And the 2018 Regional Showcase winners are …

Our Top 15 finalists were an impressive bunch. Now the votes are in and the winners of Brand South Australia’s Regional Showcase program have been announced.

The Tumby Bay Progress Association took home the People’s Choice Award for its efforts in transforming the Eyre Peninsula seaside town’s stunning silo mural.

Another volunteer-run community group, the Brinkworth Progress Association, won the Community Award for its hard work in recent years to improve facilities in the quiet Mid North town.

The Business Award went to Eyre Peninsula power service company Cowell Electric, a bust to boom company employing more than 100 people across its Cowell and Olympic Dam sites.

Individual success stories from across regional SA were celebrated at Brand South Australia’s annual statewide celebration evening on October 26 at one of the state’s hottest new attractions, the multimillion-dollar Bend Motorsport Park in Tailem Bend.

The Tumby Bay art silos. Photo by Robert Lang Photography.

The remaining 12 finalists were also celebrated for their achievements in business success, innovation, and community spirit.

More than 200 people travelled to Tailem Bend from all corners of the state, including the Riverland, APY Lands, Adelaide Hills, Mid North and Eyre Peninsula.

Finalists included Port Augusta business Max Cranes, inspiring Limestone Coast restauranteur and Afghan refugee Hafeezullah Haidari, and outback ambulance volunteer Susan Pearl from historic mining town Blinman. Click here to read the Top 15 stories.

“I’d like to thank everyone who was involved, including the nominees, our team of journalists, the finalists and winners as well as the general public for reading the stories and voting,” says Brand South Australia CEO Karen Raffen.

“Of course, this special program would not be possible without the support of the councils, sponsors and each of our partners, in particular, our major partner and sponsor Primary Industries and Regions SA.”

Red earth and blue skies at Cowell Electric’s Olympic Dam site.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tim Whetstone, congratulates all winners and finalists.

“The stories of this year’s showcase program have really reflected the vital role that our regions play in the state’s economy and wellbeing,” he says.

“There are so many positive stories to uncover throughout SA, and the Regional Showcase does just that – sharing and celebrating the achievements of our regions across the state, and the world.”

ABC radio presenter Spence Denny hosted the evening. The three winners were awarded the iconic glass pear trophies which are synonymous with regional excellence and endeavour.

Brinkworth Progress Association members lay engraved pavers in time for the town’s 125th anniversary.

Community Award – Brinkworth Progress Association

This local community group is a prime example of volunteers working together for the better of their people.

The Brinkworth Progress Association in the Mid North has worked hard in recent years to beautify the town, raising money for the upgrade of visitor amenities, attractions, camping groups and walking trails.

Brinkworth has suffered a population drain in 2011, with local numbers dropping from 401 in 2006 to just 188 in 2011. But it crept back up in 2016 with 285. Could it be the efforts of local volunteers drawing people back in?

Business Award – Cowell Electric

This Eyre Peninsula business manages power stations and distribution networks, providing 2400 customers in 13 remote towns with electricity.

The business was formerly run by managing director Sue Chase who is stepping down and handing the Cowell Electric reigns to fellow regional company Ahrens.

Cowell Electric has overcome economic hardship in the past, as it faced liquidation in 2000 until Sue stepped in and steered a huge turnaround.

People’s Choice Award – Tumby Bay Progress Association

Earlier this year Tumby Bay unveiled its stunning artwork painted on the town’s giant grain silos.

The Tumby Bay Progress Association ran the project which has since become a major tourist attraction.

Painted by Argentinean artist Martin Ron over five weeks, the artwork joins a number of other works that have popped up on silos across country SA and Victoria.


HOLD UP! That’s not it for Regional Showcase. We’re always on the hunt for a good yarn, regional success stories and examples of country folk going above and beyond for their community.

Submit a story idea for the 2019 Regional Showcase, and give an individual, business or organisation the recognition they deserve.

Click here to nominate >>

These inspiring regional stories are made possible by:

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Pinot and fondue a perfect match for Hot 100 Wines winner Shaw + Smith

A wine style that’s charming wine lovers the world over will be at the centre of a discovery session presented by an international cheese judge and Adelaide Hills winery later this month.

Pinot noir, renowned for its delicacy and greater simplicity compared to bolder reds, will be on the lips of wine lovers exploring the Hot 100 Winter Harvest’s Pinot and Fondue Discovery Session.

International cheese judge and Smelly Cheese Shop founder Valerie Henbest will host the session alongside Shaw + Smith’s Dan Coward.

The Winter Harvest event on June 29–30 is the final hurrah for last year’s Hot 100 Wines South Australia awards, in which Shaw + Smith’s 2016 Pinot Noir took the crown for being the most drinkable.

The winning 2016 Pinot Noir.

In celebration of the end of the financial year, the Winter Harvest event is bringing back the Hot 100 Wines to be sampled by visitors and tasted in a number of degustation lunches, dinners and discovery sessions.

Shaw + Smith’s 2016 Pinot Noir was named the most drinkable wine out of almost 1400 drops blind-tasted by judges from across the country.

From fog-shrouded vineyards at Balhannah, Shaw + Smith’s Dan Coward sat down with Brand SA News this week to chat all things pinot and why it’s the perfect match for cheese fondue.

