Myrtleford comes alive on the weekend of the annual May La Fiera Festival with locals and visitors alike revelling in the heady mix of food, wine, music, displays, masterclasses and tours celebrating the region’s Italian links. It may be news to many that during WW2 an internment camp was established near Whorouly to house foreign prisoners of war. All prisoners at the Camp were Italian, captured during the North African campaign.

The internment was humane and allowed the prisoners to mix with the community. With a significant number of local men overseas in the forces the Italians stepped in to work the land, harvest the crops and help feed the local population. They were adopted willingly by the community and once the war was over many remained and invested in the area. They brought their knowledge and traditions to the food and wine culture of the area. Many of Billy Button’s growers have Italian heritage and maintain the faith in the merit of Italian grape varietals.

Billy Button had a stand at Saturday’s food and wine extravaganza at the Myrtleford piazza with a wonderful backdrop of glorious sunshine and jaunty live music which had folks on their feet dancing in the square. Pete and Jolene served the crowds and our Italian varietal wines went down a treat. (insert pics here).

It is an important part of the Billy Button philosophy that we use local growers and interesting varietals in addition to classics. Jo now has several vintages behind her of locally grown Italian varietals and learns more about their vagaries every year. Growers always inform her decisions with their experience and knowledge. Jo considers the relationship with a grower to be vital to the quality of the grapes and hence the wine.

Look out for the upcoming new releases and get some handy for next time you make a pasta, pizza or classic minestrone!