Being the closest vineyard to Falls Creek, Annapurna Estate can rightfully lay claim to being the skiers winery. Over the years, Ezio Minutello and his team at Annapurna have developed a deserved reputation for producing high quality cool climate wines. In the morning shadow of Mount Bogong, this picturesque vineyard grows high quality Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Merlot fruit with excellent flavour to produce memorable wines. At an altitude of 440 metres above sea level, Annapurna would be one of the highest in the region. This is complemented by the clean water, clear air, cold winters, hot summers and cool nights to intensify the flavour in the grapes.
The name Annapurna was given to the area by one of Falls Creek’s earliest residents, Tony St Elmo, who, with his wife Skippy, moved to the site after completing 15 years of working, teaching skiing and living in Falls Creek. The Minutello family have since discovered that the Nepalese translation is ‘Goddess of Bountiful Harvest and Fertility’ and they feel this aptly describes their vineyard.
Since the first harvest in 1992, there have been some notable achievements. One of the early ones was when 220 tonnes was hand-picked and sent to Seppelts in western Victoria to be used to make their premium sparkling Salinger Champagne. Another was 1996 when Annapurna won ‘Vineyard of the Year’ and were runners up in the Victorian Farm Management Awards. This was bettered in 1998 when the estate did win the Victorian Farm Management Award from the Royal Agricultural Society.
Another aspect to the vineyard has been the addition of a cellar door/restaurant and gazebo set among the gardens and surrounded by vines. This provides a perfect spot to relax and indulge one-self tasting the range of wines while enjoying a delightful meal and taking in the superb scenery.
The talents at Annapurna have recently been joined by Sweetwater Brewery. Peter Hull, originally from Melbourne, wanted to brew his own beers and his knowledge of the area led him to establish his brewery in the Upper Kiewa Valley. After establishing a market for his beers, Peter has now moved in with Annapurna where, as a team, they can now best be described as the perfect product. Good food, good wines, good beers in a great setting, warmed by the open fire in winter.
And, if that is not enough to tantalise the taste buds, Annapurna are now offering live entertainment on the third Saturday of each month with a Tapas Night. Last Saturday saw Lockwood and Katterl doing the entertaining and on Saturday 22nd August, the winery will feature JAM - Joel and Mitch, a couple of talented local guys.
The winery, café and cellar door at Annapurna is open from 11am - 5pm Wednesday to Friday and 10am - 5pm Saturday and Sunday. The café restaurant also trades into the evening on Saturdays from 6:30pm. Group tours and group dinner bookings by appointment. The winery is also an ideal venue for weddings and functions.
Annapurna Estate is located 2.2km up Simmonds Creek Road, Tawonga South. If you are travelling in to town from Bright or Albury Wodonga, look for the sign and turn right just before the West Kiewa River Bridge. Café - Ph: 5754 1356. Wine orders - Ph: 5754 4517
Enjoying a sampling at the new Brewery Bar at Annapurna - with Ezio and Pete. Pic Glen Thompson.