Many Riverina vineyards have been farmed by the same dedicated families for over three generations. Here are some our stories

Jim Minato

Jim Minato

Wine Grape Growers

Jim + Emma

Tell us a little about yourself..

Jim – I have been farming for 37 years in the Lake Wyangan area of the Riverina. I started off on the family farm as a citrus grower and ventured into wine grapes 18 years ago when I planted my first block of Durif. The current size of the property is 20 ha to include Nero d’Avola fruit for Calabria Family Wines.

Emma – I have been fortunate enough to work at many wineries, including a small winery in Tuscany where we specialised in “Brunello di Montalcino” (Sangiovese), but I love working for Calabria Family Wines, creating local alternative wine styles.
At Calabria Family Wines, I am one of a team of four passionate winemakers and we have a great time ‘crafting’ wines that we love to drink.  I am driven to make wines that are true expressions of the fruit and terroir they represent.

What grape variety are you growing for Calabria Family Wines, and what makes these grapes grow well in the Riverina?

Jim – About five years ago Calabria Family Wines approached me and asked if I would be interested in planting and trialing two new Italian varieties. I love taking on a challenge so I agreed and planted two trial blocks – one of Nero d’Avola and another block of Montepulciano. I am currently growing five varieties of grapes for Calabria Family Wines including Rhine Riesling, Traminer and Durif.

I feel that the alternative red varieties grow really well in the Riverina, in particular the Nero d’Avola, due to the fact that they are suited to our warm Mediterranean climate. The soil type I have, which consists of 40cm of sandy loam on one metre of limestone, allows the soft black berries of Nero d’Avola to express their red cherry aromas. Working closely with the Calabria Family winemakers is important to achieving optimal results, and drip irrigation plays an important part too

What is it about Jim and Lynette Minato’s grapes that make a good Nero d’Avola?

Emma – Jim and Lynette are motivated growers who know their vineyard very well.
The Nero D’Avola block is east/west facing and the soil type is great for growing alternate varieties, in particular the Nero d’Avola, and expressing the terroir of our distinctive region.

What is your favourite dish with which to match your Nero d’Avola?

Emma – Nero d’Avola is a great food wine being medium bodied with fine-grained tannins making it compatible with a wide range of dishes, in particular gourmet pork sausages.  I generally eat fresh seasonal produce, so in my house, whatever is in season matches Nero d’Avola.


Click here to buy Calabria’s Nero d’Avola

Emma Norbiato

Emma Norbiato

Winemaker @ Calabria Family Wines