I grew up in Healesville but I have a very European palate at the moment having just returned from living in the UK for a couple of years with my partner. We travelled extensively in Italy and visited wine regions from the north right down to the south. I fell in love with the Southern Italian wines. The climate there is hotter and drier than the north and the soil structure is largely set on a volcanic base – Mt Etna is after all one of the major sights in the area! The reds I find particularly lovely, and I developed a real liking for varieties such as the Zibibbo and the Nerello Mascalese, from Sicily. These are not so well known in Australia but you can find them if you look. The reds tend to be full bodied – chalky and deep with tannic notes. But there are also lighter style reds with delicate structures, made only with natural interventions.

What I remember about my time travelling in Italy is how friendly people are. You are treated like a brother or sister by everyone. That hospitality is part of the way of life, and it’s something we really bring to Graceburn as well ­– a cosy space, a rustic bar that feels like home.

When people come into Graceburn they can experience that same welcoming space, that sense of truly stopping and taking it all in, of slowing down and being cared for by someone who knows and loves food and wine and wants you to have a great experience. We love that people stop for a chat and then stay for hours moving from an espresso to an aperitivo, to wine with a few delicious snacks along the way. It’s a typically southern Italian way to be – to while away the hours in good company, with good food and wine. We stand for that same generosity and warmth.

graceburn, winners, yarra valley, ciao yarra valley ciao

As the sommelier, I have a real love for Italian wines. At Graceburn, we have given lots of thought to what we will showcase on tasting during the Festa di via Verde. We will be pouring our own Arneis, and a Yarra Valley grown  Nebbiolo. These will be sublime when matched with the delicious pasta pairings we have from Yarra Valley Pasta, and we encourage people to take their time to relax into the experience. We will be a little haven from the festivities of Green Street and hope you will take the time to step inside so we can show you some great Italian style hospitality and generosity – it will be our pleasure.

Piacere. Pleased to meet you.

Jaymie Wallace, General Manager, Mac Forbes' Graceburn

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