Venture to the King Valley, in Victoria’s High Country (a 3 hour drive from Melbourne) and you could be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported to the hills of northern Italy. Inspired by a childhood growing up in the town of Valdobbiadene, the birthplace of prosecco, Otto Dal Zotto planted the first prosecco vines in the King Valley in 1999. Its fresh, crisp, palate proved instantly popular with those seeking a relaxed yet stylish, celebratory drink.
Lovers of the sparkling Italian white are well rewarded in the King Valley, however there are many other Italian varietals the area is famed for – pinot grigio, arneis, nebbiolo and sangiovese. All wine styles that are designed to be enjoyed with food, as the Italians do. Today the King Valley plays host to 10 fabulous wineries including the original Brown Brothers who began making wine here in the 1880’s.
The King Valley area is ideally suited to viticulture, especially these Mediterranean varietals. They enjoy warm days and cool evenings, protected by the gentle slopes of the Australian Alps. Rich red soil and clear water of the King River runs the length of the valley.
The landscape is marked with distinctive corrugated iron kilns – a legacy of the days when tobacco was farmed extensively here. Many of the kilns have been converted into innovative accommodation and cellar door facilities, a reminder of the past and present.
In the early days Brown Brothers worked with waves of migrant farmers to produce excellent quality grapes and wine, learning from each other’s experience and culture. This is what has created their unique expertise in Italian wine styles. It is authentic, true to the recipes of the past, yet innovative.
Dining in the region includes cosy cafes and country pubs, such as the Moyhu Hotel, which also serves as cellar door for young wine brand Merkel Wines. Meals in the region’s restaurants might feature Nonna’s gnocchi, local beef, lamb or goat, handmade butter and cheese or local honey, nuts and berries.
At Sam Miranda King Valley, regional and seasonal cuisine is expertly prepared and matched with a fine range of wines.
A range of options is available at Brown Brothers, from the Epi.Curious wine bar to the acclaimed Patricia’s Table restaurant experience.
You might like to join in a King Valley Ballooning experience early one morning at Brown Brothers, floating over the valley in a hot air balloon, followed by a prosecco brunch.
At the other end of the valley, Chrismont have just opened a spectacular cellar door, restaurant and larder which takes in expansive views and serves regional specialties from the family’s heritage spanning the north and south of Italy.
Pizzini and Politini Wines both offer cooking classes to teach you the secrets of their family recipes for salami, minestrone or cannoli, among other treats.
Children can enjoy swimming in the clean, cool Lake William Hovell, try their hand at native trout fishing, kayaking or horse-riding. Cycling fanatics take advantage of the quiet roads and challenging mountain trails; a flat, easy Pedal to Produce ride between cellar doors, farm gates and gourmet food stores in Milawa offers a less challenging cycling experience, and perhaps a more rewarding one!
Accommodation options include large houses to share between families, smaller B & B’s, gourmet retreats, a boutique hotel, caravan sites, cabins and camping grounds. The valley hosts two major wine and food festivals a year. Weekend Fit for a King in June and La Dolce Vita coming up on November 18 and 19.
LA DOLCE VITA – NOV 18 & 19
Raise a glass with friends.
Meet the winemakers, taste their latest releases and discover exclusive museum releases. This is the home of Australia’s very best Italian style wine.
The perfect menu to match.
From tasting plates of family- favourite Italian recipes to long degustation dinners and indulgent desserts, there’s something for every taste. Buon appetito!
Fun for all, big and small.
With live music and entertainment, markets bursting with local produce and handcrafted goods, plus lots of special activities for little ones, everyone’s happy.
For more event details click here
Originating in the cool alpine climate of Veneto in north-east Italy, prosecco is a light and lively sparkling wine with a dry finish and a fresh fruit flavour through the mid palate. King Valley is the first region to produce an Australian-made premium prosecco. Its refreshing flavour makes prosecco an uplifting aperitivo with olives or cured meats or perfect partner to Asian dishes or seafood starters.
Sangiovese is the main grape of the great Chianti Classicos of Tuscany. The King Valley now leads the way as Australia’s premier region for this red wine, a reputation that grows with every vintage, reflecting the great passion for creating wines to enjoy with good friends and food. The wine shows savoury, dark cherry flavours and earthy characters with fine tannins and cleansing acidity.
For more details visit www.winesofthekingvalley.com.au