Heemskerk abel’s tempest Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2010

Heemskerk SparklingWith the festive season approaching, the liquor barn specials on champagne and sparkling whites are coming thick and fast.  And while the imported French Champagnes are generally a terrific drop, their inflated price point doesn’t always fit within the pre Christmas budget.

While they can’t call their sparkling whites “champagne”, Australian winemakers are now crafting some exceptional bubblies in the sub $30 price range.  Take, for example, the Heemskerk “abel’s tempest” 2010.

Winemaker, Anna Pooley, has masterfully balanced the abundant fruit of the Pinot Noir grape with the acid and minerality of her cool climate Tasmanian Chardonnay and retained a crisp elegance through bottle fermentation in “methode champenoise” style.

It’s a delightfully zesty bubbly which may not be as dry and yeasty as some French champagnes but which retains semi-dryness and a citric austerity through the use of greenish Chardonnay.

At around $25 to $30 a bottle, you’d rather two or three of these to one big name French Champagne!

Our wine reviewer, Travis Schultz, is managing partner of Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers and lover of fine food and wine

2008 Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon

Cape Mentelle CS300It was an accident, I swear, but when an $80 bottle of red is inadvertently misplaced in the “drink now” section of the cellar, it’s inevitably going to be unceremoniously quaffed with a mid-week stir fry.

And I knew with the first sip that this quaffer was too good to be true as the 2008 Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon displayed its dark fruit and mulberry elegance all the way across my palate and I felt compelled to grab the bottle and double check what I was drinking.  Sure enough, it seems my eyesight needs to be checked or I need better lighting in the cellar as the Cape Mentelle is not an ordinary drop.

It’s dark crimson in colour with just a hint of a brownish edge in the glass, but there’s a delightful cigar box cedary nose and a richness of fruit that belies the dusty tannins which add so much character to the finish.  I love the vanillin spiciness which epitomises good Cabernet from the Margaret River and there’s a stack of it in this opulent wine.

It will take a special occasion to open another one of these, but if you’re lucky enough to find one in your local bottle shop, it’s worth putting down for another three to five years and enjoying it at its absolute best.

ASIC’s new Business Names Register booklet

On 16th September 2013, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s (“ASIC”) released a business names register booklet to assist those with finding registered business names and guidelines for small business operators.

Questions that the booklet will explain include:

  1. What is the national Business Names Register?
  2. How do I register a business name?
  3. How do I renew a business name?
  4. Closing or selling your business?
  5. How do I update my details?
  6. How do I search the register?

The booklet is now available to download for free. Click here for a PDF copy.

If you have any questions about business names, buying or selling a business contact our commercial team today.

Couples divorcing after long marriages

Family LawAccording to information released by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) in May 2013, there has been an increase in the number of divorces after twenty or more years of marriage.

The number of couples divorcing after twenty years has increased from 13% in 1990 to 28% in 2011.

Professors Alan Hayes, AIFS’ Director stated “Divorce trends have been heavily influenced by changing social norms about remaining in unhappy marriages. There is far less social stigma today about ending a marriage and women are less reliant on men for their financial stability.”

He has also said that a number of couples filing for divorce are waiting until their children are old enough before they do so. Therefore; they have seen a decrease in the number of divorces involving children less than 18 years.

This Infographic by Watts McCray Lawyers, provides some interesting information regarding marriages, divorce & de facto relationships in Australia.

If you are experiencing hard times with a family situation, separation or divorce please contact our family law team today, they will be more than happy to assist you.

Aramis “The Governor” Syrah 2006

There’s little doubt that bad wines make the good ones seem great and vice versa, but if you ever try the Aramis “The Governor” Syrah 2006 after a glass of poorly crafted Pinot from the Yarra (like I did), you’ll seriously believe that you’ve received manna from heaven!

Aramis The Governor Syrah 4The “Governor” is probably Aramis’ flagship wine, so you’d expect it to be pretty good, and there’s no doubt that it stands head and shoulders above anything I’ve sampled recently.  The typically dark berry McLaren Vale fruit has more than a hint of chocolate and mocha on the edges and there are plenty of smoky burnt oak and liquorice flavours at the back.

It’s perhaps no surprise that Halliday gave it 94 points and it retails at around $55 a bottle, but at least it delivers a quality of finish that’s commensurate with its price point.  It’s definitely not a quaffer but if the alternative is a cheap but astringent Pinot, I’m happy to pay for quality!

Our wine reviewer, Travis Schultz, is managing partner of Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers and lover of fine food and wine

Have you considered a household workers’ insurance policy?

Household Workers' InsuranceDuring the storm season the ferocity that come with these storms can cause serious destruction and devastation to our homes and the local area. Therefore, if you live in an area that could possibly be affected by storms then it may be a good idea take out household workers’ insurance.

If your house has been damaged in anyway, it is likely that you will need to call on a contractor to assist with fixing the problems. Sometimes the damage maybe quite significant and could put the contractor at risk.

Therefore, by having household workers’ insurance it could assist you with covering all or part of the costs in the event that the worker at your house becomes injured while working. The coverage of the insurance policy will however, depend on your insurance policy provider.

Household workers’ insurance not only covers building contractors working on your house but also:

  • Cleaners who attend to cleaning at your residence
  • Gardeners who are employed to maintain the grounds of your residence
  • Babysitters
  • Renovators who have been contracted to work at your residence, even if you are not living at the house at the time
  • Anyone who has been employed to undertake any of the above through a company

A small expense could save you a lot of unnecessary trouble if something were to go wrong.

