionally made champagne, followed by a chardonnay, pinot grigio, a delicious sparkling shiraz liquored with rare Muscat – definitely a purchase - two reds and finished off with a Tawny, Tokay and a Muscat. Most of us clinked back to our cars for lunch at Footsteps Cafe (previously The Pickled Sisters) at Cofields winery.
The cafe has a very interesting menu, beautifully presented dishes and wonderful service. A great way to end our year.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bev for all her wonderful photographs and to the entire group for making each month a very happy day out.
Photographs: Bev Thornell
I look forward to meeting up with you again next year.
Photographs: Bev Thornell
The sun gods were with us for September’s winery outing and driving through the green countryside was a perfect start to our day. We visited Ferraro Winery at Myrtleford, hosted by Tony and Josie Ferraro in their rustic cellar door, who were very generous with their hospitality. Their wines were very typically Italian and along with the lovely platters of antipasto, with homemade pancetta and salami we had a most enjoyable morning.
The cellar door looked out over lucerne paddocks and the vineyard. After much purchasing, we headed back home and stopped at the Milawa Pub for a congenial lunch.
Next month will be our last group outing and will be held at Andrew Buller Boutique Winery, 352 Jacks Road, Rutherglen. Andrew Buller is a third-generation winemaker from the Buller Winemaking family Est. in 1921 in Rutherglen. He and his wife started this winery in 2015. Lunch is booked for Footsteps Café in Colfields Winery, Rutherglen.
Meeting behind Aldi at 10am and RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone/text 0428 696 408 by Sunday 23rd October.
On a rather cold wintry day our small group of intrepid wine tasters (someone has to do it) set off for Indigo Winery at Upper Everton. Rob, the owner was very welcoming and outlined the start of the vineyard and that they now have 46 Hectares planted to grapes and also grow their own pork and lamb. The wines are true to high altitude type and we tasted 5 different varieties. The staff was very knowledgeable and keen to enlighten us of the awards some of the wines have won.
We then motored further up the road to Beechworth and had a very enjoyable lunch at the Beechworth Pantry. Always lots of laughter and interesting discussions.
Next month we are off to Myrtleford to Ferraro Wines, 16 Clancy Lane, Myrtleford. Ferraro Wines is a boutique winery and produces Merlot, Barbera, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Rose, Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc. Lunch will be at either Milawa Pub or King River Cafe at Oxley. Meeting behind Aldi at 1000 and RSVP to me at email@example.com or phone/text 0428 696 408 by Sunday 25th September please.
Photos: Bev Thornell
On a rather foggy morning, 19 of us travelled south on the freeway to Fowles Winery at Avenel. The cellar door and restaurant have undergone a massive renovation/new build with windows looking out to the Strathbogie Ranges.
Having perched ourselves at the bar, we proceeded to taste up to 10 different varieties of red, whites and rose wines, all grapes grown on their 350-acre vineyard and made by Matt Fowles.
Katey, our host, was very knowledgeable about the wines and happy to discuss them with us.
Photographs - Bev Thornell
We then wandered into the amazing restaurant, again with floor to ceiling windows looking out over the paddocks to the ranges, and had a very delicious lunch accompanied by equally delicious wines. The staff was very friendly and attentive.
Next month on 24th we off to Indigo Vineyard, 1221 Beechworth-Wangaratta Road, Everton Upper followed by lunch at the Beechworth Pantry, 77 Ford St. Meeting as usual behind Aldis at 1000.
Please RSVP by Sunday 21st via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone/text 0428 696 408.
June's visit was to Baileys Winery, which is now owned by Australian family company, Casella Wines. Seated at a long table inside the historic Cellar Door, beside the welcome open fire, we were treated to a long, leisurely Wine Tasting, under the tutelage of young Dylan. From the long list of excellent Baileys Reds and Fortifieds, some of which have won prestigious awards, the tastings offered were much appreciated by the group. The two Baileys Muscats were utterly luscious, especially the Rare Old Muscat! After this relaxing event, we drove into Glenrowan to lunch at the cosy Vintage Cafe, where we chose from the menu, waited on by friendly staff.
