Stefani Winery Estate
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- Perfect soil, climate, and sun for Italian Vines in Long Gully
There are wineries that are cellar doors and then there are wineries that are adventures. I found a hidden adventure at the Stefani Winery in the Yarra Valley on Long Gully Road, Healesville. I thought I had explored all the wineries in the area over the 40 years of living close to the Yarra Valley. Not true. There are still hidden gems to be discovered.
My husband and I were headed back from the Rob Roy Hill Climb Memorial Tree Planting, where we had volunteered, and were looking for a late lunch or early tea.
We went exploring off the beaten track and stumbled upon this gem of a winery just by chance. It looked fairly new and very elegant.
- Gracious new building with old Italian charm - Photos by Tricia Ziemer
And it is. We seemed to be the first arrivals, so we had the pick of the place with a table close to the fire. This was a treat on a frosty day. Most tables had reserve signs on them, so we were lucky. Then we got luckier. We were greeted by Rina Stefani, co-owner of this lovely winery.
She was able to personally take us through the wine list and tasting platters which were spectacular.
- Elegantly style but intimate space
Our tasting was delivered with wine-tasting notes. So we could enjoy having a cheeky or experienced guess at the flavours wafting from the wine and tingling our palates. Then we enjoyed reading the reality of how close we came to discerning the subtle varieties and undertones. No peaking before tasting or you spoil the fun.
- Wine tasting and exotic fruits grown on the property and cheeses to sample
We were also delighted we were ahead of the crowd because Rina was able to talk us through the history of their winery.
Her husband Stefano Stefani was a wine grower back in his beloved Italy, the Tuscany region. My husband’s name is Stefan; we had a chuckle. Stefano and his family were wine and olive growers in the old country, and he still has wineries in Italy. He migrated over 50 years ago. He and his wife bought this property in 1998. They brought out the varieties of Italian vines they know and love. Their most unique wine is their Sangiovese which they have 7 clones of from their Italian vineyards. A family specialty. This is the only winery in Australia that has it under vine. And it is a delight. We left with several boxes.
The winery is magnificently styled with everything from their suit of arms in mosaic above the fireplace to their beautifully presented awards. They won first place in 2014 with their wine. But Stefani Winery has won other awards, including the 2020 Yarra Valley Wine Show’s “Best Alternative White” for their 2019 Pinot Blanc. The James Halliday Wine Companion has awarded them 5 stars for the last ten years. I am sure more awards are on the way.
They have slowly grown from just having vines on rich soil with the perfect weather to running the whole wine-making process. Everything from growing the grapes on the vine to the distribution of their bottled liquid gold is all run on their property.
They are so family oriented that wine picking is not a machine but a family and friend affair with everyone coming to together to hand pick the grapes with love. They finish off with a “feast” in true Italian tradition. Grapes picked with love and laughter. I am sure that is why it tastes so wonderful.
- Grapes and olives picked, crushed, oaked, bottled and distributed world -wide all on Stefani Estate
Well, that and the expertise of their winemaker, Peter Mackey, who has honed his skills on the international scene. According to Rina and their website, “Peter was involved with wineries since his childhood in New Zealand. He studied winemaking at EIT Hawke Bay NZ and has broadened his experience working in various countries including the USA, France, South Africa, Argentina, the UK, Chile and China. In March 2013, Peter took on the position of Winemaker at Stefani Estate and overlooks the running of all vineyards in Healesville. He is keen to bring his expertise to Stefani Estate focusing on producing premium wines.”
If you want your adventure at Stefani’s to continue, then they have two stunning modern villas on the property with ensuite masters and sweeping views of Long Gully from alfresco decks. A perfect getaway. Each villa sleeps 4.
See their website for all their details at Stefani Winery
. This is a perfect getaway for yourself or a gift for a loved one and less than an hour's drive from Melbourne.
222350 - 2023-07-07 11:10:51