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Pacific Reef Fisheries Best of the Best RAS President's Medal

Winner of the prestigious NSW Royal agricultural society president's medal, pacific reef fisheries are revolutionising aquaculture one luscious Cobia at a time.

The rich alluvial plains that straddle Queensland's Burdekin River on the Whitsunday Coast are some of Australia's best agricultural land. Tomatoes, melons, capsicums and more find their way to markets all over the nation from here.

But as the river nears the coast, salt-tinged air from the Coral Sea takes hold, making vegetable production less viable. Yet at Alva Beach an extraordinary story in Australian farming is unfolding.

Nestled on the edge of the ocean, a vast series of deep 100m2 pools are laid out, each one teeming with life; swirling masses move below the surface, seen only by the way the water wrinkles in the sunlight. This unique farm is home to some of Australia's best seafood, for in these ponds, Pacific Reef Fisheries breed delicious tiger prawns, and one of the world's most impressive fish - the cobia.

TROPICAL ORIGINS

Australians usually refer to cobia as 'black kingfish', but this is misleading for the fish is actually a relative of remora, those sucker-fish seen attached to sharks in documentaries. Native to the world's tropical waters, it has an oil-rich pearl-white flesh, prized by chefs because that lush oil does not leach out when cooked - distinguishing cobia from other species.

Cobia is also well-adapted to aquaculture, and the Alva Beach joint venture between Pacific Reef Fisheries and the Queensland Department of Primary Industries produces fish of unrivalled quality, plus the commercial, social and environmental standards under which it operates are world leading.

For these reasons, Pacific Reef Fisheries was the recipient of the 2015 President's Medal from the NSW Royal Agricultural Society, Australia's top award for excellence in food.

CONQUERING AQUACULTURE

Two big challenges for aquaculture are inputs and outputs - feed and wastewater.

Traditionally fishmeal has been made from vast quantities of trawled target species like pilchards and anchovies. While these fish are not currently under threat, that system is unsustainable as a growing aquaculture market will eventually pressure stock numbers. To this end, Pacific Reef are working with the CSIRO and other Australian businesses to replace wild fish with farmed sources. The effect is to create a positive net fish benefit - more fish come out than go in.

As the fish are farmed in on-land ponds, as opposed to traditional sea cages, the quantity of feed input is more easily controlled, resulting in less waste and the elimination of localised pollution.

Output water from the ponds can also be a problem, as it becomes nutrient-rich in a way that should not be simply returned to the ocean. To ensure it is as near to pure seawater as possible when it reaches the Coral Sea, the waste is filtered, then discharged through a purpose-planted mangrove system, enabling a second stage of filtration. It's an investment not only in the environment, but also in the business's commercial longevity.

THE PRESIDENT'S MEDAL

The RAS of NSW President's Medal recognises excellence in Australian produce. The 'best of the best' food and beverages from the Sydney Royal shows are nominated for the President's Medal. Finalists undergo a triple bottom line audit to assess social, economic and environmental impacts - making the President's Medal the most prestigious in the country. Find out more about the President's medal in this recent article

 

