“I believe we are stewards of the land.” – Nerio Panizzutti
Nerio Panizzutti a tailor originally from the town of Gaiarine in the Treviso. A sprightly, energetic gentleman even now in his late 70s, Nerio with his brother employed over 120 tailors in Sydney before he retired in 1974, purchasing a 500-acre working dairy farm in Exeter with an Italian partner from Belluno, Italy.
“A love of farming and fine wine were the catalyst that convinced Nerio to develop St Maur as a vineyard. He styled the estate on the famous vineyards of northern Italy, where Nerio’s family originated.
For St Maur Estate, Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Merlot vines soon replaced cattle. With a passion for quality, Nerio combined traditional growing and vine management techniques, including hand picking, with the best of today’s most modern farming practices.”
“Everything that we do is based on our beliefs that the wine should be, and our wine will be, known for the property from which it originates, rather than its varietal composition.” – Marco Panizzutti
Southern Highlands’ Saint Comes Marching In – Robert Parker
The Southern Highlands region of New South Wales, Australia, a picturesque network of small, connected villages 90 minutes drive south from Sydney, is a long way from the men’s tailoring capitals of Milan and Rome (see preceding pages of The Brief). However, here in the sleepy hamlet of Exeter resides the very Italian St Maur vineyard, owned by Nerio Panizzutti, a tailor originally from the town of Gaiarine in the Treviso. A sprightly, energetic gentleman even now in his late 70s, Nerio employed over 120 tailors in Sydney before he retired in 1974, purchasing a 500-acre working dairy farm in Exeter with an Italian partner from Belluno, Italy. In 1998 Nerio and his son Marco decided to put 16 acres of rich, volcanic soil under vine – “as an interest, a labour of love, using Dad’s Italian sensibilities”, says Marco – and started St Maur Wines, a single estate, small batch producer of pinot noir, cabernet, merlot and chardonnay. The wine, of which volume is capped at 1600 dozen bottles a year, earned such a solid underground reputation with Australian sommeliers that St Maur was picked up by top Sydney restaurants ARIA, Quay and Felix. Today St Maur is not sold in any bottle stores, rather only at cellar door and at a clutch of Sydney’s top hatted restaurants.
“All we want to do is share more of the good life,” explains Marco. “That’s it. We’re not driven by a desire to be the number one wine in Australia. We don’t enter awards. We don’t need someone to tell us whether it’s good or not. We don’t do this because we want to turn over a dollar quickly, either. We just want people to enjoy it.”
The good news for those wanting a lot more of St Maur is that in 2016 the vineyard is opening an on-site enoteca for guests to enjoy the longest of lunches. Marco says the family is still searching for the right chef, but the plan is to serve guests with four courses paired with St Maur wine from 12.30pm-5pm. “We do what we do with love and passion and excellence, and we just want to share more of the good life.”