Words by Marnie Bodin Images supplied
If you’re searching for a regal exploration of food and wine over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend (6 – 7 June), then head to the King Valley’s Weekend Fit for a King.
The annual food and wine festival celebrates everything the cool-climate wine region has to offer, from its Italian-influenced wines and fantastic local produce to local artists and family-friendly atmosphere.
With family roots in the region dating back to just after the first world war, Grace Darling, from Darling Estate, knows that the King Valley is particularly special.
The valley has an awesome community spirit. Everyone works together to create an amazing weekend… It’s a real celebration of the food, wine and hospitality that the King Valley has to offer.
Darling Estate Wines, are celebrating the family’s 100th year in King Valley. To mark the occasion, there’ll be a few special vintages available to taste alongside the winery’s current releases. Once you’ve tried the range, grab a glass of red and a famous home-made sausage and cosy up by the fire pit. There are activities for the kids too, so everyone can sit back and relax.
At the valley’s oldest winery, Brown Brothers, take a tour of the family cellar and taste the full range of wines, while the kids can entertain themselves with a giant chess set or on the playground.
Architecture lovers should pay a visit to Chrismont, where, inside the award-winning building, you’ll find tastings of all Chrismont and La Zona wines, while the restaurant will offer slow-cooked Italian dishes to celebrate the season.
Dal Zotto continues the Italian-influence with pizza, pasta and prosecco all weekend long, alongside live music and kids entertainment, while King River Estate will showcase its range of traditional and alternative varietals with Italian street food providing the ideal accompaniment.
At La Cantina indulge in family recipes, including Nonna’s lasagne, before browsing the market stalls to find local produce, handmade goods and coffee. You’ll also want to enjoy tastings of wines made in a traditional Tuscan manner, with no added preservatives, all while you’re serenaded by live music.
If you prefer an amber brew, King River Brewing is also worth a visit. The full range of craft and seasonal beers will be available to purchase but it’s hard to go past a tasting paddle on the day.
It’s not all food and wine though – the King Valley Art Show also takes place this weekend, showcasing works from artists near and far.
If you’re worried about the June weather, Grace Darling thinks it won’t be a problem. “The weekend is somehow always blessed with good weather, even though it’s the middle of winter”.
Your $25 festival ticket includes access to participating wineries, free tastings, festival menus, entertainment, and either a Spiegelau tasting glass (drinkers) or reusable water bottle(non-drinkers) to take home. Kids play free.