Autumn and wine-making

It’s autumn in Adelaide and the traditional time to make wine after the grape harvest. People like Angelo Innocente made wine every year and the feature photo was taken at his home at Lockleys when he was 89 years. In their interviews many narrators spoke about the ritual of wine making. Jimmy Ballestrin explains why it was important for the first generation to maintain Veneto traditions. Other narrators recall the processes of making wine – and provided details about where families got the grapes, how children were involved in pressing the grapes and sharing the ritual with others – including the local policeman!

I’ve selected excerpts from just four interviews to give the idea of the family activity of making wine in autumn.

Jimmy Ballestrin, 6 June 2011
I think it was very important because … you know, there’s always something of home. In those days especially, they all liked to have their glass of wine, and wine wasn’t that easy to come by here in Adelaide, the type of wine they were used to drinking, and also the type of foods that they were used to eating, weren’t readily available. So therefore yes, they liked to keep the lifestyle of their Italian lifestyle, and, and might I say, perhaps improved on the Italian lifestyle that they, that they had. Because of their poverty over there, they did all the things that they were able to, that they were able to muster here …

Ermenegildo Ballestrin, Hartley Road, Load of grapes ready for processing. Photo supplied by Ric and Ang Ballestrin.

Norma Camozzato nee Ballestrin,
21 September 2016
Around Easter we used to go picking our own grapes. At Williamstown. I remember Williamstown I used to like going up there. Mum would provide the food. Well, Frankie’s mother would provide her family and we’d all go up there and we’d have this nice chicken in the middle of the plants. And, yeah, I remember picking grapes, then coming home and the men would squash it and carry on … I didn’t care about wine. But we always had wine …

Norma Ballestrin c 1948
Norma Ballestrin, Hartley Road, c 1948. Photo supplied by Norma Camozzato nee Ballestr

Roma Bordignon nee Zampin, 3 February 2017.
We used to get into the big bucket or whatever it was, and we’d go with our feet and we’d dance the Tarantella. (Laughter] … And [Dad would] say, “Come on girls. Hurry up! We’ve got to make this wine.” So, we’d dance faster. And the Lockleys policeman at the time, he used to come up to see Gerry, as they called Dad. And he’d say, “How are you going Gerry? Have you made the wine yet?” And he’d say, “Yeah. Would you like a taste?” So, he’d sit down and drink it. He only come up to see him for a drink … 

Zampin family c 1954. Photo supplied by the family.


Angelina and Vittorio Marchioro, Romano, and Johnny, in front. Frogmore Road, 1943. Photo supplied by Johnny.

Johnny Marchioro, 21 July 2008
I think they used to go to Reynella and get their grapes for the wine. Dad made a cement tank and when the wine season was – back in would have been April, May – used to get it and we used to squash it, jump in the barrel and squash it by foot, and they’d make our own wine. That was like a seasonal thing.





Autumn is also the time for Easter here in Adelaide. I know that many families had Easter customs related to special food for Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Buona Pasqua!

Madeleine Regan
21 March 2021

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