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Primo Grilli came to Australia from the Le Marche region in Italy in 1953. He settled in Virginia, a small township north of Adelaide, and immediately set to work cultivating a market garden, exploiting the rich potential of the land and the climate.
In 1973 the entire Grilli family was involved in establishing the home vineyard. With Joe graduating Dux of Winemaking at Roseworthy agricultural college in 1979, Primo handed the keys of the winery to his sons Joe and Peter.
During his years at Roseworthy, Joe’s love and knowledge of the winemaking process flourished. Eager to make his mark producing extraordinary wines, Joe put into practice some of the wonderful things he’d learnt like radical techniques of double pruning Cabernet, and the use of botrytis on Riesling grapes, techniques unheard of in the early eighties. Trials of Amarone and Ripasso techniques followed.
Joe’s revolutionary approach to winemaking gave Primo Estate a reputation as one of the world’s truly unique winemaking operations, combining modern Australian know-how with old-school Italian winemaking heritage.
In 1985 Joe and his wife Dina took over operations at Primo Estate. Joe and Dina’s passion for wine is intertwined with their love for good olive oil. In 1989 they started to bottle their own oil to promote their new JOSEPH label. In fact, Joe and Dina were one of the first Australian Olive Oil producers to put Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a bottle, prior to that it was exchanged in flagons and drums between family and friends.
Over the years Primo Estate’s Cold Pressed and First Run Olive Oils have been acclaimed by chefs and gourmets, while the wines have received similar praise.
The Grilli family winery has come a long way since that first planting in Virginia, with Joe and Dina planting their dream vineyard and McLaren Vale. In 2006 Primo Estate opened the stunning new headquarters at McLaren Vale incorporating a cellar door and tasting room which combine modern design with classic Italian practicality to reflect the multicultural influences of the wines and olive oils.
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