I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published December 8th 2015
The Fruit of Sebastiano's Labours
Just a 40-minute drive up the Calder Freeway from Melbourne there is a monument to a young Sicilian immigrant who arrived in Australia in 1963 with nothing but a single suitcase and a dream. Born in Sortino, Sicily in 1940 Sebastiano Pitruzzello came from a farming background which had him herding sheep & goats, making cheese and growing olives. On arrival in Melbourne he took a job at Holden, married, raised a young family and in his spare time experimented with cheese making.
Pitruzzello Estate is just outside Sunbury, at the foot of the Macedon Ranges and within easy driving distance of Melbourne. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloosephoto
Within 10 years he had developed a range of cheeses and built a factory, the first of three that would produce his award winning range of Pantalica cheeses.
But Sebastiano Pitruzzello must be a man incapable of resting on his laurels.
Pitruzzello Estate processing plant, cafe and restaurant sit amongst Sebastiano's vines, well back from the road. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloosephoto
In 2002 he left the running of the Pantalica Cheese Company to his children and set about the daunting task of establishing a world-class olive grove and processing facility north of Sunbury, at the foot of the Macedon Ranges.
Today Pitruzzello Estate comprises some 15,000 olive trees, a processing plant, café, restaurant & function rooms and its very own vineyard.
After years of hard work the estate now produces and sells a range of olive oil, wine, table olives and cheese. Their cold-pressed Extra-Virgin Olive Oil was a gold medal winner in the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards 2008 and named the Champion Commercial Oil at the same event in 2010.
Pitruzzello wines include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, a classic dry white and a Moscato.
The restaurant serves authentic Italian cuisine using fresh produce from both the estate and the surrounding Sunbury and Macedon Ranges regions.
Pitruzzello Estate is a monument to one mans tenacity. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloosephoto
Utilising their expansive function rooms Pitruzzello's can cater for groups ranging from 20 to 300 people and offer all-inclusive, elegant wedding packages.
Pitruzzello Estate is a monument to one man's tenacity, patience and desire to produce a product uncompromising in its quality.
The opportunity to taste the fruits of Sebastiano's labours is something not to be missed.
Pittruzzello Estate is 48 Kilometers or a 40 minute drive north of Melbourne via the Calder Freeway/M79 and Couangalt & Mundy Roads.