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David Pettavel pioneered the establishment of the Geelong wine region in 1842, the industry's early successes are a tribute to Pettavel's accurate assessment of the climatic and geological influences of the region
David Pettavel left Switzerland and emigrated to Australia in 1842 aboard the barque Platina. Upon landing at Port Philip, Pettavel continued directly to the hills of Geelong to plant the region's first vineyard. These vineyards, and the wine produced from them were such a success that Pettavel immediately began plans for further vineyard development throughout the rolling hills of Geelong. The shortage of skilled labour became a major constraint to Pettavel's expansion, so Pettavel returned to Switzerland, and sailed back to Australia aboard the ship the Evening Star in 1856 after convincing family and friends to follow him to Australia.
The rapid expansion and development of the wine industry in Geelong halted abruptly in the late 1870s with the passing of Pettavel, and the arrival of phylloxera which devastated the vineyards. The nearby gold rush also proved a temptation too great for many vigneron's, and labour shortages prevented vineyards from being replanted.
Michael Francis Fitzpatrick purchased land in Australia from his homeland in Ireland through an indenture scheme before emigrating to start a new life in the far away country. Michael Francis was one of the first arrivals to the Mildura region and spent his early years constructing irrigation channels that would later allow him to plant and grow grapes. Mike Fitzpatrick, grandson of Michael Francis, and his wife Sandi have continued developing the family trade of grape growing.
Pettavel is ideally located in a vineyard setting on the outskirts of Geelong, close to the start of the Great Ocean Road and associated coastal towns. The search for cooler climate production led Mike and Sandi to Geelong and in 1990 they began developing vineyards in Sutherlands Creek. Such was the quality of the grapes produced that the natural progression of constructing a winery, the second for the Fitzpatrick's, was undertaken.
Pettavel opened its doors in December 2001, welcoming the first visitors to the cellar door and diners to the restaurant with the release of the 2000 vintage wines. Since opening Pettavel has been the recipient of numerous industry awards and reviews for its food and Pettavel has developed a reputation as a leading regional destination. Robyn Fitzpatrick, Mike and Sandi's daughter, is Pettavelâ€™s General Manager. Robyn is a dedicated member of many wine and tourism committees and is passionate about promoting the Geelong wine region. Her role extends outside Pettavel, as Executive Board Member for the Geelong Winegrowers Association and Board Member for Geelong Otway Tourism.
In recent years the Geelong region has experienced rapid growth and redevelopment of the once thriving wine industry. The region now boasts over 50 independent wine producers located across a three sub-regions, the Moorabool Valley, the Surf Coast and the Bellarine Peninsula, within the greater Geelong Geographic Index. These sub-regions vary vastly in terms of climatic influence, from the maritime influenced Bellarine Peninsula and coastal towns to the continental influenced inland regions of Sutherlands Creek and Bannockburn. These varying climatic influences allow the Geelong region to produce a broad range of grape varieties and associated wine styles, offering numerous options for wine drinkers.
The Pettavel portfolio of wines are all estate grown and estate made, capturing and expressing the cool climate aromatic characters of the vineyards. The Pettavel restaurant focuses on sourcing the freshest local products for inspiration for the daily lunch menu. Should your interest be a long relaxing lunch, an informal wine tasting, a light cellar door meal or merely coffee and a dessert from the restaurant menu, the Pettavel staff are waiting to welcome you.
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