It was 1937 when Kevin Nesci’s grandfather Cosmo set out from the tip of the boot in Italy – Calabria – seeking a new life in Australia. He found just that, with a piece of land where both his future family and vineyard could flourish under the warmth of the Western Australian sun.
World War II delayed the arrival of Cosmo’s family, and it wasn’t until 1948 that his wife and three sons finally arrived, by horse and cart, at the 500 acre bush block just off Great Northern Highway in the Shire of Chittering. His eldest son Antonio (Tony) recalls the moment he first saw the land that would become Nesci Estate.
“It was thick with trees — all just bush with one barbed wire around it!” he chuckles. There was much work to be done.
Fast forward to 2018 and Tony’s son, Kevin, is busy putting the final touches on the beautifully manicured gardens of the estate as well as hand-pruning the 60 acres of vines that are his family heritage. Exactly seventy years after the first canes were buried, Kevin will open the winery to a potential crowd of over 5000 visitors when he hosts the Shire of Chittering’s flagship event, ‘Taste of Chittering’ on Sunday 26 August.
Following tourism trends has led Kevin to transform the working vineyard and cattle farm into a beautiful winery and function centre, complete with a rustic tasting shed, breathtakingly pretty gardens and even a stage for bands and entertainment. As the oldest winery in the Chittering Valley, the rolling estate begs an audience.
At heart, Kevin himself prefers the simple act of wine-making – the art of turning sunlight into wine. He has learnt his craft literally through osmosis. A life growing up amongst the vines and working daily chores has taught him what he needs to know about the seasons, the soil, what factors contribute to the best grapes and thus the best wine.
Over the years Kevin has brought in wine-makers to teach him new techniques as they emerge and learn new styles as they become popular. Just as the grapevines are pruned and reshaped every year, tastes and trends shoot out in new directions. He has experimented with several styles and blends he can make from the original grape varieties of Shiraz, Granache, Chardonnay and Zinfandel planted on the property. This year he will offer his 2017 Semillon Savingnon Blanc Chardonnay, a crisp and lively white blend with a strong body and a delightful finish, a rich Merlot and a range of tantalising stickies and ports. A new release to be launched at Taste is a light and fruitful rosé with a dry finish. However he’s hard pressed to choose his best.
“That’s like asking a mother to choose her favourite child!” he says. “I love them all for different reasons!”