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Only drink Bollie or Veuve? Read this.

In 2014, David Donald, of David Donald Champagnes was knighted for his services to Champagne, into L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne, an ancient order dating from the mid 1600s. We talk to him about how his passion for champagne was ignited and his recommendations for those keen to taste-test beyond the big name bottles.

When and how did you become interested in champagne?

A cliché perhaps but it was literally the first time I had a bottle of ‘actual’ champagne as opposed to just bubbles. It was 1989 and I had just moved to Auckland after nine years in London and old mates from Brisbane, the Go-Betweens, were touring. I had offered to take them out to the beach for the day, and on route, Willsteed (the bass player) demanded “We must have champagne!” After sharing a couple of bottles of Pol-Roger, I was hooked. Not really in my budget at the time, but I knew that there was much more to champagne than I had ever imagined, and couldn’t wait to try more!

Are we too unadventurous when it comes to buying champagne? 

‘Champagne’ is arguably the most well-known global brand.  The larger houses spend an enormous amount on promotion as champagne can engender the most powerful brand loyalty. How often do you hear people say ‘I only drink Bolli or I only drink Veuve’? I believe this stems from that first great bottle of bubbles that the person experienced, whether it was the occasion or the taste itself. As most Champagne houses seek to produce a consistent wine in their own unique house style, the consumer knows what to expect. If you were going to purchase a bottle of champagne as a gift, would you choose a wine that the recipients were unfamiliar with, no matter how good it may be? Brand recognition is a strong deciding factor. Most people would be familiar with the top ten or twenty brands, but there are actually more than 4,500 producers who bottle under their label!

Here are 5 champagnes to try if you are keen to explore further….

If you like: Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose try….  Marc Hebrart  Brut Rose Premier Cru NV.

One of only 5 Champagne producers to be listed in ‘Wine and Spirits’ Magazines ‘Top 100 Wineries of the World.’  A fascinating comparison with Billecart as it is the same premier cru village, the same blend of 50% Chardonnay/ 50 % Pinot Noir and I have often served them together blind, I think you can guess which one has always come out on top. Brighter, more vibrant fruit and quite a difference in price. Take advantage before he becomes too famous!


If you like: Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve try…. Dumenil Grande Reserve  Premier Cru Brut NV.

One of my favourite Grand Marque NV’s has always been Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV, and the reason why I love it, is that has one of the highest levels of reserve wines which account for about 40%. The use of reserves gives a core layer of depth and complexity, while still retaining freshness. As an alternative you must try Dumenil, a label established in 1874, and the great grand-daughter is in charge today, and is one of the leading female leaders in Champagne. The Dumenil policy is that for all non-vintage wines must have a minimum of 50% reserve wines in the blend and it shows! If the non-vintage blend reflects the house style and quality, you will not be disappointed by any of the cuvees, a house that deserves much greater recognition, and this is the first time they have been available in Australia


If you like: Moet Brut Imperial or Pol Roger Brut NV try…. Champagne Salmon Montogolfiere Brut NV

A similar blend but what stands out is how it jumps out of the glass and instantly puts a smile on people’s faces! I’m a huge fan of Salmon’s more serious cuvees (they have 5 different 100% Meunier releases) but when shown at a group tasting, this was the wine that grabbed everyone’s attention. The Montgolfiere (hot-air balloon) is Salmon’s house symbol. For three generations, winemaking duties have been passed down from father to son, with all three family members still involved with production today. They are all qualified and mad keen balloonists, and this cuvee is homage to their combined love of the vines and the sky. The perfect accompaniment should you ever be ballooning!


If you like: Taittinger, Pommery or Laurent Perrier try…. Champagne Nomine-Renard  Brut Nomine NV

Nomine-Renard first came to my attention when they came third out of 118 entries in a blind tasting of non-vintage champagnes in Decanter magazine. Renowned for their NV blends, there is a purity and refinement, guaranteed to give pleasure and a smile to the face. Elegance personified.


