Mother’s Day is the calm after the storm for the Calabria winemaking family, arriving at the end of a tiring yet rewarding vintage season.
Matriarch Lena Calabria is looking forward to gathering with her family, including her four children, 10 grandchildren and 99-year-old mother for a beautiful lunch at the winery in Griffith. While Lena is renowned for cooking up huge Italian feasts for her family and the workers at the winery during busy vintage periods, on Mother’s Day she takes a back seat in the preparations and is treated to a delicious spread cooked by her four children, Frank, Michael, Andrew, and Elizabeth.
In true Italian style, the Calabria family will be dining on a spectacular Mediterranean meal filled with woodfire pizzas, and pasta, accompanied by a glass of Prosecco Spritz to toast the occasion.
To finish the festivities, the family will be breaking out a bottle of one of Lena’s favourite white wines from the cellar, the Calabria Private Bin Pinot Bianco.
“After such a busy vintage season where we really have needed all hands on deck, I feel lucky to be able to celebrate with great wine, homecooked Italian dishes, and best of all, four generations of the family seated around one table,” Lena said. “It’s our favourite way to mark any occasion, big or small.
“Although I enjoy preparing big feasts for everyone at the winery to enjoy, I do look forward to a Mother’s Day when my children like to take charge of the cooking, so that I can relax and enjoy the company of my grandchildren.”
Lena has been integral to the success of Calabria Family Wines for nearly 50 years. The Calabria Family Wines story began in 1945, with founders Francesco and Elisabetta Calabria. Lena’s husband Bill is the grandson of Francesco and has been immersed in the business since his early childhood. In 1974, Bill married Lena and, soon after, she was managing Calabria’s first cellar door at their Riverina home base, as well as assisting with the day to day running of the winery.
Having done the hard work from the ground up, Lena now leaves the operating of Calabria Family Wines to her four children. However, you will still find her at the winery cooking for long weekend events or hosting wine buyers at her home, cooking her renowned Italian pasta sauce.
Together with her family, Lena proudly celebrated the 75th anniversary of Calabria Family Wines in 2020. Aside from Mother’s Day, there has also been much for the Calabria family to celebrate in 2021. In April, the family acquired a piece of Australian wine history with the purchase of McWilliam’s Wines.
Watch a video Lena filmed to celebrate the winery’s anniversary below: