Tag Archives: tamburlaine organic wines

A Drink of the Gods!

16 Sep

So, last post I chatted to y’all about the food.

The spread we’re putting on gives everyone a chance to eat something we think they’d enjoy, so we’re pretty happy with our choice!

Another thing Mr Big and I needed to mull over was the beverages, and this task was a lot easier for us than the catering. At Tamburlaine, the packages include wine, sparkling wine, beer, soft drinks, and juice. They probably have water there as well (it’s just not stated on the package). We’ve also requested sparkling grape juice for the pre-teens who want something sparkly to drink during toasts (or just during the party).

The wine to be drunk will be either from the Wine Lovers Range or the Members Reserve from Tamburlaine Wines. The wines are said to be organic, and therefore, the hangover is meant to be less severe. We’ll be going for the Wine Lovers Range and over the course of the planning year-and-a-half, have sampled the wines.

Like the food, there were several things we needed to consider for our guests:

  1. My family and friends aren’t big wine drinkers. The wine I do manage to get them to drink are mostly the sweeter wines – Moscato, late harvest Rieslings, and botrytis.
  2. Mr Big is a BIG red wine drinker, which is ironic since he’s a Kiwi, and the Kiwi climate is better suited for white wines and milder reds, like the Pinot Noir. His favourite red drink is the Shiraz.
  3. I’m a white wine drinker. I love my sweeter wines, but really don’t mind anything else. I like my wines to be milder, and can drink red wines with a softer character.
  4. There will be Kiwis there, so we need to accommodate for them too. New Zealand is known for their white wines, specifically Sauvignon Blanc and Rieslings. That means we need a good range of white wines which will please the Kiwi palette.
  5. Not everyone is a wine drinker, so we needed some alcoholic beverages which weren’t wine. Enter my dad, who knows his beers
  6. There will be kids there and teenagers under 18! We needed to ensure they were happy with their drinks too. (The legal drinking age is 18 in Australia, as opposed to 21.)

With all of that said, here is what we’ll be drinking:

White Wines:

Red Wines:


Light beer: Hahn Light

Standard beers: (choice of 2)

  • Tooheys New
  • Pure Blonde

Spirits: On a per consumption basis of $7 / nip

Non-alcoholic Drinks:

  • Orange juice
  • Water
  • Soft drinks
  • Sparkling grape juice

First off, let’s go through why we chose those particular wines.

Basically, these are the wines that showcased the flavours of Tamburlaine, and particularly, of Australia. I’m not patriotic (although I do like Australia), but we thought it would be pretty bad form to give Kiwis Sauv Blancs and Rieslings from an Australian winery. Hunter Valley is known for their Verdelhos, so we wanted to showcase this by using the Verdelho as a wine. The Marsanne was chosen because it was unique – it was mild, flavoursome, and easy-drinking. The Late Harvest Riesling was chosen for my family and friends – it’s not too heavy, it’s mildly sweet, and so, good to drink for those who aren’t really into wine but wanted to drink something alcoholic other than beer.

The red wines were easy to choose. Shiraz was chosen because Mr Big loves it, and it’s his wedding. He felt bad for wanting to choose it, since not everyone is a Shiraz-drinker, but I told him that, if we were going to have a wedding, the Shiraz needed to be present. The GSM is similar to the Marsanne – it’s unique, mild and easy to drink. I love drinking the GSM because it makes me feel classy, without the heaviness of the Shiraz. The Rose was again, another easy choice. It’s a red drink, but it’s not heavy like most reds. It’s a good one for my friends and family who don’t drink too much and want something mild.

Both sparkling wines were chosen simply because they’re awesome. Who doesn’t love drinking a bubbly beverage? What’s even better is Tamburlaine will be adding splashes of fruit juices to their Vintage Blanc de Blanc during cocktail hour to add some extra flavour. The Scarlett Bubbles is the closest thing Tamburlaine have to a Moscato, so I know my friends will be chugging that one down.

The rest of the drinks are pretty self-explanatory. For those who don’t drink wine, we have beer. Mr Big and I aren’t too fond of beer. He can drink it, I can barely drink it (read: get halfway through one bottle and give the rest to Mr Big). My dad, a big beer drinker, suggested those three, so we decided to go with his choices, since we trust him wholeheartedly!

The non-alcoholic drinks will be for our guests ages 0-17. My junior bridesmaid/Groom’s Homie Oddball will be of that group, so they’ll be drinking fruit juices, soft drinks, sparkling grape juices, and perhaps even water. We wanted to make sure the kids were happy with the choices of drinks, so we added the sparkling grape juice, particularly for the pre-teens like Oddball.

Spirits, unfortunately, are dished out on a per-consumption basis of $7 per nip. I’m sort of glad about this, because I don’t want (too many) shots at the wedding. If our bridesmaids or groomsmen buy a round of nips for a round of shots, well, ok, that’s their choice, but I’m not a big spirit drinker to begin with (it goes STRAIGHT to my head) so I’m sort of happy that spirits are on a per consumption basis…

And that’s our drinks folks! What do you think? Did we consider our guests? Do you think it’s good that Mr Big and I chose the Shiraz over, say, a Merlot? Do you think anyone will be bummed out that the spirits will be on a per consumption basis?

Balancing the Banquet

14 Sep

(Alternate Title: The Bighorns versus The Food)

Between my Masters work, the wedding, and Life, I began thinking about menu options. At the four-month mark of the wedding, I decided it’ll be good to knock a few things out of the way. One of those was something Mr Big and I excitedly discussed EVERY time we thought about our venue: the food.

Now Tamburlaine provides catering and drinks in a package, so that the bridegroom couple don’t have to worry about finding their own catering company. Plus side – we don’t have to do the additional searching. Not-so-much-a-plus-side, that meant we HAD to use their company. But after mulling over the menu, we concluded that they sounded delicious, and so, we settled with Tamburlaine, comfortable with the menu and the catering company they use, Wine Country Catering.

Unfortunately, we then found out (after putting a deposit down) that the catering company no longer does tastings (BALLS!!!) which completely bummed us out (we wanted to taste some food dammit!). The catering company, however, is known as one of the most prestigious catering companies for corporate, weddings, and other events, so we concluded that we weren’t worried about the quality of the food.

The most difficult for us in this foodie journey, being lovers of food ourselves, is choosing the food.

Let me just post a few pictures of the foods from Wine Country Catering to demonstrate what I mean:

Steamed asparagus with Persian feta tartlet served with honey roasted tomato and chilli jam. / Image from The Barrel Room.

Fromage Blanc tart with peanut brittle and Persian fairy floss // Image from The Barrel Room.

I don’t know what this is, but it looks good / Image taken from The Barrel Room.

Uhm, can people say, yes please!

So, from those pictures above, you can see that Mr Big and I had a pretty tough choice on our hands. Luckily, there were a few things that helped us choose:

  1. Chinese weddings often serve seafood only as that is believed to bring good fortune and prosperity to the bridegroom couple
  2. Not all of our guests can have seafood only, for example, the mother-of-the-groom and the groom himself dislike eating lots of seafood, and some of our guests have a severe allergy to certain types of seafood
  3. Some of our guests are picky regarding certain meats, for example, BM Cupcakes doesn’t eat beef and lamb, Groom’s Homie Oddball doesn’t eat lamb, we have three vegetarians, and one of our photographers is vegan.
  4. Some of our guests are lactose intolerant and another is allergic to chocolate, so dessert needed to be carefully considered.
  5. We’ll have children there! So they need to be kept happy and fed.

Now, in order to ensure that point 1 could be met, to an extent, we needed some seafood options. However, we had to cater for point 2. Point 3 meant that we also had to have a meat that everyone could eat. Point 4 meant that dessert needed to be carefully considered. And so, with all of that, we decided on the following:

  • V – vegetarian
  • SF – seafood

Canapés: (choice of 4)

  • Potato rosti with roasted beef and caramelised onion
  • Spinach and pinenut filo pastry parcels (V)
  • Satay chicken skewers
  • Roma tomato and fresh basil on garlic bruschetta (V)

Entrée: (choice of 3)

  • Smoked salmon, potato and rocket salad served with horseradish cream and capers (SF)
  • Slow cooked pork belly salad with braised cabbage, sautéed bok choy and an orange soy dressing
  • Tempura battered king prawns with Asian greens and honey/chilli sauce (SF)

Mains: (choice of 3)

  • Herb-crusted perch fillet, baked with lemon and parsley beurre blanc served on creamy mashed potato (SF)
  • Corn-fed chicken supreme filled with pinenuts, spinach and feta on linguine pasta with basil pesto cream sauce
  • Roast of soy and thyme beef rib eye served with roasted chateaux potatoes, dutch carrots and seasonal vegetables

Dessert: (choice of 2)

  • Fromage blanc tart with peanut brittle and Persian fairy floss
  • White and Dark chocolate terrine with raspberry coulis and fresh seasonal berries

Tea and coffee at a station which where the cake will be plated up for our guests.

And in keeping with point 5, we chose the “party platter” for the kiddies, so they get a selection of things to eat.

Children’s Options

  • Party platter – nuggets, party pies, frankfurts, etc.