If you like: Bollinger or Louis Roederer try….Champagne Mouzon-Leroux ‘Atavique’ Verzy Grand Cru NV

Sebastien Mouzon is one of the rising stars of Champagne gaining an almost cult-like status amongst serious collectors. All fruit is sourced from their biodynamic vineyards in the grand cru of Verzy. Partly fermented in oak with no filtration or fining and minimal use of sulphur – this is the perfect expression of Verzy fruit. The wine is lifted, powerful and complex with a core of minerality and a creamily textured mouthfeel. This is a producer to watch



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Eating & Drinking Ipswich.. by Helicopter

It feels incredibly fragile. An insubstantial glass bubble, a giant’s toy. Surely, incapable of carrying humans up into the sky or touching down gently on the earth without shattering into a thousand shards? But, take off it does, and gradually my fists unclench and my stomach unties itself and I open my eyes to look down with awe at a landscape so familiar yet, from up here so strangely different. Captain Mike Jarvis of Pterodactyl Helicopters has been doing this for a reassuringly long time, although the food tours (and a beer pub crawl) he offers are relatively new.

The region of Ipswich encompasses the city itself as well as 1000 or so square kilometres of rural townships and farmlands, including Rosewood, Marburg, Grandchester and Peak Crossing. It’s a place I know well, having grown up here, moving away in my early 20s, desperate for brighter lights and more sophistication than Ipswich could offer. Things have changed though, I discover as we lunch at The Cottage, a city-smart fine diner housed in an historic former home dating from the 1860s.  Our dishes of duck breast with du Puy lentils and a 48 hours butter-soft pork belly quickly disprove my long held belief that Ipswich is a culinary backwater.

 After lunch, we lift off from the helicopter pad from where I can see my old primary school and fly west, to Purga. Derived form the local Yugara / Yugarabu language for ‘meeting place’ and once home to an aboriginal mission, today it is location of one of Ipswich’s handful of wineries.  A huge mob of kangaroos; muscly males and more delicate females, many with joeys tucked into their pouches scatter as Captain Mike banks the helicopter (a Robinson R44 he tells me) and we touch down in a paddock. A few minutes later, we are tasting our way through the the shiraz and chardonnays at Ironbark Ridge Vineyard’s cellar door. There’s also some grenache as well as smaller parcels of marsanne, rousanne and viognier in addition to some experimental plantings of dolcetto, verdelho and nebbiolo.

There’s an impressive cellar, and some newly planted vines in the grounds of Woodlands of Marburg, our next stop. It’s a grand property, designed by architect George Brockwell Gill and used over the past two centuries as a private home and seminary.  We have tea and scones under a shady jacaranda on the lawn then explore the property, that includes a grotto (open-air chapel cave) and a cemetery from its days as a seminary during World War II.  The most recent addition to the property is a small vineyard with its own label of boutique wines, as well as the relocation and restoration of the local townships’ 19th century chapel.

As well as grapes, Ipswich grows olives. We land in a clearing on the property and climb into Bernard Mahon’s 4 wheel drive to drive up to the farmhouse. Watercress Creek began life as a dairy, but 130 years later,  Bernard, a fourth generation farmer, along with wife Lorraine Mahon transformed it into an olive and lime grove with over 1,200 olive trees and 400 Tahitian Lime trees. We taste both green and black, manzanillos and kalamatas, as well as an excellent tapenade. The couple also make olive oil, lime cordial, chutneys and jams and host an annual ‘Watercress Creek Olive Festival.’

We climb back into the helicopter and fly over gently undulating hills and herds of grazing cattle, lakes, waterholes and green fields of crops and within minutes, we’re dropped, literally at the door of our accommodation for the night, the country-luxe cottages at Spicer’s Hidden Vale where staff wait for us with a bottle of prosecco. Later we explore the grounds, that include a kitchen garden and smoking and fermenting sheds, have a dip in the outdoor spa and watch the sun set over the hills with a drink. Then it’s dinner at Spicer’s own hatted restaurant, with it’s hyperlocal produce menu, before strolling back to our cottage under the brilliant star-scattered night sky.

The next morning dawns beautifully clear with wide blue skies- ideal for flying. Unfortunately, our ride has returned to base, in it’s place our car has been delivered.  Not nearly as evocative, but it does give us more time to take in the lovely rural landscape albeit at much slower pace.

More Ipswich Food & Drink

If you’re in the city, you should also make a point of visiting the Pumpyard Bar and Brewery, in the beautifully restored former technical college, dating 1901 and home to Ipswich’s own ‘4 Hearts’ craft beer.

Book a farm tour at Naughty Little Kids at Peak Crossing. The goats, including incredibly cute babies, are adorable and the gelato made from the milk is delicious (the espresso is a favourite).

Also check out Arcadia (modern Greek) and the hearty German fare on offer at Heisenberg House, along with a range of German beer.

