The Dal Zotto family, known for pioneering Australia’s very first prosecco in Victoria’s King Valley, love nothing more than to share their love of food, wine, and friendship. Extending the family’s Italian heritage and keen hospitality, the winery hosted its very first harvest, winemaking and winemaker’s lunch event early this autumn titled Pick Your Own Prosecco.
Pick Your Own Prosecco is a masterclass of sorts that begins with an in-vineyard sampling of premium Dal Zotto Col Fondo Prosecco and an introductory winemaking discussion with Michael Dal Zotto. After a few sips and a few picking tips are explained, the buckets come out and all get to work selecting the right bunches that will be racked for air drying – a process that will later allow more intensified fruit flavours to be added to the family’s new vintage of Col Fondo Prosecco.
After a lightly strenuous hour or so, the group has hauled in a significant harvest and we’re treated to a morning tea of Italian cheeses, figs, prosciutto, and Nonna Elena’s superb savoury pastries. Time to hit the winding King Valley back road to transport the fruit to the winery. There, inside a cavernous facility lined with rafter-high stainless steel fermenting tanks, we’re treated to mid-ferment tastings of this season’s best. The aroma inside the winery is intense: sweet and rich wafts of complex juice, bubbling with yeast, permeate the air. It is divine. Michael takes the lead in explaining the crushing and ferment process and the Charmat method that delivers an authentic Italian prosecco wine. After a few more special tank samples are sipped and tipped, we snap a few selfies and head back to the Dal Zotto trattoria for lunch.
Those who’ve visited Dal Zotto wines may recall the view: the trattoria’s expansive restaurant windows and outdoor dining area face a massive and beautiful river red gum feature tree. Behind that are the creek and the Dal Zotto vineyards. There the vines’ lush bright foliage contrasts with the deeper greens and blues of the Alpine National Park mountains in the distance. It’s a rare spectacle, one that well-travelled guests suggest is similar to those seen in Northern Italy. We lunch on a long table shaded by the old red gum. Christian Dal Zotto pours a selection of proseccos, a refreshing rosato, and later some nicely-aged nebbiolo to partner the mains.
The meal is complemented with the season’s best farm-grown ingredients and showcases how the Dal Zotto family do hospitality with style.
A tasting board arrives with a colourful selection: garden fresh tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella salad, seared pork sausage with tomato relish, Milawa blue cheese, polenta chips with an epicly perfect garlic aioli, cheese and sage baked rotolo and seriously good cured capocollo. The meal is presented as a succession of many courses and a lot of good wine is consumed. Elena Dal Zotto joins us at the table, remarking on how her winemaker sons used to run around the farm and of how tiny and cute they once were. Their father, vigneron Otto Dal Zotto, stands a few metres away with a big smile on his face – he’s minding a suckling pig on a spit but raises his glass to the group. It’s a warm autumn day, the wines are chilled, and we are collectively in our element. The day draws pleasantly to a close.
Dal Zotto Wines is in the King Valley at Whitfield, about 40 minutes’ drive south of Wangaratta, Victoria and approximately three hours from Melbourne by road. Pick Your Own Prosecco is the ultimate day out for wine lovers: it not only educates but puts you right in the thick of the winemaking world. It’s a great end-of-harvest celebration and a fine way to truly enjoy Australia’s very best prosecco.
Event cost of $250 a person includes pick-your-own prosecco harvesting, six bottles of your very own pick-your-own prosecco Col Fondo, lunch at the trattoria plus a private winery tour and tasting.
To book for the 2019 event, contact Dal Zotto wines directly via email on email@example.com or phone 03 5729 8321.
4861 Wangaratta-Whitfield Road,
Whitfield, Victoria 3733