Next month on 27th July we are off to Fowles Winery, 1175 Lambing Gully Road, Avenel, for tastings and lunch.
Meeting behind Aldi’s at 10.00 a.m.
RSVP’s by Sunday 24th July to phone/text 0428 696 408 or email email@example.com.
"On a gloomy, damp and cold day, how appropriate it was for our 13 strong U3A Wine Appreciation members to visit Baileys Winery in nearby Glenrowan. Seated at a long table inside the historic Cellar Door, beside the welcome open fire, we were treated to a long, leisurely Wine Tasting, under the tutelage of young, affable host Dylan. From the long list of excellent Baileys Reds, the tastings offered were definately appreciated by the group, while yours truly found the 2 Baileys iconic Muscats utterly delicious, especially the Rare Old Muscat. After this relaxing event, we drove into Glenrowan to lunch at The Vintage Cafe, where we chose from the menu and waited on by the friendly staff. In the (unheated!) retail shop next door, we browsed Vintage finds, local artefacts and of course the usual array of touristy Ned Kelly items. Thanks Nicole, for organising today's Wine Appreciation." Bev Thornell, Facebook post, 22 June 2022
This month our journey was slightly further afield to Campbell’s Winery at Rutherglen.
There were many wines available for tasting, but sadly for some of our members the Robbie Burns Shiraz 2018 was off the list. The staff described it as the best in 20 years, so they are withholding many bottles for a special release down the track.
Five minutes down the road we came to our lunch venue, The Other Place cafe. We enjoyed our meals in their lovely courtyard and many stayed on to chatter and window shop.
Next month we are off to Baileys@Glenrowan, 779 Taminick Gap Rd, Glenrowan followed by lunch at the Vintage Hall Café, 54 Gladstone St, Glenrowan.
Meeting behind Aldi’s at 10.00 a.m.
RSVP’s by Sunday 19th June to phone/text 0428 696 408 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Our convenor, Nicole, had cleverly timed this month’s outing in the Rutherglen Region on the cusp of Winter, an opportunity to stock up on those luscious Reds and fortifieds to combat the cold months ahead. Campbells of Rutherglen is a fifth generation family owned winery, established in 1870. The region continues to receive international acclaim for the ‘world’s richest wines’ from wine writers, merchants and consumers alike. Campbells is one of Rutherglen’s original muscat and topaque producers. Its large, Commercial Winery is very popular with visiting groups. We were only one of three groups there. Most of our group paid for a tasting; the others took advantage of the warm fire to chat. After purchases had been made, we drove on to Rutherglen Main Street for an al fresco lunch on the patio of The Other Place Café. We were a larger group than average, so we kept the staff busy, but we all had time to socialize over lunch, before checking out the local shops. Thanks Nicole, for arranging this month’s outing." Bev Thornell, FB post, 25 May 2022
La Cantina winery were our hosts for this month’s outing held at their beautiful stone cellar door. Linda Cortini imparted her extensive knowledge of their organic wines. As there are no preservatives in their wines the fruitiness comes through more strongly.
We then journeyed to our lunch venue - King River Cafe - and enjoyed a wonderful lunch and each other’s company.
Our next outing is to Campbells Winery at 4603 Murray Valley Highway Rutherglen. Lunch venue is still being explored. Meeting behind Aldi’s at 10.00 a.m.
RSVPs by Sunday 22 May--phone/text 0428 696 408 or email email@example.com.
Photographs: Bev Thornell
On Wednesday 23 March, 19 of our members arrived at the family run Politini Winery in the Upper King Valley Cheshunt and were greeted by Lidia Politini. We were seated in a lovely sunny courtyard looking out onto gardens and a tree studded green lawn.
