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Katrina Pizzini is the powerhouse behind the Pizzini Wines A tavola! Cooking School.
She married Alfredo Pizzini soon after finishing school and has worked with him to build the family business ever since. From tobacco farming to running the Mountain View Hotel, to the creation of Pizzini Wines, she now divides her time between the roles of Pizzini Wines ambassador and the A tavola! Cooking School.
Katrina’s much-loved A tavola! cookbook was first published in 2008. It contains a selection of the recipes that matter most to her and the beautifully told story of her life in relation to food and cooking. It has struck a chord with many and continues to make a lovely souvenir of time spent at Pizzini Wines.
When the A tavola! Cooking School opened in 2010 no one could have foreseen that it would almost immediately grow to offer over 80 classes a year, covering a range of topics from Italian classics such as Pasta, Gnocchi and Ravioli to Asian themed classes, Home cheese-making, Gluten Free , dinner party classes and more.
Katrina prepares and teaches these hands-on classes which provide her with the opportunity to share her food philosophy, “I have always enjoyed preparing and eating great-tasting, healthy food with my family, in the classes we make food that is delicious but I take care to maximise both flavour and health considerations.” The large family vegetable garden supplies much of the produce used in the classes.
Founder of Pizzini Wines (with his wife Katrina), Alfredo takes the lead on vineyard strategy and management as well as enjoying lots of time hosting visitors in the cellar door and at Pizzini events around Australia.
Alfredo has been working this land since he was a schoolboy doing his bit for the family’s flourishing tobacco farm. Having considered and researched diversification into vegetables and blueberries, he settled on grapes. The subsequent thirty years have been spent growing and developing the vineyards, from the first small planting of Riesling, destined for Brown Brothers, to the current 170 acres with 17 varieties and no doubt more to come.
Over the past decade Alfredo and son Joel (Pizzini’s winemaker) have undertaken a systematic review and revitalisation of their vineyard. Different varieties, clones and trellis management regimes have been looked at with the sole aim of further improving grape quality. This has resulted in continual evolution through waves of grafting and replanting on numerous sites.
For Alfredo there are many aspects of the past twenty-five years to be proud of. These include seeing the King Valley emerge as a respected wine region and Australia’s foremost producer of Italian varieties and taking a leadership role in Australian-made Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. But they are dwarfed by the satisfaction of building a family business that his and Katrina’s four children (and in some cases their partners) happily work in today.
Joel Pizzini is the winemaker at Pizzini Wines.
Ever since he was a little kid he knew that he wanted to stay on the family farm and follow in his father Alfredo’s footsteps, “Dad has made us feel part of the business since we could walk”. Joel spent a lot of after-school time working with Alfredo and the team in the vineyards.
Joel still spends a lot of time in the vineyard and his knowledge of every contour of Pizzini’s 70 hectare vineyard means he works very closely with Alfredo now as they constantly evolve their grape production in the pursuit of quality and making wines that people love to drink. He also takes a deep interest in new clones of Italian wine varieties as they become available in Australia.
While studying at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, Joel did three vintages with King Valley Wines. Since finishing his degree he has worked at leading wineries in both Australia and Italy, doing vintages at Leeuwin Estate (Margaret River), Stonier Wines (Mornington Peninsula), Marenco (Piedmont) and Isole e Olena (Tuscany). Isole e Olena is one of the world’s top ten wineries and produces one of the top three Sangioveses in Italy.
Joel loves the variety of his role in the business as he works across winemaking, vineyard strategy and development and that he gets to use all of his senses – sight, smell, touch, taste and even a little bit of intuition – to bring out the best in the grapes as they pass through the winery each year.
Joel is married to Anna-Kate Pizzini and they have two children, Luca and Isabella.
Natalie manages the branding and marketing aspects of Pizzini Wines.
Her first role in the family business was as manager of the Mountain View Hotel in Whitfield. Over the eight years spent there she learnt a lot about what people want – whether staff, locals or tourists. At this time tourism in the King Valley was in its early growth stages and Natalie contributed through ensuring the Mountain View Hotel offered a great visitor experience as well as providing leadership and highly-valued input into a number of local tourism bodies.
Stepping into the branding and marketing role at Pizzini Wines has allowed Natalie’s creativity free reign as she comes up with events both on site and around Australia, edits the much-loved Pizzini newsletter Tre Amori and plans the next move to put Pizzini Wines into people’s glasses. “I love that I am able to work with my family to build a business for our family. I also love it when we create an event, whether in the King Valley or anywhere else, that really captures the spirit of Pizzini and the smiling faces when we say goodbye are the best reward.”
Natalie is married to Bernie Wood and they have two children, Charlie and Robbie.
These days Nicole or Nicki as she is more commonly known, can be found lending a hand in the Cellar Door or the Cooking School at busy times. A mother of three with a career external to the wine industry, she still loves being part of the family business when she can.
Like her brothers and sister, she has worked in various parts of the business since she was a teenager, including the vineyards and Mountain View Hotel. But it is really the Cellar Door that she enjoys for its conviviality and vibrant atmosphere. She enjoys seeing people savour the family wines and hospitality and is proud to help tell the Pizzini story to visitors through the Cellar Door experience.
Nicki is married to Campbell Royal and they have three children, Chloe, Elijah and Asher.
Carlo takes the lead on sales and business management at Pizzini Wines.
He says his “formal training started at the ripe old age of about twelve” with hours spent in the vineyard but he credits his Nonno’s vinegar with giving him a taste for fermented grapes as he loved to sneak a taste from the wooden vinegar cask, a tradition that Carlo has continued by keeping his own vinegar cask bubbling away in his home kitchen.
With a marketing diploma and degree in International Business, overseas ventures were beckoning but the call of the family business proved too strong and Carlo has gradually worked through various arms of Pizzini Wines and the Mountain View Hotel to give him the experience to take on his current role. Some highlights for Carlo so far have been setting up wholesale sales in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, putting robust business systems in place for the next growth phase (all that time at Uni had to count for something) and reopening the Mountain View Hotel, with his wife Sally, after its hiatus in external hands.
But what he really enjoys about Pizzini Wines is working with the family and staff and the friendships that can’t help but develop along the way when good wine, good food and good people are involved.
Carlo is married to Sally Pizzini and they have a daughter, Francesca.
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