Australian exports: ripe for picking

Rod Micallef took over Zonzo Estate’s cellar with a bold plan.

It's widely accepted in viticulture it will take 12 years for a cellar to break even. Micallef wanted to do it in six.

Now, Zonzo Estate is one of the most-celebrated wineries in Victoria’s storied Yarra Valley.

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“I don't know of many places that make your food, make your wine, make your beer and set the whole environment,” Micallef says.

"I don't know of many places that make your food, make your wine, make your beer and set the whole environment.” - Rod MicallefZonzo Estate sits on 230 acres, with 45 acres dedicated to their maturing vineyard. Micallef runs a team of about 55 staff throughout the vineyard, winery and restaurants as well as an operational cattle farm.

“All I wanted to be was a chef - I started off in this tiny pizzeria and we ended up being extremely popular,” he says.

For Micallef, the Yarra Valley was a natural fit to expand the business.

After eight years, Zonzo’s landlords put the property up for sale and Micallef decided he wanted to take the next step.

“I want to create a beautiful experience when people visit Zonzo Estate," he says. "Our winemakers make wines to suit our food[and] just before harvest we take fruit samples and check baumé levels to make sure we're right on time for picking.”

Zonzo Estate has recently expanded their business into the ever-growing Asian exports business, sending products over to Shanghai and Hong Kong.

“While we were there we had an opportunity to showcase our products and we had a tasting of our wine that led to the first order of 580 bottles. Since then we've come back and they’ve recorded another 1,500 bottles,” Micallef says.

“There's a lot in store for Zonzo in the future.”

Leanne Giles is a brand performance expert at ANZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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