What is Debt?


Debt is when one person owes money to another person. You can fall into debt if you:

  • Borrow money to purchase goods or services
  • Purchase products or services on credit
  • Don’t pay your utility accounts in a timely manner
  • Have outstanding fees owed to doctors or medical services

Debt Disputes

Debt disputes arise when there are disagreements between parties regarding the fixed or agreed sum of money, the value can be up to and including $25,000. Some examples of debt disputes are as follows:

  • Money hasn’t been paid for the removal of overhanging branches
  • Outstanding accounts or invoices
  • Rental arrears
  • Cost of work or goods supplied already agreed upon
  • Borrow money and not repaying
  • Wages not being paid
  • IOUs
  • Dishonoured Cheques

Resolving the dispute

Sometimes you may find it hard to resolve the dispute on your own. However, do try contacting the other party whether it is face-to-face, via phone or write to them. If an agreement can be made make sure all parties sign the agreement and keep a copy for your records.

If you cannot come to an acceptable agreement then you can choose to do the following:

  • You may like to invite the other party to attend mediation whereby you can try and settle the dispute outside of court;
  • Apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), to resolve the dispute if mediation hasn’t been successful; or
  • Apply to the Magistrates court, however this may take time and can be costly

Motorcycle Safety

Riding a motorbike compared to driving other road vehicles creates a higher risk of injury if you are involved in a crash. Motorcycle riders are more exposed and do not have near as much protection surrounding them in the event of an accident occurring.

Motorbike Safety

Below is a list of important tips to ensure you are prepared and safe to ride:

  1. It is important to always wear a helmet that complies with the Australian Standard AS1698
  2. High visibility gear to maximize your visibility to other road users
  3. Invest in some good quality protective gear because wearing the right gear can decrease your chances of being severely injured in a crash and also help you be seen by other motorists/pedestrians.
  4. Keep a safe distance around all sides of your bike. In the event of a hazard you will have more time to react to the situation.
  5. Your motorcycle should be roadworthy; therefore regular service/maintenance is crucial.
  6. Ride safely by reducing risks. Being fully focused, observant, managing your speed, watching your road position, making the right decision and being perceptive to hazards can lower risks.
  7. If you are turning, overtaking or changing lanes leave a safe gap between yourself and others.
  8. Hazards can sneak up you so be aware of blind corners, blocked intersections, weather conditions and crests.
  9. Position yourself properly when going around a curve or bend by leaving enough room for error and ride at the speed you can handle.
  10. Don’t be pressured into riding at the same speed as your friends if you are not comfortable or experienced.
  11. Before heading out for a ride, check the traffic and road reports in case you need to adjust the route you were going to take.
  12. T-intersections are a serious hazard especially for motorcyclists, so use caution when crossing.
  13. Look after your other riders. Be observant and use common sense and make sure they are also following these steps.

For more information contact the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Buying a Safe car

Buying a safe careIt is very important when you are looking to purchase a new car, whether it be used or brand new, that you consider the below points. By making a good choice with your purchase you can avoid the chances of being involved in a crash and lower the risks of being killed or severely injured.

  1. Make sure the car has a safety rating of four or five
  2. Front (driver and passenger) and side (curtain or head protecting) airbags will assist in the event of an impact.
  3. Check to see if the car has Electronic Stability Control (ESC)/ Electronic Stability Program (ESP)/ Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)/ Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), in addition to many others.
  4. It is also good idea to check what restraints the vehicle has. The below lists a number of restraints to take into consideration:
    1. Three point seatbelts for ALL seats
    2. Head restraints are adjustable for all seats. It is also good if the car has active head restraints as this will reduce head movement during an impact
    3. Seatbelts that will tighten in a crash – known as pre-tensioning seatbelts
    4. Load-limiting seatbelts will assist in a crash by minimising the force on the body
    5. Ensure there are a sufficient number of child restraint anchor points for the number of child seats required.
    6. A seatbelt reminder sound or light on the dashboard which will warn/confirm which seatbelts are/are not fastened

There are a number of other features which you should also consider and they are listed here on the Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads website

Work related functions

With Christmas and New Years just around the corner, there are always questions raised regarding Work functions.

Work-related functions

When is a function classified as a work function?

There is no clear definition of a work function however, any injury sustained must “arise out of the course of employment”, per the workers’ compensation law. Thus, it needs to be determined whether or not that particular function did actually “arise out of the course of employment”.

According to the Health & Safety Helpdesk the below factors would influence whether a function arises out of the course of employment:

  • Workers attended the function because they were encouraged by the business
  • The function took place on the business premises as permitted by the business or the premises was organised for the function
  • The function was attended by senior workers
  • Time off from work was provided to workers to attend the function
  • The business provided transport for workers to go to and from the function

What about alcohol at work-related functions?

At work related functions often you will find that the CEO, director, partner etc may put their credit car behind the bar for a drinks tab. The business should implement policies and procedures to assist with minimising risks at a work function and advise workers in advance of behaviours that are acceptable.

Out-of-hours functions are being organised through work emails, where do we stand?

When an employee arranges an out-of-hours social function and no managers or supervisors are going to be attending these functions, then the business does not have any obligations if a worker/s sustains an injury. The business has not endorsed the function nor have they organised or encouraged workers to attend the function therefore, cannot be liable for injuries at the event.

It is important that the business makes it clear to their workers that they do not have to attend the out-of-hours functions that other workers may emailed to them and they are not endorsed by the business.