Catena Raffaeles left her corporate career in 2009 and bought 20 acres in quiet Ripplebrook, with seven acres of vines that had been planted in 1998. Her father Giuseppe had made wine in the past, and Catena enlisted his help to begin turning her newly acquired grapes into something special.
Giuseppe infused family life with Italian stories, traditions and, of course, delicious food, all inspired by his upbringing in Lipari, in the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily. In 2015, Catena added a cellar door to the winery, named for Giuseppe, who passed away two years prior.
Inside the quaint shed, you can taste chardonnay, rosé, merlot, pinot noir, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon grown and made on site, before settling in for the kind of Italian hospitality Catena grew up with.
A wood-fired oven dominates the tiny kitchen, which churns out pizza, tapas, antipasti and comforting bowls of gnocchi. The cucina uses local produce where possible, with some ingredients – like the herbs atop your pizza – coming from the veggie patch outside.
You can cosy up indoors with warmth from the oven, or take a seat on the lawn to soak up the views of the vineyard and rolling hills of Mount Baw Baw beyond.
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