Join us as we explore the valley where prosecco reigns supreme.
Nestled amongst the hills of northeast Victoria not far from the state’s pristine alpine region, you’ll find the stunningly picturesque King Valley. With a wealth of history that includes famous bushrangers, tobacco farms and Italian migrants, today it is famous for its vineyards and has become home of prosecco in Australia.
Originating in the Italian region of Veneto, in an area just north of Venice, prosecco has gone from strength to strength, with consumption increasing year on year the world over. Italy’s flagship sparkling wine, it is made from glera grapes and produced using the tank method, a process of fermenting wine in tanks as opposed to individual bottles. This makes prosecco much more affordable than other bubbles, like champagne.
With the King Valley closely resembling northern Italy, many of the migrants who arrived in Australia in the 1940s and 50s were naturally drawn to the area. The land was then primarily used for tobacco, and many new arrivals found work on these farms up until the 1960s when the industry declined. It was then that many saw the potential in the emerging local wine industry, with conditions that were perfect for European varietals. It was also around this time that Otto Dal Zotto decided to make the King Valley his home.
Born in 1948 in Valdobbiadene, the birthplace of prosecco, Otto migrated to Australia in 1967 and immediately found the cool climate and Italian community of the King Valley a comforting reminder of home. Inspired by his childhood surrounded by vineyards, he purchased land and began planting some of the Italian grape varieties closest to his heart: barbera, sangiovese, pinot grigio and arneis.
Dal Zotto always knew the King Valley, with its Mediterranean climate, was the perfect place to grow the varieties he grew up with. But it wasn’t until 1998 – while discussing the lack of good Australian prosecco with his family – that he decided to take action. The rest, as they say, is history.
It took 12 months to produce the grafted prosecco vines in numbers sufficient enough to allow viable plantings to be undertaken. The cuttings were obtained from a fellow Italian migrant who had imported them into Australia, and even had them DNA tested to confirm their authenticity. By the end of 1999 the vines were planted, and six years later the first vintage of Dal Zotto, King Valley Prosecco was released.
Dal Zotto winery is now considered the pioneer of Australian prosecco – with Otto’s wife, Elena, and their sons, Michael and Christian, all playing an important part in the family business. Elena is responsible for the kitchen garden that supplies the winery’s Italian-focused trattoria.
Michael has followed in his father’s footsteps as a next-generation Dal Zotto winemaker, while Christian handles the sales and marketing of the company. In 2009, Michael was awarded a prestigious International Specialised Skills Institute (ISSI) fellowship, given to industry leaders to nurture their craft by visiting the masters of their trade. Michael chose to travel to Valdobbiadene to learn from the original prosecco producers.
The Dal Zotto Pucino Prosecco is the ultimate crowd-pleaser at any occasion. With its vivid green hue, hints of fresh cut pear, citrus blossom, gentle bubbles and a touch of spice. It offers the maximum amount of sweetness and freshness and perfectly suits the Australian climate. When pairing with food, the sweetness of prosecco matches well with cured meats like traditional Italian prosciutto and even Southeast Asian dishes like Pad Thai.
So, if you’re looking for a versatile bubbly that is great value for money, head to the King Valley, say hello to Otto and discover for yourself why the King Valley is considered a little slice of Italy. Or you can pop into your local First Choice Liquor Market for a taste of Dal Zotto, King Valley prosecco!