Zema Estate celebrates a 40-year milestone

Zema Estate is this year celebrating its 40th anniversary through numerous events in Coonawarra and around Australia.

What started as a love story in Calabria, Italy, became a 40-year obsession with Cabernet and Shiraz. In 1957, Demetrio Zema followed his fiancée Francesca to Australia in search of something more.

“Australia was the land of opportunity for Mum and Dad,” Nick Zema, co-founder and Director at Zema Estate said.

“All their hard work was to achieve one goal – to purchase a Coonawarra vineyard and establish wine under the Zema name.”

Francesa & Demitrio (dec) Zema. Image captured in 2019.

In March 1982, their dream became a reality when the Zema family purchased 20 acres right in the heart of Coonawarra’s famed terra rossa – 8 acres of which were already planted with mature Shiraz vines.

When it came time to decide what to plant, the Zema family saw no reason to depart from Scottish pioneer John Riddoch’s 1891 recommendation, planting their remaining land with Cabernet Sauvignon.

“Our whole business is built on these two great grape varieties; Cabernet – vibrant and rich with a great line of length, and Shiraz for a great mouthfeel and loads of flavour,” said Zema.

Zema Estate now has 150 acres of vines in three Coonawarra locations. Whilst taking great pride in their achievements, Nick says they haven’t lost sight of their original philosophies.

“Hand-pruning to nurture and foster each vine, careful fruit selection, enriching the fruit flavours through selected winemaking techniques, using the best oak barrels available, and diligent bottle ageing are key to the Zema signature style.”

Wine lovers can taste Zema’s wine first hand in Coonawarra at the family winery or at the Coonawarra Cellar Door in the City events taking place around Australia this August.  Zema Estate are also offering array of intimate tastings and dinner events throughout the year to acknowledge the milestone with festivals such as Coonawarra Cellar Dwellers (July)  and Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations (October) celebrating their wines and remarkable  history.

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