We commenced our tasting with their Prosecco, which is slightly drier than the average, and progressed through seven other varieties of whites and reds, all from Sicilian grapes.
We enjoyed hearing about the history of Lidia’s family, how they arrived as migrants and have built the winery into its current success. There are plans afoot for a new cellar door
Next month’s outing is to La Cantina Winery at 54 Honeys Lane, King Valley then onto the King River Café at 1143 Snow Rd, Oxley. Meeting behind Aldi’s at 10.00 a.m.
RSVPs by Sunday 24 April--phone/text 0428 696 408 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until then, stay safe and enjoy yourselves.
"U3A Wine Appreciation this month met at Politini, in the Upper King Valley at Cheshunt. This small, family-run boutique winery, "Where Sicily meets the King Valley", is blessed with the ideal climate and granite soils to enable production of excellent Italian and French wines. As the winery is currently under expansion and reconstruction, we were seated outside under shady umbrellas, under the watchful eye of Spoodle, Tilly. Our group was welcomed by Lidia Politini, daughter of Sam, and offered tastings of their whites and reds, including the signature Prosecco, which apparently is better served in specially designed Prosecco glasses. Lidia was an excellent speaker, regaling us with stories of the Politini family history: from newly-arrived migrants to successful wine producers. After a long, leisurely hour, we drove back to Cheshunt for a light lunch at The Oven. Thanks to our convenor, Nicole, for organising this pleasant outing." Bev Thornell
Source: U3A Benalla Facebook Post
Our first outing for 2022 was on a perfect autumn day.
Fifteen members headed to Pizzini’s winery where we were shown to our tasting table, beautifully set with an array of glasses, and outside overlooking the grounds.
Our sommelier, Chas, introduced himself and then proceeded to impart his expert knowledge of Pizzini wines and make suggestions for wines to taste. We started with five La Famiglia Wines that were fabulous for everyday drinking and one from their Special and Rare wine selection.
Alfredo and Katrina Pizzini planted the first vines on the property in 1978, then in 1994 the first wine under the Pizzini label was produced.
We then moved to the Mountain View Hotel where we sat out in the garden under the shade of the established trees.
The wait staff were very friendly and the service was good and food excellent – very large servings. A very pleasant way to spend the day.
On 23rd March we will be heading to Politini Wines at 65 Upper King River Road, Cheshunt and lunch at The Ovens, 451 King Valley Rd Cheshunt.
Meeting in the car park behind Aldi at 10.00am. Please let me know if you are coming on 0428 696 408 or email@example.com by Sunday 20th March.
"The U3A Wine Appreciation group met for our first outing in 2022. Pizzini Winery in the King Valley was our destination and as usual it didn't disappoint. For $10 a head, we sat under the veranda and sampled several from the extensive list of Pizzini wines, including their pricier Italian varietals. We learnt that the King Valley soils and climate are perfect for producing the delicate Tuscan-style wines the Valley is renowned for. Most of us left with a wine bag on our arm. It was only a short drive back to Whitfield Mountain View Hotel for al fresco lunch under the welcome shade of the trees...washed down with another glass? Thanks to our new Convenor, Nicole, the day went smoothly. We look forward to next month's class." Bev Thornell, FB post
PLEASE NOTE - A change in plans for our winery visit this month.
The new venue is PIZZINI WINES, 175 King Valley Road, Whitfield. The tasting is set up for a seated experience. There are a range of tasting options starting at $10 for their Everyday Italian Wines. If you have a particular wine you would like to taste, please let me know when RSVPing! So that Mario can have it available.
We will then make our way to the Mountain View Hotel, 4 King Valley Rd, Whitfield. Lunch is in two sittings and we are booked for 1315. (awaiting confirmation at time of writing).
Meet at the tennis court car park in Barkly Street behind Aldi at 9.45 am.
Please contact Nicole by Sunday 20th February to let me know if you will be attending as I need to confirm numbers with both venues.
I can be contacted on 0428 696 408 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Look forward to seeing you.
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