This was a blog post originally published in November 2018.
On the weekend of 17th & 18th of November, a couple of my good friends and I travelled down to the King Valley Wine Region for a weekend of delicious Italian food and wine, at their annual La Dolce Vita Wine & Food Festival.
Let’s just start off by saying that this was a weekend that my friends and I will never forget.
It was one of those weekends where we laughed till we cried, celebrated incredible Italian food & wine, and truly relaxed and enjoyed ourselves.
The King Valley Wine Region has one of the greatest concentrations of varieties of any wine region in Australia. They combine Italian heritage and cool climate viticultural styles to produce wines of finesse.
Located in the North East of Victoria, the King Valley follows the King River. The region is absolutely thriving, and it is one of the highest altitude grape growing regions in Australia.
Situated just three hours from Melbourne, and only four hours from Canberra, this is a region that I had honestly never visited before, but will most definitely be travelling to regularly from now on.
It’s so hard to explain this beautiful place without you physically being there to experience it, it is THAT breathtaking!
It’s a region that is a leader in alternative wines, especially Italian styles like Arneis, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and more recently, Prosecco.
In Spring, the winemaking families of the King Valley open their cellar doors to warmly welcome friends old and new for the La Dolce Vita Wine & Food Festival.
This is an event celebrating the Italian spirit with food prepared by nonna or a renowned local chef, both new and museum release wines poured by the winemakers, and festival fun for all, big and small!
There are various King Valley wineries that participate in this festival, and you have the entire weekend to travel up and down the region and visit each of the wineries to experience what they have to offer.
Each winery offers cellar door tastings, live music, food tasting as well as other events. You have the opportunity to enjoy the generous hospitality of the winemaking families, and make memories with your own friends and family.
And this is exactly what we did!
My friends and I were invited down to the region to experience all it has to offer, but to also take part in a campaign photoshoot that will be used to promote the region for years to come!
We visited eight wineries in total, four on Saturday and four on the Sunday, and let me tell you – it was a MASSIVE weekend.
We started the trip down to the King Valley on the Friday afternoon, and with it being just a four hour drive from Canberra (and us Canberran’s are used to travelling, right?), the drive was super easy, and was made A LOT easier by the fact that I was travelling in a car with close friends.
We arrived in the beautiful town of Milawa and checked into our boutique hotel, Lindenwarrah. We were greeted by the most lovely staff members, and our room’s were very picturesque!
Lindenwarrah at Milawa, is a tranquil country house hotel brimming with elegance and style.
Situated about half an hour from the King Valley region, Lindenwarrah is the perfect base to experience a rich bounty of world class food and wine.
After a full day of eating good food and drinking delicious wine on Saturday, this was truly a home away from home for the two nights that we stayed here.
On the Saturday morning we started our trip down to the King Valley Wine Region, driving past some beautiful vineyards, and admiring the incredible country Victoria landscape.
Our first stop was Darling Estate, located in the hills above Whitfield in the upper King Valley.
The property is bountiful producing walnuts, cherries, apples, pears, figs, grapefruit, lemons and oranges as well as the grapes from the vineyard.
It was here where we got to do a taste testing of the various wines in their collection, and participated in a photoshoot with their gorgeous dog in the vineyards!
Then, we drove a further 30 minutes into the Valley to Symphonia where we were treated to a relaxing afternoon that involved lounging back and enjoying some incredible live music, along with a delicious peaches & cream dessert!
It was here where we got to the sit in the beautiful sun and really soak in all that the vineyard had to offer.
It was then time for lunch, where we were treated to a delicious (and I mean it), gnocchi at Pizzini Wines.
What we loved most about this winery was that they had an exceptionally vibrant atmosphere, and they had a gnocchi rolling and wine spitting competition too!
Then, we ventured off to Dal Zotto, where I was treated to a helicopter ride over the King Valley Wine Region. I was accompanied by Sam from Sam Miranda, who gave me an exceptional and very interesting overview of the King Valley Wine Region as we flew over the various vineyards.
This was actually the first time I’d been in a helicopter since I travelled in an ambulance helicopter in Switzerland five years ago, so needless to say I was a little nervous about being up in the air at first! But, as soon as I saw the spectacular view; I knew it was worth the nerves!
This was honestly an experience I will never forget.
Sam took me on a quick tour around Brown Brothers, where I met with two of the Brown sisters, and they showcased the family cellar, and spoke to about the incredible history of the label.
Needless to say I learnt SO MUCH about the intricacies of the wine industry, as well as the family history behind it all. I honestly could have stayed there for hours!
Then, it was back to Dal Zotto for an evening spent having a picnic surrounded by live music and dancing around the vineyards – this was truly a magical experience.
Day Two of the La Dolce Vita Festival was just as good, if not better than Day One. However sadly, it was our last day enjoying the beautiful area (we seriously didn’t want to go home!).
We started the Sunday with a visit to one of my personal favourites, Politini Wines, where we had a beautiful photoshoot in the vineyards, AND got to eat some delicious cannoli that was truly mouth watering.
Sicily meets the King Valley in Politini’s hand-crafted, cool-climate wines.
After enjoying a morning in the vineyards, we headed to Chrismont.
Nestled in the King Valley of Victoria’s majestic High Country, Chrismont is an inspiring and award-winning destination for lovers of contemporary wines, authentic Italian food and breathtaking scenery. Their balcony view is truly spectacular, and we could have sat their all day in the sun and enjoyed the view!
It was then time to enjoy lunch at King River Estate. It was here where we got to kick off our shoes, sink our feet into the lush grass and enjoy a glass of Italian wine whilst listening to some more live music.
After a delicious lunch, it was time to head to our final winery for the trip, Brown Brothers.
Having already been to Brown Brothers the day before and meeting some of the Brown family, I was super excited to head back and experience their Prosecco Pod!
By Prosecco Pod I mean a beautiful tent FILLED with comfortable chairs, cushions, and more importantly prosecco! We perched ourselves here for the remainder of the afternoon and wish we could have spent the rest of the evening there watching the stars.
To say that this weekend was incredible would be an understatement. It was the perfect mix of good food, incredible wine and wine education, as well as quality time spent with ones I love.
If you’re looking for the perfect weekend away with close friends or family, then this where you need to go!
I highly recommend that you visit this region for their La Dolce Vita Festival which will be on Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 November, 2019!
Believe me when I say that you need to book your tickets and accommodation now, as this is an event that is perfect for anyone that likes wine, food, and quality time with family and friends (so pretty much everyone, right?).
Wineries we visited:
Thank you to my gorgeous friends, Parhyse and Sinead for making the trip to the King Valley SO memorable, and thank you to the King Valley Wine Region for having us!
Photography by Beechworth Photographers.