Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia

Meet the Characters: Alfredo Pizzini, Pizzini Wines

Since he was a young boy, Pizzini Wines’ charismatic founder, Alfredo Pizzini (better known as Fred), has been farming in Victoria’s picturesque King Valley, 250 kilometres (155 miles) north-east of Melbourne.

After his family migrated here from Northern Italy – alongside many other Europeans during the mid-20th century – he worked on their burgeoning tobacco farm into adulthood, experimenting with other crops and discovering an interest in grape growing.

“I’d married Katrina (co-founder of Pizzini Wines), our children were growing up, and we were also running the local Whitfield hotel,” recalls Fred. “We wanted to create a business that combined our love of people and farming in the King Valley.”

After buying a local vineyard and supplying grapes to other wineries for years, Fred launched Pizzini Wines in 1996. Since then, the King Valley has transformed into a multicultural wine centre, while Pizzini Wines has earned a shining reputation for its acclaimed Sangiovese and Nebbiolo.

“I think the King Valley really suits Northern Italian grape varieties because of the regions’ similarities,” says Fred. “There’s ample mountain- fresh water, mild temperatures, amazing soils and these terrific microclimates, which mean you can grow anything from Riesling to Sangiovese to Shiraz within a few hundred metres of each other, and have them produce entirely different characters.”

His self-described approach to winemaking – “wines built around food” – is reflected in the experiences on offer at the estate. No visit to Pizzini Wines is complete without learning the art of pasta-making at the winery’s purpose-built A Tavola! Cooking School, run by Katrina Pizzini (“Australia’s gnocchi queen,” says Fred, proudly). The relaxed, hands-on classes finish with a long lunch with Pizzini wine pairings. Fred also hosts meat smoking and curing classes.

You may also run into one of Fred and Katrina’s four children, who are also involved in the business. With son Joel now Chief Winemaker, Pizzini Wines is very much a family affair.


“Wine should be the bridesmaid to food (never the bride), to bring out the nuances of the herbs and spices on your plate.”