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A generational shift for an established Goulburn Valley cellar door

Words by Jay Dillon
Images supplied

Since the end of the lockdowns, we hear many stories of the struggles faced by the hospitality operators across regional Victoria. However, in a winery in the Goulburn Valley, a chance conversation became a catalyst for a realignment of values and new opportunities.

Both Hannah and Tess had returned to the Shepparton region with their partners at the start of Covid with Hannah now a well-experienced events manager and Tess honing branding and design skills at a Melbourne studio. The two were introduced by their respective partners and instantly hit it off, deciding to entwine their skills sets to create Rye Studio.

Shepparton Winery

Rye studio quickly gained a formidable reputation for crafting exquisite branding and management for events, weddings and festivals across the region. Established Dookie winery Tallis Wine became a loyal customer and it was in discussions with the owners that a new opportunity arose.

Richard and Alice Tallis have been growing fruit on the ancient Cambrian soil of the Dookie Hills for more than 25 years, dedicated to estate-grown varietals that embrace the warmer client like shiraz, cabernet, grenache, sangiovese. At the end of Covid, Alice and Richard decided managing a cellar door was a distraction from their passion for winemaking and it was here that Hannah and Tess saw an opportunity to take the reins and reimagine what a cellar door can be.

‘Tess and I both have a love of design, curated events and hospitality with a dedication to the Goulburn Valley’s producers, farmers and local businesses. Running a new wine bar at the amazing Tallis property allows us to do that on a greater scale.’ Explains Hannah.

With fresh eyes and great skill, Hannah and Tess’ reimagined wine bar marks a changing of the guard for the Goulburn Valley wine region. Along-side the full range of Tallis Wines they are now serving a small list of other favourite wines, local gins and wildly fun beers from Shepparton’s Wild Life Brewing Co and Shepparton Brewery. As we find out from Hannah, the menu is quite the shift away from your standard cheese platter too.

Winery Shepparton

‘We’ve simply modernised the food expectation of a regional cellar door, with a tapas style menu that includes buratta served with seasonal local veggies, anchovy garlic bread and warm olives with bay leaves, chili and lemon. For those seeking a full lunch, we do have some more substantial items on the menu like arancini with red pesto and chicken goujons with aioli with can be matched with a Salad verde’.

Monthly special events will keep the offering fresh and exciting. The first of which was a special set-menu to celebrate Mother’s Day that quickly sold out. These special events will continue now that Hannah and Tess have a new chef coming on board before the end of the month. Keep an eye on the Rye at Tallis social media account for a local Sunday roast, Italian pasta day or a colourful Mexican fiesta!

The two seem to have an unlimited resource for inspiration, as Hannah tells us that they are currently seeking to install a wood fired pizza oven, with plans to offer guests a cocktail menu as well. Their experience with weddings and corporate events mean plans are also afoot to cater for larger events.

The cellar door itself is a fantastic space for long table corporate lunches and workshops and we have the opportunity to utilise an area up on the hill to set up a marquee to host larger events and weddings.

This is the sort of energy that we love to see coming into regional hospitality, with Hannah and Tess really showing the industry what the next generation are capable of. We are excited to be witness to the metamorphosis of this much loved cellar door.


What: Reimagined Wine Bar
Where: 5 Major Plains Rd, Dookie
When: Thursday to Sunday 11am – 5pm
More info: Rye at Tallis

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