Wine has been a tradition in my family for four generations. My great-grandfather Donato and my dad Joss used to cross the mountains of Abruzzi in Italy to fill barrels of must with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. They would return to Pescara on horseback where the wine would be poured and shared amongst the community. It was from fond memories of these trips that my father would dream of owning his own vineyards, and to never ride a horse ever again.
My grandfather Celeste, or Charlie as he was known as, migrated to Australia in the 1950’s and was placed in the Greta Migrant camp, not too far from the vineyards of Pokolbin. It was later when my dad was commuting from Newcastle to Pokolbin to run his engineering company, that the dream to own vineyards and run a winery were truly realised. In 1987, my dad and mum bought a 20-hectare cattle grazing property on Lovedale Road and worked for three years regenerating the soil ready for planting our first vines.
Semillon and chardonnay were the first vines to be planted, and the next year we added shiraz, merlot and verdelho. The initial grapes grown were sold to the Tyrrells who have been good friends to our family. The memories of long days working in the vineyards with my dad and grandfather, and then coming home to a dinner cooked lovingly by my mum are some of my fondest. My favourite dinner? A classic 90’s meatloaf with hard-boiled eggs in the middle.