Ipswich has some lovely historic pubs. In the city, Harvest at the Metro Hotel showcases local produce on it’s gastro-pub menu.

As well as food and wine tours, Pterodactyl Helictopters can pick you up from Brisbane and deposit you at Spicers Hidden Vale for Effervescence Champagne Festival, even delivering your car. Contact them for prices.


Natascha Mirosch was a guest of Discover Ipswich.  

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How to Open your Champagne with a Sword.

Champagne educator Amanda Reboul drinks a lot of champagne (professionally of course!). Sometimes, she opens them like the rest of us, removing the foil and the wire cage before easing the cork out with (hopefully), a gentle pop.

But at others times, she takes a gold-hilted ceremonial sword from its case and simply strikes the top of the bottle and cork right off.

Amanda is a Chavalier-Sabreur, a Dame Knight of Sabrage, an order bestowed on her in 2001 by French organisation La Confrerie du Sabre’ d’Or (The Brotherhood of the Golden Sabre.)  Since she first learned the noble art in Chantilly in 1999 she estimates she’s sabered ‘hundreds if not thousands’ of bottles. It may be an ancient art, but sabering is becoming increasingly popular way to celebrate an occasion with flair and drama.

“There are some people who say sabrage is the only way to open a bottle,” Amanda says. “But, any big festivity is perfect – a wedding, graduation, birthday, anniversary or birth of a child.”

Sabering Legends

There are a few legends about the origins of the sabrage. One says that during the Napoleonic war it was considered a service to their country for people to house the French soldiers as they crossed the country on horseback. When the soldiers passed through Champagne, they would stay at the bigger champagne houses, because they had enough room to lodge them. The widow Clicquot was considerd very beautiful and the soldiers would try to impress her as they rode off for the day. She would give them a ration of a bottle each upon leaving, and the soldiers would take the sword from it’s scabbard and knock the top of the bottle off.

Less romantic, but sounding more likely, is that the cellar master would stand at the bottom of the stairs down to the cellars and sabre bottles towards the enemies coming down to raid the cellars. A flying cork and broken glass is a very effective defence mechanism!

Don’t Try This at Home

The most dangerous part of sabering is making sure no one is in the line of fire when the glass neck and cork fly (the latter can travel at around 100km per hour). The saber used is actually blunt (it’s about how and where you strike rather than ‘cutting’ the bottle,) and the internal pressure (100 psi) of the bottle always ensures that no glass falls back into the bottle making it safe for consumption. Having said that, we don’t recommend that you attempt sabering a bottle unless you’ve been properly taught.

Want a Learn How?

If you’re coming to Effervescence (August 13, 2017),  just buy a bottle of your choice from our champagne cave on the day and bring it to the allotted sabering area (check the program in your gift bag for times). Amanda will demonstrate sabering and you can have a go with your own bottle.

Where can I get my own Saber?saber. Champagne

Once you’ve mastered sabering, you might want to buy your own saber. You can get one here:

Imported from a master cutler in France, they are works of art and cost $525








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Does she have the world’s best job? Introducing Champagne Jacquart’s chef de cave… Floriane Eznack

Born in Charentes, near Bordeaux, Floriane Eznack became cellarmaster for Jacquart in 2011, aged just 30,  one of only a few female chef de cave (cellarmaster) in the Champagne region. We talk to her about what it’s like to have a hand in creating one of the world’s most loved wines.

What is a chef de cave?

As chef de cave, it is my job to know what the future of our wines will be in ten and twenty years’ time…I work for the future of Champagne Jacquart and for the person who will be my successor which is both exciting and challenging!

I oversee the entire process: from winemaking to promotion.  The main mission of a Cellar Master is to be responsible for the consistency of the flagship wine and style of a House.  Secondly, the Champagne winemaker has to anticipate the ageing of the wine. After creating the blend, the wine is aged for a minimum of three years in bottles on thin lees to gain richness and complexity. There is no possible way to act on the style after bottling: you have to anticipate the change when you create it.

We need to consider the terroir, improve the quality year after year, share our knowledge and offer a lot of pleasure to the consumers.

Have you ever felt any discrimination because of your sex?

The Champagne industry is more and more open to women but it’s true that it’s still very dominated by men.

I know quite a few women winemakers all around the world, but not many as cellar masters or chief winemakers – there’s only a few of us in Champagne. The three cellar masters – all men – that I work with to create the Jacquart blends are great: their expertise, knowledge and gentleness make me feel confident.

