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Patritti Wines

One of the first matters brought to my attention when I was elected was the trouble that the Patritti family was having getting the sign on Morphett Rd replaced after it was knocked over.

Despite a few attempts and some odd excuses the Department refused to put it back up.

Given that wineries in rural regions all have tourist signs pointing to their cellar door it was greatly unfair that a rare working winery in the city was not being afforded the same courtesy.

It was also pointed out by people on the community that the sign was a key "landmark indicator" on Morphett Rd and was sorely missed.

Thankfully persistence paid off and the Department did change its mind and the sign was replaced.

Having a working winery and cellar door so close to Marion Shopping Centre is a real bonus to our community. I can highly recommend a visit if you haven't been before they have an outstanding range of white, red, fortified and non-alcoholic wine.

If you'd like to read more about the history of Patritti winery below is a speech I presented in Parliament. 

Patritti Winery

Speech to Parliament
16 October 2014

Mr WINGARD ( Mitchell ) ( 16:56 ): I rise this afternoon to speak about a wonderful business in the electorate of Mitchell, the Patritti Winery. It came to my attention very early on in campaigning.

Patritti Wines road sign

One of the first matters brought to my attention when I was elected was the trouble that the Patritti family was having getting the sign on Morphett Rd replaced after it was knocked over.

Despite a few attempts and some odd excuses the Department refused to put it back up.

Given that wineries in rural regions all have tourist signs pointing to their cellar door it was greatly unfair that a rare working winery in the city was not being afforded the same courtesy.

It was also pointed out by people on the community that the sign was a key "landmark indicator" on Morphett Rd and was sorely missed.

Thankfully persistence paid off and the Department did change its mind and the sign was replaced.

Having a working winery and cellar door so close to Marion Shopping Centre is a real bonus to our community. I can highly recommend a visit if you haven't been before they have an outstanding range of white, red, fortified and non-alcoholic wine.

If you'd like to read more about the history of Patritti winery I did a speech on their establishment in Parliament and you can read it in the speech folder on this website. 

I have also known about this winery for many years since moving into the area as a young teenager. It is a great family business and they do wonderful things. It came to my attention just after the election because one of their tourist signs on Morphett Road was blown over. They asked the department to replace the sign and it was, coincidentally, knocked back. They have one of these signs pointing to their winery on Sturt Road, they had one on Morphett Road (that was the one that got knocked over) and they also had one on Seacombe Road. It was surprising that it was knocked back given that it is such a great winery and has such a great tradition. I have been working closely with the department and also the minister and I am hoping that we are going to get that replaced for them in the very near future. 

This winery was established in 1926 by Giovanni Patritti in the heart of Dover Gardens, which as I said is in the state electorate of Mitchell, and his legacy continues today. It is the only fully operational, 100 per cent family-owned winery and cellar door located in an Australian capital city—unbelievably unique and quite astounding. It is right next-door to Bright as well, and I will be taking the member for Bright there for a couple of drinks at some stage. I say with a note there that the member for Bright does not drink alcohol, and I will explain more on that a little later. The five-acre property is less than 10 minutes from Glenelg and has 20 staff who work in the original 1930s Patritti family winery. 

Giovanni's sons, Geoff and John, are directors and still work at the winery. The eldest son, Peter, is now retired but remains a vital board member. Giovanni's daughter, the delightful Ines Patritti, is the managing director and his grandson, James, is one of two winemakers. James and his colleague, Ben Heide, are passionate winemakers and continue to heighten the status of Patritti's premium range of wines through dedication, experimentation and commitment to small-batch, quality winemaking. 

Giovanni came to Australia almost 90 years ago as a 25 year old. He could not speak. He landed at the port and he went straight to work. In fact, he began selling ice-cream at the gates of the Botanic Gardens on North Terrace and he started his business acumen then. He was a very sharp operator, Giovanni, and he was quick to note the lack of fine table wine and the dominance of beer in Australian society. He observed the abundance of sunshine and fertile soils south of Adelaide and immediately noted the land's suitability for quality wine production. 

One year after arriving (an amazing feat), Giovanni, whose name had quickly changed to the more Australian John, was leasing vineyards in the Brighton district, now known as Dover Gardens, 15 kilometres south of Adelaide city, and made wine for New Australians. By the early 1930s, Giovanni had built a winery with his best friend, Cristiano, who went by the name Jimmy, and by the late 1940s he owned a number of vineyards surrounding the winery. They began trading to customers in Adelaide and Melbourne. Until 1947, Giovanni (John) and Cristiano (Jimmy) ran a winery electricity-free. Can you imagine that: 1947 and their winery had no electricity. It is quite hard to fathom today. 

From the late 1920s until the 1960s, they predominately made dry red table wine and fortified wines. Throughout the forties and fifties, large quantities of Patritti wine were shipped in wooden barrels to communities of Italian and eastern European migrants who sought European-style wine to consume with their meals. Patritti barrels could be found in regional towns such as Andamooka, Coober Pedy, Alice Springs, Griffith, the Queensland cane fields, and Melbourne. 

 

 

In the 1950s, population growth and demand for housing around the winery meant that much of the land utilised previously for food and wine production (the area was known as the Garden of Adelaide) was converted to residential land. The vineyards were acquired to meet the needs of a growing community and to create the suburb of Dover Gardens. In 1960 the Patritti family purchased land in the McLaren Vale region. Their over 50-year-old vineyards in Tatachilla and Blewitt Springs are highly regarded, and the fruit is sought after by fellow winemakers in the region. 

Giovanni passed away in 1968, aged 68. His family continues to honour his legacy and appear to have bottled his pride, courage and innovation and sheer hard work. In the 1970s the family business model changed quite drastically. Giovanni's three sons, Peter, John and Geoff, were entrenched in running the family business. The sons were in their late 20s and early 30s, and they were full of energy and inspiration. 

Australians had now truly developed a taste for red table wine and white wine, as opposed to beer, spirits and fortified wines, and vineyard plantings soared. Exports of Australian wines were still minimal; therefore, Australia acquired a serious grape glut by the mid-1970s. Out of the need to diversify and continue growing their business, Giovanni's sons, John and Geoff, came up with an ingenious and resourceful solution, one that has remained Patritti's unique point of difference over the past 40 years. 

Patritti began crafting 100 per cent natural non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice from their wine grapes, and that is what I will get the member for Bright to sample. The first batch of non-alcoholic juice was made in 1974, and it has since been shipped right around the world. Hundreds of containers go out every year. It has been an outstanding success and a hallmark of what they produce at the Patritti winery. However, the young winemakers who have evolved have embraced traditional technology. Giovanni's grandson, James Mungall, began working as a winemaker, and he brought along his good mate Ben Heide, and their experimentation with single vineyard wines and obscure varieties began. Their obsession for high end, small batch winemaking has resulted in a five-star rating from James Halliday, with many 90-plus scores for current release wines. 

The impressive part of this is that they had a tasting at the Marion Shopping Centre over the weekend, and people were super-impressed. It is not a high-profile brand, but can I tell you that it is a boutique wine and it is one to be savoured. There is something for everyone with Patritti wines; they are absolutely outstanding. Their innovation and story over the generations is to be commended. The wines they are creating at the moment are sensational; I have tried a couple. I tried the alcoholic varieties, and they were absolutely first class. 

I look forward with great pride to continuing to help this business grow both in Australia and in their overseas exports. Their wines are absolutely first class and are renowned as such. I can highly recommend that, if you are looking to have a little tipple, this is worthwhile indulging in. Ninety years on, they are still 100 per cent family owned and 100 per cent South Australian. They are an icon of the electorate of Mitchell. 

 *END*

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