The Pizzini family planted their first vines on their Whitfield property in 1978, initially growing grapes for nearby wine behemoth Brown Brothers. In the 1990s the Pizzinis decided to go into business for themselves, releasing their first wine under the Pizzini label in 1994. The winery is still a family affair. As you can probably guess from the name, that family is Italian, and their specialty wines are too. The King Valley is known for its prosecco, and Pizzini makes a ripper one. The winery makes excellent riesling, sauvignon blanc, shiraz and merlot, but the Pizzinis' real passion is Italian varietals. There are numerous styles, price points and vintages of nebbiolo and sangiovese, all of them completely delicious. These are wines you don't usually find at Australian wineries, so settle in and make the most of a trip to the King Valley by tasting them all (and buying a few to take home; you won't regret it). You can also stay at Pizzini (maybe the best option if you try a few too many of those Italian wines), with a self-contained two-bedroom cottage available for hire on the property. There is also a cooking school on site, A Tavola, run by Katrina Pizzini. Most classes focus on Italian cooking, but there are also sessions on pickling, pastry and tapas.
When you think food and wine destinations in Victoria, where do you think of? The Mornington Peninsula? Gippsland? There is some very good eating and drinking to be had in those places, but you should definitely also consider the King Valley, in northern Victoria.
If you're on your way to the snow, the King Valley is a very appealing option for a foodie stopover on the way to or from the mountain. It's also a destination in its own right, offering award-winning wineries, food and oh my God, that cheese. The King Valley is also a wine lover's paradise, specialising in Italian varietals like nebbiolo, sangiovese and of course, King Valley calling card prosecco.
According to advice from the Department of Health, overnight stays are allowed across regional Victoria, cultural venues are permitted to reopen and restaurants and cafés can offer dine-in service. Some restrictions apply and physical distancing measures remain in place.
All of the venues mentioned in this article are open in some capacity at time of publication, but call ahead to learn individual restrictions.