We share the same passion and when you share the same passion and vision with your team, being male or female doesn’t make any difference.

What’s the best part of your job?

I am making, sharing, and drinking Champagne every day!

What is Jacquart’s flagship wine?

The Brut Mosaïque (aka Mosaic).

Inspired by the millions of pieces of enamel meticulously pieced together by the artists, the Jacquart style is a delicate blend of a number of parcels that requires patience and a delicate hand.

The blend, made up of the three classic grapes varieties is sourced from 40 to 50 different crus.

To ensure its consistency, complexity and smooth finish, the brut Mosaïque has a high proportion of reserve wines (30% minimum) and is slowly aged for almost four years on lees in our cellars.

The Brut Mosaïque is created to be spontaneously pleasant with its pure, clean and elegant style. It’s the ideal champagne to accompany your traditional appetizers for aperitif.

Why does champagne hold such a special place in our hearts? 

Champagne is a joyful wine, surrounded by positive vibes.

Every day occasion is an event enough to open and share a nice bottle of Champagne: The end of a long day or a long week, a surprise guest, a good news, a bad news to cheer up, the spleen, just because you want to share it but always in moderation.


What are some  common misconceptions around champagne?

In France and in Europe where messages are more frequent, stronger, champagne is finally considered as a wine and not only as luxurious bubbles of celebration.  We now taste champagne for aperitif or during a meal rather than on a far too much sweetened dessert!

What would you advise someone who wanted to learn more about champagne?

Do not forget what wine and especially Champagne is all about: Pleasure and Discovery.

Visit the websites or blogs of highly knowledgeable champagne lovers, attend seminars given by winemakers or wine journalists. Attend wine events and read great books on champagne.  And finally, discover the diversity of champagne by tasting new brands – ask for suggestions in your bottle shop.
Come and taste the fruits of labour of Floriane and her team at this year’s Effervescence (August 13) tickets now on sale  here  or for the VIP weekend package here

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When it comes to champagne – Australians stick with what they know

Australians love champagne, with figures just released showing the country is still holding strong as the 7th biggest market in the world and the largest outside of Europe; popping the corks on around 7 million bottles each year.

There’s a reluctance to stray from the familiar however, with major champagne houses dominating sales.

Conversely, grower champagne; those who both grow the grapes and make the wine as opposed to buying the grapes, make up less than 1% of total champagne sales in Australia. This is despite the fact there are around 5000 ‘grower-producers’ in the Champagne region.

“The fact that grower champagne sales are so insignificant compared to the better known houses, is a shame, but not surprising. Champagne is a luxury item and as such, people are prefer to put their ‘investment’ into buying a well-known brand,” says champagne educator Amanda Reboul.

There’s a quiet revolution underway however. Thanks in part to support by sommeliers, diners are slowly becoming more willing to experiment with champagne. Like Brisbane’s prestigious Aria Restaurant.

“We only stock around 8 of the major names compared to about 20 grower and smaller prestige champagnes,” says Ben Watson, assistant sommelier at Aria. “And we’ll often try to steer the diner to try something different. Grower champagnes tend to be a lot more focused in style and individual and can offer a lot more in the glass.”

Amanda Reboul agrees that while there is a place for both the big houses and grower champagnes, to get a true expression of terroir, we need to get a bit more adventurous.

“If people are open to tasting something new, grower champagnes are wonderful. Because they are made solely from grapes grown on their own property, the different soils and micro-climates within the Champagne region create their own distinct flavour profiles that are so much more evident in the grower champagnes.”

So, if you’re interested in expanding your knowledge and exploring some grower champagnes, here are five Amanda rates highly. (Try your local independent bottleshop like Craft Wine Store  in Brisbane’s Red Hill)

Vilmart et Cie – From the Montagnes de Reims, the pinot noirs in these champagnes have a very distinctly robust flavour. RRP $60 (Grande Cuvee), $250 (Coeur de Cuvee)

Pierre Gimmonet et Fils – Over 200 years of perfecting the production of some of the best chardonnays in Champagne. The champagnes are a true expression of elegance and finesse of the region. RRP Blanc de Blancs $75. Special Club Vintage $150

Champagne Salmon 100% Meunier  – These growers have perfected the production of meunier. Their 100% meunier  is a treat and shows the interesting fruity role that meunier brings to a blend. RRP $75

Jacques Selosse – From the Cotes de Blanc and following organic/biodynamic practices. All of the wines are vinified in oak and have very distinctive characteristics. RRP ‘Initiale’ $275/ ‘Substance’ $450

Paul Barra Brut Reserve – From the Grand Cru village of Bouzy well known for its exceptional pinot  noir. RRP $75

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Will global warming kill the champagne industry?

