We are three weeks away from finishing the redevelopment of our retail hub which will encompass the best of food and wine, anywhere in Australia.
The build which is running a month ahead of schedule has been pretty easy considering the logistics involved in keeping everything operating.
Yesterday three semi trailers of refrigeration cases arrived and next week the remainder of shelving will be installed. After that, it is just commissioning and filling this massive space.
Already the response from the public and industry has been fantastic and I can’t wait to fast forward a few years to see what it is able to achieve. After September, it is back to my day job of focusing on Mondo Imports.
For the last fifty years, our family business interests have covered importing, retailing and making wines from both Australia and abroad. Over the last year, our retail outlet Boccaccio Cellars has been redeveloped and refurbished to try and showcase what we do across all our businesses.
Our store Boccaccio is names after the Tuscan Poet Giovanni Boccaccio and we thought we would honour him by a special mural painted on the entrance to our Continental Supermarket and Wine Store. This week this mural was completed and illustrates to people that they have walked into a pretty unique store.
On the painting:
In this group portrait, six distinguished poets and philosophers of the 13th and 14th centuries are shown as if engaged in a literary conversation. Each was revered for his role in the development of lyric poetry, which helped establish the Tuscan dialect as the standard language in Italy.The seated figure is Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), author of the Divine Comedy. Facing him is Guido Cavalcanti (about 1255-1300), acclaimed for his love sonnets. The standing figure in clerical garb is the humanist and classical scholar Francesco Petrarch (1304-74); to his right is Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-75), author of the Decameron. The figures at the far left are two authoritative commentators on their works, the humanist and man of letters Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) and the platonic philosopher Cristoforo Landino (1424-1498/1504). All four wear laurel wreaths, symbolic of literary achievement. The objects on the table represent various scholarly disciplines. The solar quadrant and celestial globe denote astronomy and astrology; the compass and terrestrial globe, geometry and geography; the books, grammar and rhetoric.
What sort of Italian-Australian doesn’t like concrete! Today the trading floor slab of the new Boccaccio Continental Supermarket was poured. This will be polished and when stage 2 of the redevelopment is opened in April, it will form part of the new entry, checkouts, Italian deli and prosciutto glass Coolroom. Should be pretty cool!
Well it was a great feeling to come back from Italy and France on Friday to see that the new Boccaccio Wine Store at 1038 Burke Road, Balwyn, Victoria 3103 was open for business. Two years in the making, the store has turned out even better than what I imagined and every morning when I walk in, I have to pinch myself to think that this is our new space.
If you live in Melbourne, pop down and check out this fantastic new space. Also don’t forget that I will be leading free structured tastings every Sunday from 11-1pm starting with the wines of Mount Etna on the 9th of November.
Whilst it has been great to be away, it has also been hard to not be onsite watching the final pieces of our new wine store being built. I have been getting virtual updates most days which has been great and when I return at the end of the week, I assume we will almost be ready to close our old site and trade out of our new space.
When you consider that the retail side of our business, Boccaccio Cellars has been running for 51 years and since 1984, it has operated out of the space we will soon leave, then it shows what a big change and step forward for this business to be able to present some of the greatest ITalian wines in the world, in a space that does these wines justice.
For those that live near Boccaccio, we will kick off our regular tasting/masterclasses on Sunday the 9th of November from 11-1pm looking at some of the best producers from Mount Etna. Note all tastings on Sunday are free and open to the public.
The full schedule of Sunday tastings for November are as follows:
NOVEMBER FREE TASTING SCHEDULE – EVERY SUNDAY FROM 11AM-1PM AT THE NEW BOCCACCIO CELLARS 1046-1050 BURKE ROAD, BALWYN, VICTORIA 3103 (40 METRES DOWN THE ROAD FROM OUR EXISTING STORE)
SUNDAY 9TH OF NOVEMBER 11AM-1PM: THE MYSTERY AND BEAUTY OF MOUNT ETNA, ITALY
A DETAILED LOOK AT THE BEST PRODUCERS FROM THIS REGION. FEATURING PASSOPISCIARO, BENANTI, PIETRADOLCE & GIROLAMO RUSSO
SUNDAY 16TH OF NOVEMBER 11AM-1PM: NEW RELEASE MOUNT MARY WINES WITH MOUNT MARY WINEMAKER SAM MIDDLETON.
2012 WAS A VINTAGE THAT SAW THE STARS ALIGN AT MOUNT MARY, THE MOST ICONIC WINERY IN THE YARRA VALLEY. ENJOY CHATTING TO SAM AND WORKING YOUR WAY THROUGH THIS SET OF GREAT RELEASES.
SUNDAY 23RD OF NOVEMBER 11AM-1PM: 2014 VINTAGE RIESLINGS – A LOOK AT THE BEST.
WE HAVE HEARD GREAT THINGS ABOUT 2014 RIESLING. LET’S LINE THEM UP AND SEE WHAT THE VINTAGE HAS TO OFFER
SUNDAY 30TH OF NOVEMBER 11AM-1PM: YARRA VALLEY YOUNG GUNS – FEATURING THE NEW RELEASES FROM TIMO MAYER, THE WANDERER, GEMBROOK HILL AND HODDLES CREEK ESTATE.
TIMO MAYER, ANDREW MARKS AND FRANCO D’ANNA REPRESENT A SNAPSHOT INTO THE ‘FUTURE’ OF THE YARRA VALLEY. COME AND MEET THE MAKERS AND TRY THEIR LATEST SET OF WINES INCLUDING THE 2013 HODDLES CREEK ESTATE 1ER PINOT NOIR, CHARDONNAY AND PINTO BLANC WHICH ARE RELEASED 1ST OF DECEMBER.
Imagine walking into the entry of a supermarket and being greeted by a wall of ageing prosciutto, all tucked away behind a temperature controlled glass coolroom…. Well soon this will be a reality.
As many of you know, after 35 years we were finally able to secure the last remaining freehold at our base in Balwyn and serious planning has been under way for the last year and a half on creating one of the best (hopefully the best!) Italian supermarkets in Australia.
With products like cheese, prosciutto, tinned tomatoes, preserved vegetables, pasta, etc already sourced directly from each individual supplier in Italy, once our supermarket is finished, it will give our family the opportunity to showcase all these fantastic products. Think aisles of pasta, massive displays in all sizes of tinned tomatoes and a deli boasted a huge array of Italian cheeses and prosciutto.
This year is the 49th year my family has been involved in the wine industry in Australia and looking back at the past, a lot has changed and a lot has stayed the same. My father is still involved as ever and works six days a week.
This morning I found a few old photo’s (and there are plenty more) of the ‘good old days’ when trading was six days a week and shops shut at 1pm on a Saturday.
The hours might have changed, but many things remain the same….
After thirty years of trying, we have finally purchased the last freehold property in the groups of shopfronts which our family retail wine and food business Boccaccio Cellars sits. We settled yesterday and it is such a weird feeling and still feels almost surreal. This now unifies all our buildings which is fantastic. All up we will have 100 metres of street fronts which we will now redevelop and aim to build a benchmark Oz but Italian inspired Supermarket.
Wine (of course) and Italian imported goods (beer, mineral water, pasta, cheese, etc) will become an even bigger focus together with our own smallgoods and pasta. We hope that Boccaccio will a benchmark for all things Italian Food and Wine in Melbourne.
Plenty of room for more Italian wines and corks 🙂
Time for a glass of Champagne, it is long overdue!!
Anthony D'Anna: Italian wine importer and merchant in Australia