I have been intending to visit Villa d'Esta winery for about 6 years or more, in fact ever since my family moved into the Manning Valley, but I never got around to it, until today. I made a sea change to this area in December and it's still taken me 7 months to actually visit Villa d'Esta. I really could not have picked a better day to visit this winery because it was a crisp winter's day with blue sky and the sun shining.
Before I ventured here, I had read lots of great Trip Advisor reviews about Villa d'Esta so I knew what to expect and that was Zollie the owner, would welcome me like family and a wine tasting is more like old friends coming together. Except I was a new friend of course and arrived unexpected with camera in hand! I mentioned to Zollie I was here to write on both my blogs, Sydney Chic and North Coast NSW Leisure and Life, but I am pretty sure he doesn't have a clue what a blog is! That's what I like about him, very old school.
Indeed the Trip Advisor reviews were correct! I was asked to take a seat at the long wooden table and join a couple of other guests. Well didn't this turn out to be an interesting afternoon, my fellow wine samplers are Russian and they have been visiting Villa d'Esta for nine years. Now that has to be a recommendation in itself!
Zollie joined us and poured me my first tasting. Actually it was more than a taste but since I was driving I knew I had better not get myself too much in a party mood! The wines are beautiful and preservative free! Zollie is Hungarian and the wines are produced using Hungarian methods. The vineyard was established in 1997 with both table and wine grapes. Within the 17 acres of wine grapevines, the majority are Chardonnay, Chasselas Dore and Chambourcin. The wines are mostly matured in oak barrels - French and Hungarian oak were mainly used originally, then on to American oak.
You can read more on the Villa d'Esta website, which is a little old, but then again, Zollie isn't interested in technology he's only interested in wine and people!
Zollie explained that he retired 17 years ago! Mind you he is still working lol. As our group sat and chatted about the vineyard and all things Russian and European there came a man zooming down the paddock on a quad bike! Enter Reuben! This young man from Italian descent is about to take over as the Manager of the whole vineyard. He's been learning on the job for 12 years with Zollie. Reuben joined our party and also decided to add a bit of ambience by playing some Edith Piaf. That's Reuben below.
The wine kept pouring and the conversation became more interesting but of course, I couldn't have any more tasting. I sampled the Chardonnay, the Chambourcin and the Cabernet Sauvignon. All of them superb.
Pictured from left to right Ingrid, Zollie, Viktor, Michael and Reuben. It was amazing to pull up by myself and be able to sit with a group of people I had never met before and have such interesting conversation.
I thoroughly enjoyed this afternoon and I'm looking forward to heading back in November when the Jacaranda's are in full bloom and the vines are fruiting.
You can purchase the wines from the Cellar Door and a range of home-made jams, pickles etc by Zollie's wife.
2884, Wallambah Rd., Dyers Crossing, NSW, 2429,Phone: (02) 6550 2236