Dessert: Vanilla ice cream with chocolate toppings (other flavours available upon request)

As for the vegetarians, we got a general consensus from our vegetarian guests and settled on this:

Vegetarian Options


  • Steamed asparagus with Persian feta tartlet served with honey roasted tomato and chilli jam


  • Sweet potato and fresh herb gnocchi with a saffron cream sauce, fresh shaved grana padano

Hopefully our guests like the food! We’re certainly excited!

In the next post, I’ll talk about every adult’s favourite things at weddings: BOOZE (and non-alcoholic drinks).

So what do you guys think of the menu?

A Place to Party: Venue-finding

4 Nov

Last time I left you with a list of potential venues, but we didn’t have anything solid just yet. The Sebel Kirkton Park Hotel was a great place, but there were a few things that Mr Big and I believed didn’t really work for our wedding. At the same time, we had also been looking at two other venues which I haven’t mentioned: the Hunter Valley Gardens and Tamburlaine Organic Wines. As you may have guessed, the Sebel Kirkton Park, the Hunter Valley Gardens (HVG) and Tamburlaine made up our top-three venues.

During our search, I had stumbled across the HVG…

hvg_ben adams

The Border Garden. Image via Polka Dot Bride. Photography by Ben Adams Photography.

…and Mr Big stumbled across Tamburlaine.


Tamburlaine Winery, exterior. Image via Polka Dot Bride. Photography by Cavanagh Photography.

The reception venues were both beautiful and, like the Sebel, there were pros and cons for them both. Before we move on, our criteria for the reception venues were:

  • Needs to comfortably fit approximately 120-150 guests with room left for a dance floor and a live band.
  • Allowed guests to move around freely inside and outside.
  • Has good wine and food!

We compared the two venues, including the potentiality of having the ceremony and reception at both, and this is what we came up with:

The Hunter Valley Gardens

The Hunter Valley Gardens (HVG) is a massive privately-owned garden which allows public entry (at a price, but that’s reasonable). It has a working restaurant onsite, the Garden Terrace, right next to one of the mini-gardens. Mr Big and I didn’t get to take a step inside as the wedding coordinator instead took us to the ceremony venues (more on that later!) but we checked out the specs through the website and the package given to us.

hvg_garden terrace

Unfortunately the best image I could find of the Garden Terrace. Image taken from the Hunter Valley Gardens official website, showing the Garden Terrace (left) and the outside courtyard and amphitheatre (right). Photography by Photography on Hermitage.

The Yays!

  • Definitely has some inside and outside flow, with an outside terrace that overlooks the Oriental Garden
  • There’s an amphitheatre outside specifically for the dance floor and a live band
  • The menu items look delish!
  • They give you discounts on ceremonies if you hold your reception there also

The Boos!

  • The room fits approximately 110 guests seated on round tables, so it doesn’t fit one of our criteria
  • About 60% of the menu items seemed to be too “fine dining”
  • The price per head wasn’t exactly reasonable

The Bighorn Conclusion: We loved the ceremony spaces, but the reception space wasn’t exactly what we had in mind. It didn’t fit our approximated guest list and the price per head was what ultimately made us change our mind. Otherwise, it’s a wonderful place for a smaller wedding.

With that, let’s move on to the next venue.

Tamburlaine Organic Wines

Tamburlaine Organic Wines is a working winery. They’re Australia’s largest producer of organic wines and began in the Hunter Valley in 1966. As such, they have vineyards located on their Hunter Valley property which have been used for photography by many weddings.


The vineyards onsite at Tamburlaine. Image via the Tamburlaine official website. Photography by Kelly Luker.

Onsite they have the Member’s Lodge where they hold receptions for weddings.


The Member’s Lodge at dusk. Image taken from the Tamburlaine official website. Photography by Renee Moore.

The Yays!

  • The venue fits up to a maximum 180 guests.
  • The venue practically looks after itself, with flexible packages which allow the couple to guide the look and feel of the wedding
  • There’s a wraparound porch around the Member’s Lodge with a sitting area
  • The menu is both extensive and delicious

The Boos!

  • If we invite 170 guests, we won’t have room for a live band
  • The walls are a dark blue, so may clash with specific colour schemes
  • Sparklers are considered a fire hazard, and therefore, a no-no

The Bighorn Conclusion: This fit everything we needed: it was big, but not too big; it was flexible; it had the seamless open-plan flow; a good food and wine selection; the ability to have a live band; and finally, great customer service.

I may be biased when I say this, but Tamburlaine had won our hearts hands down. Initially, we were super bummed about the sparklers, worried about the dark blue, and apprehensive about the guest count, but in the end, it really did all work out. With the flexibility, customer service, and the beauty of Tamburlaine, we decided to pay our deposit for Tamburlaine in October 2012 (more than a year before our wedding!).

We’re super happy with our choice and can’t wait to celebrate at Tamburlaine with our nearest and dearest.