These photographs, by champagne enthusiast and photographer Victor Pugatschew may look strange and beautiful, but they’re not something that gladdens the hearts of champagne houses. A fortnight ago in Champagne, vineyards report temperatures plunging to as low as -7C.  The frost proceeded an unusually warm spring which saw early shooting of the vines, however it’s been estimated that up to a quarter had been destroyed.

“Vines damaged early in the season will experience a second growth above the damaged leaf, but this second growth won’t produce the same amount of fruit that the original one would have, so yield will be lower,” says champagne educator and creator of Australia’s first champagne festival, Effervescence Amanda Reboul, who was in Champagne during the frosts.

Photos by Victor Pugatschew

The loss in the Champagne has been estimated to be even worse than last year, when spring frosts and mildew took out more than 20% of vines.

“According to Hugues Godme, a grower from the Grand Cru Village of Verzenay about 30% in total have been affected,” Amanda says, “but in his case, the main impact was on the vines he used for his single vineyard releases. One of his parcels was 100% destroyed, meaning he won’t be producing that particular cuvee this coming year.”

Amanda Reboul – Champagne educator

The bigger, non-grower houses are in a better position, according to Amanda.

“Benoit Gouez, chef de cave from Moet et Chandon told me that because they have such a large buying base and are able to source grapes from a lot of places, they’re better off than the growers. But it’s a bit too soon to know if their production will be affected.”

The jury is out as to whether this is a result of climate change, or just an unusual weather event, Amanda says, but with losses for the second year in a row, it’s a debate that’s heating up an unusually frosty Champagne.


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Eat, Drink, Stay… The Champagne Region with The Bubble Diva

In 1991,  21 year old Amanda Pickering is travelling from Australia to Germany for the beginning of a backpacking trip around Europe when she finds she is seated on the plane next to a handsome, lanky, dark-haired Frenchman. That man, Corsican native Philippe Reboul was to become her husband.

Fast forward a few years, and the couple are living in Belgium, with Champagne, where Philippe’s sister-in-law lives just a 3 hour drive away.

“We spent many weekends there and the more I visited, the more I learned about the process of making champagne and my love affair was ignited,” Amanda says.

Twenty years on, Amanda is back living in Australia, but her passion for champagne burns bright. As well as having become a champagne educator, sharing her knowledge with others, she represents some of the grower champagne houses. She also leads tours to Champagne, and in 2016, created Australia’s first champagne festival, Effervescence (August 11-13, 2017).

We can’t think of anybody better suited to give hints and tips on travelling in Champagne than The Bubble Diva, Amanda Reboul– what are must do champagne houses, where to eat, drink, and stay. So here are her insights into this beautiful region.


When is the best time to visit Champagne?

Anytime is a good time for Champagne! Each season has a different personality. I love going in the spring – May/June. The weather is usually quite good by then and you can see the early bud burst on the vines – the promise of the bubbles to come! Late October is interesting – it is just after harvest, and when you visit the cellars, you can actually feel the wines fermenting. There is also usually still quite a bit of activity in the vineyards. Late September/Early October is a very busy time with the harvest going on and while interesting to see, it is very busy and can be hard to get accommodation. It’s also not a good time to visit the growers because they are busy with the harvest.

Which champagne houses would you recommend visiting?

There are so many houses to visit in Champagne – you could spend weeks there and still not see everything. However, if you only have a day or two, I would recommend going to the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay, where many of the older houses have their ‘caves’. Mercier is a great one to start with – it has a wonderful underground train set up to take you through their cellars and has the tour in English. After learning all about their history and visiting the cellars, you get to taste the champagne. Moet et Chandon has great guided tours in English. If only for the extraordinary history of the house, it is lovely to visit. Taittinger in Reims has a lovely visit, and can be booked online. A lot of the houses offer guided visits of their cellars by appointment. Check out their websites for details. After visiting the large houses, it is also interesting to go and a visit a grower champagne. No appointment is necessary, you can just drive around and see the signs in the villages that say “degustation.”

Where’s the best place to base yourself?