ED HALMAGYI'S PAN-ROASTED COBIA WITH GARDEN PEAS AND OLIVES RECIPE

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Food
The Top 5 BYO Restaurants in Perth
Words by Ben Hallinan on 9 Oct 2017
Here are the best BYO restaurants in Perth and the wines you should take along with you. Looking for the perfect restaurant to take your favourite wine to in Perth? To find out where you should enjoy your favourite drops, we asked a local Perth foodie and wine blogger, two of our favourite West Australian winemakers and Dave Mavor from the Wine Selectors Tasting Panel . Viet Hoa Could this be the best Vietnamese in Perth? Recommended by Ryan Gibbs, owner and viticulturist at Aylesbury Estate “Viet Hoa is one of those Perth icons that never disappoints. Pairing tasty, traditional Vietnamese with fast and friendly service is perfect for a casual dinner with a nice glass of Geographe wine . The Pho is great, as is the shaking beef salad, which is loaded with fresh herbs and lemongrass making it great with a crisp and citrussy Aylesbury Sauvignon Blanc .” Corkage: free Unit 1, 349 William St, Northbridge Visit the Viet Hoa website Dough Pizza
Inspired by the pizzerias in Naples, this Italian pizza shop in Northbridge serves up traditional wood fired pizza. Recommended by Casey, wine blogger at The Traveling Corkscrew “It's no surprise pizza is the specialty at Dough. I always like to take a nice bottle of Prosecco with me, as the refreshing crispness of the bubbles complement the thin, crispy wood-fired bases and the stringy mozzarella on the pizzas perfectly. If you are more of a fan of red, then a wine made from Sangiovese or Nero d’Avola would be a great choice. My philosophy when it comes to international cuisine and wine matching is to stick with their local wines (if possible), or wines made from grape varieties that originate from their shores to ensure a tasty match.” Corkage: $6.50 per bottle  434A William St, Perth 6000 Visit the Dough Pizza website Uncle Billy’s This Perth institution has served tasty Chinese until the early hours for many years and is the perfect place to bring along a crisp Western Australian Riesling . Recommended by Dave Mavor, Wine Selectors Tasting Panelist and Wine Show Judge “Whenever the Wine Selectors team is in town to run masterclasses at the Good Food & Wine Show , or to explore the many world class wine regions of WA, we always end up at Uncle Billy’s for late (sometimes very late) night Chinese. Often we have a few winemakers with us, who have brought their favourite Margaret River Chardonnay or Great Southern Riesling to pair with the great live seafood, congee or claypot dishes on the menu. While a crisp white wine is generally a good idea for Chinese food, lower tannin, fruit-focused reds like Pinot Noir , Merlot and Grenache can pair perfectly with richer, less spicy dishes like sweet & sour, chao zhou style duck and sizzling satay.” Corkage: $6.00 per bottle 9/66 Roe St, Northbridge Visit the Uncle Billy’s website Bistro Felix Wine
Charming French bistro and wine bar that hosts weekly BYO Cellar Nights. Recommended by Michael Ng, senior winemaker at Ironcloud Wines “Bistro Felix is a superb restaurant with quality food and impeccable service. They have an impressively large wine list sourced from around the world, but if you’d like to bring along a special bottle you’ve been saving for a special occasion, then their BYO Cellar Nights , held every Tuesday, are the perfect chance. I might be biased, but I think the Ironcloud Cabernet Malbec 201 4 is the perfect choice to go toe-to-toe with their rich, French inspired menu.” Corkage: $12 per bottle (Tuesday only) 118-120 Rokeby Rd, Subiaco Visit the Bistro Felix website Royal India 
A first class Indian restaurant with top notch service and food. Recommended by Casey, wine blogger at The Traveling Corkscrew “This West Perth curry house love their tandoori! I like to take a nice bottle of Pinot Noir with me when dining at Royal India, as the fruity and savoury elegance in the wine works well with the plentiful spices in the dishes. However, it you're more of a fan of white wine, then an off-dry Gewürztraminer , Riesling or Müller-Thurgau would be ideal choices. Corkage is more like a first-class wine service at Royal India – the staff will take care of pouring your vino (they'll make sure your glass is never empty!) and they use lovely Plumm glassware to ensure your wine is showing at its upmost best.” Corkage: $10 per bottle (Sunday to Thursday only) 1134 Hay St, West Perth 6005 Visit the Royal India website   For more Perth restaurant ideas make sure you visit Casey's very comprehensive Perth BYO restaurant list . Or, if you're heading to Melbourne or Sydney then check-out our Melbourne and Sydney BYO restaurant articles.
Wine
What's in a label?
Words by Mark Hughes on 19 Aug 2017
