Nonna's Vineyard
by Diana Ruzzene Grollo

The book "Nonna's Vineyard" was based on a vineyard in the Whittlesea hills, north of Melbourne, Australia. It produced a small amount of merlot wine mostly for personal family consumption. It was developed by the growing of cuttings over a long period, from one single vine of great sentimental value to the great grandmother. The vineyard was finally established in 1997 at Whittlesea. These vines took 4-5 years to mature and produce grapes. In the last few years it has become well established with 400 vines in total, though some were purchased white treminar. Unfortunately, the fires of February 2009 destroyed the entire region with many human casualties. The vineyard and all is machinery, sheds, water pipes and tanks were all destroyed. The house remained, as it was built of bluestone, inside all furniture was covered by an inch of soot, which required professional cleaning three times and still burnt smell permeates. In the days after the fire Nonno and Nonna worked tirelessly to clear and care for the vines. Everything had melted the netting, steel runners, the poles burnt and the urgent need for watering as the water tanks had melted. Nonno and Nonna found lots of dead animals around the vineyard which they buried with much difficulty. It was very heartbreaking to see all their hard work all destroyed, Nonna cried. They were able to get some men to help and an expert in vines visited to have a look at what was the best way to deal with the disaster. Only a miricle would help. Some vines and roots were removed but not those from the special single vine. These were left hoping that new growth would come from the roots. After many months gradually some developed shoots at the bottom of the vine. The watering was continuous a tanker carried the water and several men worke hard as did Nonno and Nonna. Tending to the vines like babies. By December many had new growth. Nonno and Nonna insisted to continue with the new enclosure that was planned the year before even before the new shoot came out as the fire was a big obstacle but they would start again if necessary to show 'Giovanni' that life is full of ups and downs but one has to pull oneself up and continue as the great grand parents have done through the wars, and the fires, and the depression.

For further enquiries:-

MURE Pty Ltd
344 Mansfield Street
Thornbury 3071
Victoria, Australia
Telephone: + 613 8480 0400
Facsimile: +613 9484 7522


Diana Ruzzene Grollo
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This page was last modified October 2009 AEST.