In North Eastern Victoria lies the King Valley, and what many people would consider as the home of Italian wines in Australia. Prosecco and Sangiovese are their favourites. Every year in August, the wineries of the King Valley come to Canberra with wineries from the Rutherglen region in a festival called the Taste of Two Regions. This year it will be held from 11th – 13th of August. When I was invited to attend the King Valley Italian Family Lunch with my family, in exchange sharing their wonderful event on my blog – the angle for my blog post was obvious… since they were inviting my family to their family lunch, I wanted to know a little more about the families behind the wineries that would be at the event I was attending. So for this post, I reached out to four wine making families to find out a little more about them and discover their secrets to a successful family gathering.

Brown Brothers

Brown Brothers was founded by John Francis Brown in 1889. Now the third and fourth generation of the family are at the helm, still proudly running Brown Brothers as a family business over 125 years later. Katherine Brown, who has had many roles in her family’s winery from cellar hand to area manager and now PR Manager, has answered my questions.

What is your favourite meal for big family gatherings? 

My family love to fish, so after a morning of fishing in the King river we love to share our catch with the family. Oven baked Rainbow trout is on the menu with Mum’s garden grown asparagus, tomato and basil salad and figs with prosciutto and Milawa blue cheese.  

Which wine do you like to pair with it?

The Brown Brothers Pinot Grigio from our Banksdale Vineyard in the King Valley is a wonderful match to the flavours that we have on our family gathering table.

Do you have any secrets/tips to create stress free family lunch? 

Share the work. If you can allocate everyone a job it will make your day run much smoother. With a family you usually know each other strengths and this is the time to play on this. We just always make sure we give Dad the job of drinks as he as the cellar key!  

What is the one thing that you always have/do at your family gatherings? 

Laughter. Food and wine always tastes better when there is laughter around the table and my family have an amazing way to tell stories and jokes that will keep us all around the table for hours.

Brown Brothers instagram account and website.

 Pizzini Wines

Alfredo and Katrina Pizzini planted their first vines back in 1978. It was important to them that Pizzini wines develop with a focus on their Italian heritage. Today their children, Natalie, Joel, Carlo and Nicole, continue to run the family business with them. Natalie, their eldest daughter and marketing manager for Pizzini Wines, answers my questions.

What is your favourite meal for big family gatherings?

Homemade lasagne made with Nonna’s recipe for the bolognaise and definitely using freshly made pasta. We serve it at Christmas lunch and everyone loves it!

Which wine do you like to pair with it?

Nonna Gisella Sangiovese – it is a Sangiovese that has a hint of Merlot so the wine is soft and juicy and pairs perfectly with the rich flavours of the lasagne.

Do you have any secrets/tips to create stress free family lunch?

The more dishes that can be prepared beforehand is key – hence the lasagne! And give everyone a job on the day – even the littlest of kids so all feel part of the experience and everything is not left up to one or two family members!

What is the one thing that you always have/do at your family gatherings?

I always have to cook – though it is a job that I love to do, especially if there are a few of us in the kitchen chatting while we work. And it is always nice if we are able to do it with a glass of wine in hand!

Pizzini Wines’s website and instagram account.

Politini Wines

As a child, Salvatore Politini grew up watching his father work in a winery in Sicily. Today. 60 years later, his family continue the traditional hand-made techniques with cool climate grapes at his vineyard in Australia. Sonia, Salvatore’s daughter, answers my questions.

What is your favourite meal for big family gatherings?

This is so hard as many beautiful things come to mind. But, one of our favourite meals for our most recent big family gatherings would have to be our Mum’s (Nonna Josie’s) cannelloni made with fresh pasta. Silky soft pasta, either spinach and ricotta finished with rich Napoli sauce or veal & pork with rich Napoli sauce. Usually our family gatherings consist of a full table of food!

Which wine do you like to pair with it?

Usually one of our Italians – either the Politini Grecanico or Politini Sangiovese pairs nicely.

Do you have any secrets/tips to create stress free family lunch?

Preparation is key! Our Mum (Nonna Josie) is very organised when preparing meals for a large crowd! Oh, and we’re always given a time for when lunch/dinner is served so that we are all on time & each have a task to help on the day!

What is the one thing that you always have/do at your family gatherings?

Dessert! There’s always something special for dessert.

Politini Wine’s website and instagram account.

Sam Miranda King Valley

Sam Miranda’s family moved from Italy to Australia in the 1930s. He is now the third generation of his family to go into the wine making business.

What is your favourite meal for big family gatherings? 

We have our annual Salami and Sausage day with up to 50 of our family and friends every year in the July Holidays. The day is about making everything from the raw ingredients  i.e. de-bone the pigs and roll the pork bellies and shoulders for the Wood fired oven, kids make up their own sausage combinations and roll pizza dough.. as well as making the salamis to be hung and then distributed later to all involved. Basically its a day that we honour everything to do with pork! All of our hard work is then consumed over lunch and plenty of wine!

Which wine do you like to pair with it?

We always start the day (7am start) with Prosecco then onto either a Pinot Grigio or Rosato when we start making the sausages and salami. The Sangiovese and Nebbiolo come out during lunch and the day normally finishes off with last year’s Limoncello  and a bit of Grappa!

Do you have any secrets/tips to create stress free family lunch? 

Get the kids involved so they can create their own sausages and pizzas. Then let them cook their own lunch. They love the interaction and always come up with some pretty wonderful creations! And plenty of wine for the adults!

What is the one thing that you always have/do at your family gatherings?

Plenty of supervision of the process and the cooking of the slow roasted pork shoulder in the wood fired oven!

Sam Miranda’s website and instragram account

 

Tickets to the Italian Family lunch cost $85 and more information can be found on their website. If lunch with your family doesn’t take your fancy, check out the Prosecco Breakfast or the exhibit itself. But make sure you are quick as some events are already sold out.

All images in this post have been supplied by Wines of the King Valley.

Written by Nadia

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