As general manager, Anthony is involved in all aspects of Montalto’s business; from checking the grapes on the vine to overseeing the restaurant, piazza and cellar door. “It’s quite a diverse role, lots of different facets,” says Anthony. He also enjoys the diversity of quality wine across the Mornington Peninsula and Victoria. “I learn something new every day,” he adds. “It’s an exciting journey and I’m glad I’m still on it.”
What’s it like working at Montalto?
There’s a lovely family warmth to the business, which I really enjoy. That stems from the owners who’ve always approached the business in that way. It makes for a really exciting and rewarding place to work.
I think that generosity and warmth shines through for anyone who comes to the cellar door or restaurant. We offer an experience we want people to share with us. You can taste wine and get great food in a casual setting or the restaurant. But it’s also about being able to experience the culture of the winery – the sculpture, the gardens. It’s an experience, and I love that about Montalto.
How did you get involved in the wine industry?
I started in the industry as a viticulture graduate at Coldstream Hills in the Yarra Valley. It was a fantastic time, learning about grape growing and winemaking, with the excitement and hard work of vintage each year.
My passion for wine developed over this time and I was lucky enough to learn from the best. James Halliday is Australia’s most influential critic and he introduced me to the most extraordinary wines of the world.
It was a great education, and laid really good foundations.
In 2002 I started my own business, a restaurant and wine bar in the Melbourne CBD called ‘The Deanery’. At Montalto, I get to work for a business that grows and makes beautiful things with passion.
Is there a favourite time of year at Montalto?
For me it’s got to be harvest time. We all get excited around late February. Everything’s ripening and, depending on the weather, you just never know which way the season is going to go.
That’s when the pressure comes on, and you need to decide the right time to pick. You might suddenly get 10 inches of rain, and that means you have to make some really tough decisions. Other times you feel like you’re just waiting and waiting for the flavours to accumulate.
I’m really a link between Dan, our viticulturist, and Simon, our winemaker. I’m out there checking grapes throughout the season as they’re ripening – helping make the decisions when to pick, and organising the intake of grapes into the winery at just the right time.
Watching the wine change as it matures in the barrel is also really interesting. And arriving at that final blend, which captures all the individual elements of the region, is very exciting.
What do you think of Montalto’s wines?
I think they’re fantastic. We’re always challenging ourselves to look critically at our own wines – how we make them and how we grow the grapes. We just want them to be the best they can be.
We want our wines to reflect the Mornington Peninsula. It’s a unique region because it’s surrounded by water. So the sea breezes moderate the big temperature spikes and dips during summer and winter.
We’ve also got several vineyards, some at higher altitudes, and all of those factors are reflected in the expression of our wines.