Champagne is full or picturesque villages. One of my personal favourites is Avize in the Cotes des Blancs – famed for its Grand Cru vineyards and excellent chardonnays. There is a lovely new Guest house/hotel ‘Les Avisés’ run by the enigmatic Anselme Selosse and his wife Corinne. His champagnes are some of the most sought after in the world, and staying at his hotel may give you the opportunity to meet the man himself. Tours are not guaranteed, though, and are only in French. I also love the village of Etoge with its 17th century chateau that was once the playground of the kings of France. You can stay in the castle, which also has an award winning fine dining restaurant. in the Montagne de Reims, the Village of Rilly is beautiful and also has a chateau that was once a champagne house, very well situated between Epernay and Reims. Equally pretty is the Foret de Verzenay – there you can visit a tree top bar, the Perching Bar, while sipping champagne on a swing!


What restaurants would you recommend in the region?

There are so many restaurants to choose from in Champagne. For very high end – Les Crayères would have to be the pick. It is a two Michelin Star restaurant in a luxury chateau in Reims. It has a brasserie ‘Le Jardin’ attached to it for the more budget conscious. For the middle range – Bistro Le 7 in Epernay – great food and an enormous selection of champagnes on the list. If brasserie eating is more your style, Le Boulingrin in Reims is the oldest brasserie in Reims and offers a real French Brasserie experience. I couldn’t really pick a favourite dish from any of these restaurants. They are all so different and are always beautifully matched with the champagne. Sommeliers really know their stuff in champagne and I have always just asked the sommelier what champagne he would suggest to go with the menu choice. It is a great way to discover new champagnes.


 What else can you do there when you’re not tasting champagne?
Although the Champagne region is mostly about champagne, there are plenty of other things to do. A visit to the Catherdral of Reims is a must – it is where all the kings of France used to be crowned. In 1429, Joan of Arc lead Charles VII to his coronation, on horseback, after leading the army to defeat the English in Orleans, and effectively bringing to an end the 100 years war. This is historically and culturally very significant. Champagne slopes, cellars and houses were World Heritage Listed in 2015. This has taken many years to achieve, and validates that Champagne is a very unique place that has historical and cultural significance. Even a drive through the countryside is a wonderful thing to do. More information of why Champagne is so unique is available on the Unesco World Heritage Site.

And if you want a taster – to have Amanda and other experts guide you through the region’s most iconic and small grower wines, with leisurely lunches, dinners and even champagne breakfasts over an indulgent weekend, there are still some places left to join her and other champagne lovers for the Effervescence VIP weekend experience at Spicer’s Hidden Vale August 11-13.



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Petanque. Like bowls but stylishly French.

You might have seen it in one of those gorgeously scenic French movies, or perhaps while travelling through the French countryside, where it seems every small village has a gravel petanque court.

Petanque was first played in 1910 Provence, in the town of La Ciotat near Marseilles, with the first  tournament organised by local café owners Ernest and Joseph Pitiot. The game spread and soon became the most popular form of boules in France.

The rules of petanque are fairly simple (and no white clothes or shoes required!).  A game of commences with a coin toss- although personally,   we prefer to signal the start with the gentle pop of a champagne cork!

The team who wins the coin toss chooses the starting location; a circle of around 50cm in diameter and selects one of their players to throw out the jack. The player then stands inside the circle and throws the jack which must land within 6 to 9 metres of the starting circle and at least a metre from any obstacles.

Then the players throw the boule, also from within the starting circle and with both feet on the ground with the aim of landing it as close to the jack as possible. A player from the opposing team then steps into the circle and attempts to land his boule closer to the jack even if it means knocking his opponents out of the way. The boule closest to the jack leads or is said to be “holding the point.” The other team must continue throwing boules until they take the lead or run out of boules.

Once a team has used all its boules, the other side is allowed to throw the rest of its boules. When all boules are thrown, the points are counted. The team that has the boule closest to the jack wins the round. In addition, they also receive a point for each boule that is closer to the jack than their opponents closest boule. Only one team scores points during a round. The winners get to choose the position of the starting circle for the next round.

The first team to earn a total of 13 points wins the game.


In Australia, the Petanque Federation Australia is the peak body for the sport with member clubs in every state apart from the Northern Territory.

If you’re in Brisbane there are 3 clubs; The Brisbane Petanque Club who play at the entrance of Kalinga Park, in Clayfield, the Brisbane Southside Petanque Club who play at  William Taylor Sportsground at Thornside and the Deception Bay Petanque Club who hold matches at Bayview Terrace, Deception Bay, all welcome new players.

