Coonawarra Farewells Zema Family Patriarch

Hearts in Coonawarra are aching this week, with the news of the passing of a Coonawarra great over the weekend. Demetrio Zema, patriarch of the Zema Family passed away peacefully on Friday 29 May 2020 aged 87 years.

Arriving in Coonawarra in 1959,  Demetrio was the founder and owner of Zema Estate in Coonawarra South Australia, along with his wife, Francesca, and their sons, Matt (dec) and Nick.

Demetrio had a passionate dream and a love of wine – stemming all the way from the ancestral home, Calabria in southern Italy – to establishing Zema Estate in 1982 and to continue a multi-generational tradition of grape-growing and winemaking in Coonawarra.

Demetrio and the Zema family worked very closely together in developing one of Australia’s much-loved small family wineries.  The Zema family deservedly take great pride in their achievements and have never lost sight of Demetrio’s original philosophy of growing the best possible grapes to – consistently produce exceptional wines.

The eldest of 8 children, Demetrio loved returning to Italy  and he spoke of his homeland with fondness, as he left behind his family to start a new life, and marry the love of his life Francesca, and together they built a strong legacy for future generations.

Demetrio was quite a character and loved to greet visitors to the Cellar Door in Coonawarra, with many fond memories of Demetrio pouring Zema Estate’s finest wine and sharing stories.

In addition to his family and wine interests, Demetrio was an avid hunter, loved his dogs and a huge motor GP fan.

Demetrio was a much loved and respected member of the Coonawarra, Penola and Australian wine community and he will be deeply missed.

The Zema family would like to thank everyone for their condolences at this sad time.

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