Emo Michelini was part of the great post WW11 immigration wave that changed the face of rural Australia. The patriach of the Michelini family, Emo arrived in Sydney in 1949 at the age of 25 with his wife Olga and young son. They then moved to the Alpine Valleys region from Sydney, where Emo began share farming with several other Italian families, growing and curing tobacco and became a part of the share farming community in the Buckland Valley.
Emo and Olga began living in a tobacco kiln, where they stayed for six months until a house could be built. "There was nothing here," he said. "It was 10 miles from town and if you wanted to buy something you had to come in on a pushbike."
"All the time we worked on the farm there was something to do. What choice did we have?" As well as tobacco farming, Emo earned extra money as a part – time butcher, using the skills he had brought with him when he arrived in Sydney, delivering meat to other Italian families. His efforts were rewarded in the years when tobacco became very profitable. By this time, Emo and Olga had lost a son and two other children had been born. The initial idea of returning to Italy had begun to fade, and life with a family of his own in the Alpine Valleys had begun.
By the 1950's, Emo recognized that tobacco was not the only crop that would do well in the area and began to plant grapes.
By the early 1980’s, looking for a source of fruit from cooler climates, Orlando Wines, based in the Barossa Valley SA approached Emo & discussed the possibility of developing a commercial vineyard in the Buckland Valley in order to supply them with grapes for sparkling wines.
And it is here where our Myrtleford story really begins.....