Goe Di Fabio is one of McLaren Vale’s great winemakers with a success borne out of hard work and passion. Over the years, Goe’s winemaking skills have been honed with expert guidance from Wayne Thomas, stints at Geoff Merrill and Chateau Reynella as well as many vintages overseas . His family has been growing premium grapes in the region since 1966 when they bought their first vineyard in the elevated area of Blewitt Springs in McLaren Vale. Since then, Goe Di Fabio has supplied fruit to some of Australia’s leading wineries, including Geoff Merrill, Two Hands and d’Arenberg, as well as creating his own multi award-winning Di Fabio Estate range.
Built with ingenuity and vision
Goe and his brother Tony built the winery from scratch, often making ingenious modifications along the way to winery equipment, with Goe bringing back a wealth of ideas and techniques from his stints in Italy as a ‘flying winemaker’. Di Fabio Estate is still family owned, following the vision of parents Giovanni and Maria Di Fabio. Today the Di Fabio family own approximately 140 acres of vineyards situated in Blewitt Springs and McLaren Flat, in the renowned McLaren Vale wine region.
McLaren Vale, where sea meets vines
The McLaren Vale region has long been one of the most desirable wine regions of South Australia, offering the perfect lifestyle for winemakers. It’s close to some of South Australia’s most beautiful beaches (the proximity to the coast brings cooling evening breezes that are perfect for slow, even ripening of grapes), there’s a rich cultural heritage with many immigrant communities, particularly Italian, and naturally, a vibrant food and wine scene. The wines of McLaren Vale are renowned for their generosity of flavour and soft approachability, qualities you’ll find in every glass of Di Fabio Estates wine. The range includes flavour-packed Shiraz and blends of Grenache Shiraz Mataro.
Meet Di Fabio winemaker, Goe Di Fabio
From the age of 6, I lived and was raised on a vineyard at McLaren Flat. At 17, I got my first job at Gully Winery (Maglieri Wines) working with the great Wayne Thomas. Thomo took me under his wing and enrolled me in a short cellarhand course at Chateau Reynella where I met Geoff Merrill. During and post Roseworthy studies, I returned to Chateau Reynella where I stayed for 3 years. In ’81 and ’82 Thomo took me with him to run the vintage night shift at Chateau Douglas in the Hunter Valley working for Tyrrell’s. Early 1984 I joined Ryecroft Winery as Asisstant Winemaker for Burge and Wilson (Krondorf) until late in 1986, when I got a call from Geoff Merrill to join him as Winemaker and start up Geoff Merrill Wines. I accompanied Geoff in regular ‘Flying Winemaker’ stints based in Northern Italy, producing wines for the UK market. In 1994 we built the DiFabio Winery processing for both Geoff Merrill and DiFabio Estate. My first release was in 1995 with the DiFabio Bush Vine Shiraz, exclusive to Cellarmasters, winning Gold. The second release (1996) picked up the Trophy for Best Shiraz at the Melbourne Wine Show which cemented our continuing relationship with Cellarmasters.
Goe’s favourite wine moment
A great moment goes back to 2005 when I was walking through a Cabernet patch just before harvest with a small producer that I helped out. I asked why the berries on my right tasted significantly better than those on the left. We were in the middle of the block, he told me the vines on the left were grafted onto Ramsay rootstock and the ones on the right were on K51-32. Traditionally the wine was always made from patch on left, however… not this time. 18 months later this Cabernet wine won Gold in Adelaide, but more exciting, it was the first ever Gold Award for this producer … Yessss!
Goe’s winemaking Philosophy
1. Love your ingredients.
2. Love your region.
3. Love what you do.
“Love your ingredients, love your region and love what you do.”