“The 2016 vintage was a lovely, easy vintage that produced an aromatic wine with lots of flavour,” he says.

“It’s light and delicate and with that comes drinkability as a young wine, it’s not a wine that you’d wait five to 10 years for. It can be enjoyed in its youth.”

Cheese and Fondue Discovery Session participants will be tasting French Alpine cheeses with three of Shaw + Smith’s pinot noirs, including a 2017 drop, one from its Tasmanian vineyard, and another from a back vintage.

The winning 2016 pinot (which is almost sold out) will be on offer at one of the degustation dinners, and also among the Hot 100 Wines South Australia stands.

Dan says the cheeses will be tasted at room temperature and as cheese fondue.

“Valerie tells brilliant stories about the cheese, I tell people as much about the history of pinot and why it works with the cheese,” he says.

“Our other vineyard (at Lenswood) is 500m above sea-level and we think that’s the perfect altitude, coolness and conditions for a really exciting pinot.

“Classically, you match foods with wines that are from a similar area … we’re not quite like the Alps here but a higher altitude variety like pinot goes with higher altitude cheeses.

“There tends to be higher acidity in higher altitude wines.

“The acidity will clean up your palate and cut through the fat in the cheese.”

Shaw + Smith’s winery and cellar door at Balhannah. Photo by Sia Duff.

Last year wasn’t Shaw + Smith’s first shot at Hot 100 success.

Its sister label, The Other Wine Co, won in 2015/16 with the 2015 Grenache.

Wineries making an appearance at this year’s Hot 100 Winter Harvest include Tomich Wines, Temple Bruer, Mitolo Wines, Howard Vineyard, Golding Wines, d’Arenberg, and 919 Wines.

General admission to the event is $49 and includes a Riedel wine glass.

To celebrate the Hot 100 Winter Harvest, Brand South Australia is giving away two double passes to the event.

Click here to enter before Thursday, June 21, at 5pm (AEST).

For more information on the separate degustation dinners and discovery sessions click here.

The Pinot and Fondue Discovery Session ($40) is on June 29, 7–8pm.

Header photo is Shaw + Smith’s global sales and marketing manager David Lemire, left, owner Martin Shaw and senior winemaker Adam Wadewitz. Photo by Sia Duff.

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our state by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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Regional SA tourism operators shine at national awards

Two regional South Australian tourism operators have walked away with gold medals at last Friday night’s Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.

For the second year running, luxury accommodation provider The Frames in the Riverland was crowned Australia’s best Self Contained Accommodation, while Hahndorf’s Adelaide Hills Convention Centre was named best Business Event Venue.

The Qantas-sponsored awards, announced on Friday February 23 in Perth, recognised the best in the business from around the country.

Built in 2014 in Paringa by husband and wife duo Rick and Cathy Edmonds, The Frames offers three private retreats perched on cliffs overlooking magnificent views of the Murray River.

Luxury accommodation exists not only in big cities, but in SA’s regions too.

The couple aims to raise awareness of the Murray River and the emerging boutique wine and craft product culture in the Riverland, SA’s food bowl region.

“To be recognised among the best tourism offerings in Australia is wonderful and we are proud of the opportunity to showcase the Riverland to international and domestic guests,” Cathy says.

“We wish to thank everyone for their continued support, especially our guests who are seeking secluded space to relax and reconnect.”

The Adelaide Hills Convention centre is a popular spot for business events and functions, weddings, birthdays and other celebrations.

Hahndorf family the Schirripa’s and the team at the Adelaide Hills Convention Centre also celebrated a gold medal win for Business Event Venue.

The convention centre was recognised for its “world-class business event facilities and services” and for its scenic views overlooking the Hills.

Aside from the function centre, the Mt Barker Road location is also home to the Three Gums Bistro and Hahndorf Resort Tourist Park, featuring a caravan park and a range of other accommodation options.

The convention centre overlooks stunning views of the Adelaide Hills.

Eight other SA tourism operators from across the state walked away with silver and bronze medals.

SA Tourism Industry Council CEO Shaun de Bruyn says South Australians should be “extremely proud” of the world-class experiences we have on offer.

“The Qantas Australian Tourism Awards recognise the best of the best in tourism within Australia and set the benchmarks for the best business practice which all tourism business(es) should aspire to achieve,” he says.

“For SA to be awarded ten medals is a fantastic result and will further ensure our brilliant visitor experiences and magnificent regions remain on the tourism map.”

State Tourism Minister Leon Bignell says SA’s visitor economy has increased by 29% in the past four years to a record $6.3 billion, reflective of tourism operators’ dedication and passion for the industry.

Nominations for the 2018 SA Tourism Awards are open until June 25. For more information click here.

Silver award winners:

  • Calypso Star Charters (Port Lincoln) – Tourist Attractions
  • Murray River Walk (Renmark) – Ecotourism
  • Yondah Beach House (Foul Bay) – Deluxe Accommodation

Bronze award winners:

  • Santos Tour Down Under – Major Festivals and Events
  • Calypso Star Charters (Port Lincoln) – Adventure Tourism
  • Mulberry Lodge Country Retreat (Willunga) – Hosted Accommodation
  • Marree Hotel (Marree) – Standard Accommodation
  • Barossa Valley Cheese Company (Angaston) – Excellence in Food Tourism

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our State by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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