Italian history of Giammarino Wines

“The wine growing area of the Yarra Valley reminds me of the wine region between Florence and Sienna in Italy. The topography and aspects of the climate are very similar. There are rolling hills, and both wet and dry conditions during the year. It’s not crazy cold and the soil provides a similarly rich environment,” says Dino Giammarino, winemaker at Giammarino Wines. “These are great conditions for Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Fiano – Italian varietals that I am passionate about introducing to more people in Australia. I make all my wines from my heart.

My family history is told through wine. My parents had a mountain top vineyard in Abruzzo in the 1930s and established a vineyard in Hallam in the 1950s. Some of my rootstocks have come from vineyards in Italy belonging to my family and on a recent trip we managed to find the original farmhouse and property. There’s a great story from that trip. My parents and I were driving around the village looking for the house and we stopped to ask an 80 year-old-man on the roadside. He took one look at my mother and said, ‘Ciao Nicoletta.’ He recognised her even though they hadn’t seen each other for more than 50 years!

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I spent my childhood helping with the family vintage. We were the only vineyard with poured concrete posts instead of timber! I have really come to appreciate my Italian heritage as an adult, and as I’ve developed as a winemaker. My entire family still get together to make our tomato sauce, our traditional gnocchi and, of course, wine. I’ve come to value that connection and I want to keep our traditions alive.

Telling stories is a big part of Italian life.  My uncle bought the very first espresso machine – a double-pour Faema ­– to Australia in 1952. It was in several parts tucked in a suitcase of shirts. Customs had never seen such a thing before and it was held on suspicion of being a bomb! When it was finally assembled, Italians from all over Melbourne came to Elgin Street in Carlton to have a proper coffee ‘just like at home.’

The Australian love for good coffee, and willingness to try different styles of beans from boutique roasters, has encouraged people to try Italian wines they may not have heard of before.

During Ciao Yarra Valley Ciao, we will be opening our 17-acre vineyard and winery in St Andrews for tastings and ‘Meet the Maker’ opportunities. We’re offering ‘una settimana di pranzi’ – a week of Italian-inspired lunches matched with our wines, espresso martinis and Italian whiskey.

We’re going to be telling many stories about Italian life, and our family’s winemaking history.  Italian varietal wines tell the story of their region, and now they also tell the story of ours.”

For more info on this event click here.