Ripe time to taste Proseco

PHOTO: Emma Hillier
LIFE IS SWEET: Thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the King Valley this weekend for the annual La Dolce Vita wine and food festival, where Italian varietals will be among those being sampled by wine lovers, including Georgia Beavis, Paige Schweizer, Alexander Haw and Joel Tilbrook, at 11 local wineries including Brown Brothers. PHOTO: Emma Hillier

WINE lovers are looking forward to visiting the home of Italian style wines when the King Valley plays host to the 2017 La Dolce Vita wine and food festival this weekend.

But while there are a wide range of varieties to sample at the 11 participating wineries, it seems none has captured the public’s attention in recent times like Prosecco.

Call it the flavour of the month or perhaps the wine style of the year, having been featured extensively in the media lately including on popular television programs like Network Ten’s The Bachelorette, but it looks like being one of the major drawcards for punters wanting to find out why life is a little sweeter in the King Valley.

Wines of the King Valley’s Alison Lloyd said final preparations are under way as wineries including Brown Brothers, Chrismont, Dal Zotto, Darling Estate, Francesco, La Cantina, Merkel Wines, Pizzini, Politini, Sam Miranda and Symphonia look forward to welcoming up to 5000 visitors to the region over two days.

Local accommodation has been booked out months in advance, and Ms Lloyd said a shuttle bus with transport hubs established at the Carl Schulz reserve in Moyhu and in the centre of Whitfield, is expected to be well utilised.

“We are looking forward to a beautiful weekend in the King Valley, La Dolce Vita wine and food festival is a highlight of the year for all our winemaking families, a chance to celebrate with our friends and introduce new visitors to the wine and Italian style that is unique to our region,” she said.

“This year we have more to offer than ever, with live music, authentic cuisine and great tasting experiences at each of the participating wineries.

“The weather forecast is for clear, warm days and crisp Prosecco nights.”

At Symphonia Wines there will be brunch with bubbles, bar snacks and more, with visitors on Saturday and Sunday afternoon set to be entertained by local singer Amanuael Visser from 12pm until 3pm playing soul and R&B favourites along with a few of the latest pop hits.

At Sam Miranda there will be a Prosecco Bar on the piazza with “frosé” slushies, along with wood-fired pizzas and live music with Jeff Cabalar playing both days from 11am until 3pm.

Politini Wines will also have a Prosecco Bar with bubbles and blush spritzers, a menu featuring Nonna Josie’s favourites and Mediterranean seafood, with Scott Solimo and Amanda playing popular music, and Salvatore starring on piano accordion.

Try your hand at rolling gnocchi at Pizzini wines while enjoying Prosecco and Brachetto cocktails, or take part in a wine spitting competition being held both days at 3pm, with live music from Bric a Brac gypsy jazz, and Maurice Milani and The Rumour.

Merkel Wines will be the place to relax for an ice cold beer and a country pub meal at the Moyhu Hotel, where their range of elegant and aromatic varieties including Riesling and Gewurztraminer will be among those showcased.

Wines made the traditional way with no preservatives added are the specialty at La Cantina, which will also be home to a market under the trees and plenty of room to sit and enjoy family-favourite food including lasagne and apple cake.

Francesco Wines will showcase their own cool climate range including Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Merlot, with food cooked from the heart including gnocchi, calamari and Calabrese-style cakes and biscuits.

Sample special back vintages at Darling Estate in Whitfield where the range includes Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Nebbiolo, Cabernet and Bordeaux blends.

Pioneers of Prosecco, Dal Zotto Wines will be turning on the cocktails at their Prosecco Festival this weekend with the help of mixologist Tim Dundoon, while visitors play bocce or kick back and listen to popular Paris Zachariou and tuck into some Italian tapas and Otto’s Tuscan pork rolls.

Chrismont will showcase their new release Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Arneis, Fiano and Moscato this weekend, while also offering tastings of their exclusive Riserva range while enjoying specially prepared antipasti platters as well as the restaurant menu.

Or cool off with a Prosecco Pop at Brown Brothers before browsing the Farmers’ Market, listening to Liv Cartledge and taking part in a cooking masterclass with star chef Adam Liaw, who will be signing his latest book “Asian After Work” at 12.30pm daily.

There will also be a huge range of entertainment and special menus for children throughout the weekend with more information available by visiting with entry to the festival $25 (available in advance online) which includes a souvenir tasting glass for drinkers or reusable water bottle for non-drinkers.

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