Lena has been integral to the success of the family business. Since day one, and now almost 50 years later, Lena's role behind the scenes tirelessly supporting her husband, children and staff is at the heart of their success.
Lena joined her new husband Bill at the helm of the winery in 1974. The young couple lived in a tiny one-bedroom section of the winery and set out to start a life together working in the winery and raising a family side by side.
Lena worked in the cellar door assisting with the day to day running of the small producing wine company. From filling large wine barrels to send to Sydney; doing the bookwork; hand labeling and bottling; cleaning out tanks, and spending vintage nights on the weighbridge. Lena soon had two kids in tow, Frank and Michael, but maintained all these tasks whilst also raising the two young boys.
In the late '80s when the wine industry was in the doldrums and sales had dried up, Lena and the boys would join Bill in spending days on end washing bottles for the other local wineries. During this tough decade, Lena and Bill's family grew and they welcomed their third son, Andrew in 1984 and their first and only daughter Elizabeth in 1988.
The young family continued to work hard which provided them with the opportunity to stay in the wine game while times were tough. The family was ready and able to produce wines for the export market in the ’90s when wine sales started to boom again.
Once the winery was viable again, Lena made the decision to step back from the winery but was still in charge of coordinating the famous ‘Vintage Festivals’ at Calabria Family Wines each Easter long weekend.
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 gladly hosting wine buyers at her home, cooking her renowned Italian sugo (pasta sauce).
DID YOU KNOW
Lena’s stories and dedication to the business are endless but one stand out is that for 14 consecutive vintages, Lena would head to the winery to cook large Italian feasts (lunch and dinner) for the family plus all the cellar workers.