And if you want to have a go, charge your glasses, make a team and have a go at the petanque court at Effervescence.

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Introducing…. ‘Mr Hollywood in Oz’.

For years, he’s graced the social pages in Brisbane publications, both writing about Queensland’s most glamorous events and people, and, as a style icon, featuring in the pages himself.

A presenter on The Great Day Out on Channel 7 , Damien Anthony Rossi, bon vivant, and champagne lover was an obvious candidate for the position of Effervescence Festival Ambassador.

Here we dig a little deeper to find out a bit more about the man known as ‘Mr Hollywood in Oz.’

So Damien, how did you come to move from the US to Brisbane?

I was a casting director in Los Angeles and at Christmas 1990 came to Brisbane to visit my Aussie partner. I loved it so much, I moved over here. Fortunately, it wasn’t too long before I was able to break into casting here – though I initially had to work as a production assistant (with my first gig being Muriel’s Wedding). I eventually established Rossi Casting Group in Milton and we cast films, television series and TV ads. I sold the company in 2006 to focus on television presenting and other opportunities in media.

Where did the nickname ‘Mr Hollywood in Oz’ come from?

That came from the late great Paul Le Mura who was the producer of the first TV show I appeared on called FMV TV- a Saturday morning entertainment review program hosted by Loretta Ryan and myself in the early 2000s.  Paul loved my “Hollywood’ accent and would often mimic it and ‘Mr Hollywood’ became his nickname for me. It eventually got picked up by the media and stuck.

As a frequent travellers, what’s your favourite travel destination?

Gosh…that’s like Sophie’s Choice! I suppose the most idyllic place I’ve been and best holiday I’ve ever had are one and the same- the Maldives, where I was fortunate enough holiday at in 2015. This would be followed very closely by Italy and then the Greek Islands.

As a champagne lover, do you have a favourite?

Champagne has been my favourite drop ever since I was old enough to indulge in it.  I remember growing up in LA and my parents hosting parties and hearing the champagne corks popping. It all seemed so very glamorous, and there seemed to always be a buzz of excitement amongst the guests. Champagne has such positive connotations and I have to say, I love its effect on me personally. A glass of bubbly has such a fantastic psychological effect – I could have had a terrible day, but the minute I start sipping a glass of champagne it all seems to wash away.  And, of course, I love the taste and the complexities of the various varieties. If I had to choose just one favourite champagne it would have to be Krug Grande Cuvee – a truly sublime drop, liquid gold.

   “I always say to people that I don’t wait for a special occasion to open a        beautiful bottle of champagne – that every day we have in this world is worth    celebrating.”

What 3 things you couldn’t live without?

Travel, sidewalk cafes and most definitely, champagne!

Tells us about your ultimate indulgent day.

Day 2 or 3 of the Effervescence Champagne Festival’s VIP Weekend Package! Alternatively, sitting on a late summer’s day at a sidewalk café in Montmartre with my partner and a beautiful bottle of Krug watching the world go by.

Who would you most enjoy sharing a long lunch with?

Oprah, Barbra Streisand and Woody Allen (Not sure how everyone would get along but it’d be memorable – at least for me!).

As Effervescence Ambassador, what were the highlights at last year’s festival? 

There were so many  – where do I begin?! I loved arriving at picturesque Spicers Hidden Vale on the Friday afternoon knowing what was in store for all of us. The excitement and anticipation in the air was palpable.

The Welcome Cocktail Party with exquisite Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque and a roaring fireplace was just the most wonderful way to kick things off. The next day’s petanque Lawn Bowls was so much fun and a great way for the VIP Weekend guests to get acquainted.

The stunning open-air long table lunch that followed set against the serene panorama of the Lockyer Valley was absolutely wonderful.

The Sunset sabrage Session was another highlight with everyone trying their hand at sabering a bottle of bubbly against the backdrop of a magnificent sunset and kangaroos hopping around in the distance. T

Sunday was spectacular with another amazing outdoor long table lunch that featured divine Krug Grande Cuvee. This lavish lunch really reminded my of something you’d do in the middle of a vineyard in the Champagne region.

And, of course, The Sunday Champagne Trail was absolutely epic – with over 250 people descending upon the Spicers property and fanning out to indulge in over 60 varieties of French champagne.

It was such an electric, convivial atmosphere – I’ve never experienced anything like it! I can’t wait to do it all over again this year!!

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