I recently had the privilege of watching the legendary Liverpool FC towel up Sydney FC in a soccer friendly in a private suite at ANZ Stadium courtesy of Claymore Wines . The Clare Valley winery is owned by Adelaide doctor Anura Nitchingham, who became a lifelong Liverpool fan while attending university in the northern England city back in the 80s. Since founding his own winery, he’s been able take his fandom to the next level with the Claymore Wines Liverpool FC range , hence the invite to the match. During the half-time break, with the Reds comfortably leading 3-0, I observed a young couple at the bar looking through the range of Claymore Wines on offer. “Can I try the Purple Rain Sauvignon Blanc …I just love Prince,” the young lass asked of the barmaid. “I’ll have the London Calling,” said he, seemingly unaware of the varietal. It’s a Cabernet Malbec blend, by the way, and a good one, having recently won Platinum  at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Besides football, Anura’s other great love is music. So instead of having wines like a ‘single vineyard Shiraz’, Claymore’s labels bear the name of some of Anura’s favourite songs and albums, such as the Dark Side of the Moon Shiraz, Joshua Tree Riesling and Voodoo Child Chardonnay. “I just wanted to have some fun,” Anura tells me when I ask him the reasoning behind the labels. “After all, wine is meant to be fun, right?” Marketing Wine to Millennials
While it does seem fun, Claymore’s labels seem to fly in the face of traditional wine marketing, where the producer’s logo is consistent across all their wines and information such as varietal, origin and vintage is first and foremost. “It was a struggle early on because the inconsistent branding was deemed anti-marketing,” admits Claymore’s general manager, Carissa Major. “But once we explained the story, we had a more personal conversation with the customer. Now, people come to our cellar door, pick up a Bittersweet Symphony (Cab Sav) and say, ‘this is from my generation, I get it’. The labels were never meant to be a gimmick, they are the sound track to Anura’s life. But marketing-wise today, they present exciting opportunities rather than barriers.” Recent studies from California State University help explain the marketing swing. Researchers looked at the fastest growing buyer market in wine – millennials – people born after 1980, so termed because they hit maturity at the turn of the millennium. This generation is cashed up, brand savvy and, most importantly, they are on the verge of overtaking baby boomers as the biggest buyers of wine. The university study found that millennials prefer wine labels that are brightly coloured, less traditional, more graphically focused and feature creative brand names. If you’re a wine producer listening to a baby boomer marketer, maybe it’s time to think outside the box. The story of Fowles Wine’s Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch is a great example. The label shows an art deco-style image of a lady in her finery out for a hunt. “My wife designs the labels and we actually took advice from a leading marketer about whether this was a good idea. Their response? No!,” explains Fowles Wines owner, Matt Fowles. “We ultimately disagreed and released the wines, but it was useful advice in the sense that it was liberating. We thought, if there is no place in the market for this, then we should just do the designs we really love, so we did. It was all a bit of fun and, surprise, surprise, they sell well.” Art for art’s sake
Riverland producer Delinquente Wine Co. has taken label art in an even more contemporary direction channelling a punk ethos on their wines such as The Bullet Dodger Montepulciano and the Screaming Betty Vermentino. “The starting point with the artwork for Delinquente was to do something very different to traditional wine labels, but also to represent things we have a passion for, like street art and alternative culture,’ says winemaker/owner Con-Greg Grigoriou. “The art represents our ideas and allows us to connect with people in an interesting way. We all know a ‘Screaming Betty’, or would at least like to party with her. So they have taken on a life of their own.” Not everyone is a fan. Seventy-nine-year-old wine critic James Halliday described Delinquente Wines as setting “the new low water-mark” for labels in Australia. But he likes their wines. And that’s the thing, the wine has to be good to get the buyer to keep coming back. These days, wine is fashion and bottle shop aisles are the catwalks. Marketing a label is just as important as the wine inside the bottle. Get both right and you could just make it. Traditionalists will most likely continue to stock their cellars with family crested bottles. The millennials crave new and exciting. As for me, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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