Primo Estate is one of the first places my boyfriend Marco and I visited in McLaren Vale. Primarily because Marco, an Italian, figured out that the family behind the winery was Italian and they had Italian varietals on offer. Primo Estate became one of our favorite wineries after this first visit.
Primo Estate: The Story
Primo Grilli is the man responsible for this beautiful estate and its wonderful wines. In 1953, he and his family left Le Marche in Italy to begin a new life in Australia. Primo settled in Victoria, just north of Adelaide. He started cultivating crops to sell on local markets. The Grilli family, as production increased, decided to establish their vineyards in 1973.
Primo’s son Joe graduated in 1979 from Roseworthy Agricultural College at the top of his winemaking class. Primo handed the keys of the family winery to Joe and Peter, his other son. Joe was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to apply all of the cutting-edge winemaking techniques that he had learned at Roseworthy. The Australian wine industry had yet to adopt practices that were used in Europe. Double pruning Cabernet Sauvignon can improve the fruit quality. Botrytis is also used in Riesling varieties. The Amarone and Ripasso methods were soon tested.
The 2018 Primo Estate First Run Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Joe’s unique approach to using Italian winemaking methods on New World Australian varieties helped Primo Estate quickly gain a reputation as a unique producer of wines. Joe and Dina assumed the management of Primo estate in 1985. They also share a love of high-quality olive oil. In 1989, they began bottling their extra virgin oil under the JOSEPH label. Primo Estate’s Cold Pressed Olive Oils and First Run Olive Oils received the same praise and recognition over the years as their wines.
Joe and Dina achieved another dream by planting their vineyards in McLaren Vale, Clarendon. Primo Estate’s new McLaren Vale headquarters opened in 2006 with a stunning cellar door. The design elements reflect the family’s Italian heritage as well as the beauty of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Even a wood-fired oven was imported from Umbria.
Joe has lived at Primo Estate since he graduated from Roseworthy. However, he makes time to visit his homeland. Since 1995, he has worked in Italy each year to harvest grapes. Joe worked in Umbria, Italy, for two years after Hardy’s Winery, an Australian winery, convinced him to work for their newly acquired winery. Joe returns to Italy every year to visit the local winemakers. Joe produces red wine in Tuscany with the growers and white wine in Veneto, which he then brings back to Primo Estate.
Tastings and Experiences
Primo Estate Bar Tasting – $5 per person. With any purchase. A friendly member of staff will guide you to the bar and take you through a tasting. Bookings are not required. Maximum group number: seven people.
JOSEPH Wine Tasting is $20 per person. With the purchase of a JOSEPH product, this fee is waived. You can enjoy a tasting at a table featuring the latest JOSEPH extra virgin olive oil, Italian Grana Padano, and freshly baked bread. Reservations are required. Bookings are required. Maximum 12 people per booking.
Primo Estate hosts many fun events, including porchettas, spring lunches, and wood-fired pizza parties. Primo Estate has the latest information on its website.
We were having so much fun during our trip that I didn’t make many notes. However, I did jot down some of my favorite wines. Try to taste them if you can!
Primo Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil was delicious!
NV Primo Secco This sparkling wine from Primo Estate is Primo’s version of Prosecco. Very, very, very fresh. Crisp and bright with a sharp acidity. These bubbles are great. These bubbles are perfect for any occasion, including appetite.
2018 Primo Estate Nero d’Avola – Medium-bodied, spicy, with notes of dark cherries, olive brine, and licorice.
2017 Primo Estate ‘il Briccone’ Shiraz Sangiovese – 80% Shiraz. 20% Sangiovese. Very well-balanced. Very well-balanced. It has a hint of spice but is still incredibly smooth. Cherry notes with a savory end.