Our Heritage

OUR HERITAGE

A vision that became a reality. The Calabria Family Wines story began in 1945 with founders Francesco and Elisabetta Calabria. More than seven decades later, the third generation proudly carries on their grandparents' values of hard work and innovation. 

THE BEGINNING OF CALABRIA FAMILY WINES

1927 – 1959

1927

Founder Domenico Calabria migrated from Southern Italy followed by his son, Francesco Calabria in 1929.

1934

Once enough money was saved Francesco wrote to his wife Elisabetta to join him in Australia, which he often referred to as the “Rich-land”. Upon arrival, their first dwelling was Villa 116 on Leonard Road in South Eastern Australia.

1945

'Calabria Wines & Sons' was officially established with homemade wine being supplied to family and friends, which was purchased in barrels.

“THE IDEA OF MAKING HOME-MADE WINE WAS SIMPLY TO SURVIVE; IT WAS A MEANS OF INCOME FOR MY PARENTS, SOMETHING THAT MY FAMILY AND I ARE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL FOR.”

BILL CALABRIA AM, 2ND GENERATION

1959

Calabria Wines & Sons reach a total crush capacity of 84 tonnes.

PASSION & HARDSHIP

1966 – 1974

1966

Francesco’s son, Bill, was fortunate enough to learn the secret behind his father’s wines, which led him and his brother Tony to take over the winery and grow the total crush to 256 tonnes.

1970

The brothers released their first bottled wine under the ‘Calabria’ label.

1974

Calabria Wines & Sons open a cellar door at their Riverina home-base in Griffith.

BUILDING A LEGACY

1988 – 2000

1988

The Australian wine industry was in the doldrums. A persistent Bill handles the downturn by washing bottles for larger wineries, not ideal but it saved the family business and provided the opportunity to produce wines for the export market in the early ’90s when demand for Australian wine grew.

1996

Bill is determined to make premium wines and sends his first container to the UK. Bill starts a rapid expansion at the winery, taking capacity from 280 tonnes to 950 tonnes.

2000

Bill Calabria releases the very first wine of the Millennium; ‘Eternity Chardonnay’.

THIRD GENERATION

2006

The third generation, Frank, Michael, Andrew, and Elizabeth, pursue sourcing fruit from cool-climate regions, adding dimension to the winery portfolio. Calabria wines are sold across all Australian markets and exported around the world to 36 countries. Total crush capacity reaches 8,000 tonnes at the winery.

2015

Bill, along with his children, purchase a 100 years old vineyard estate in South Australia’s Barossa Valley - one of the world’s greatest wine regions.

REVIVING HISTORY

2016

The family is now proud custodians of three significant parcels of land within the famous Barossa Valley wine region.

2018

Bill Calabria celebrated his 70th birthday milestone with a charity event in Sydney, raising funds for the Charlie Teo Foundation and Sydney Children's Hospital.

2019

Calabria Family Wines opened the doors to their newly acquired Barossa Valley Cellar Door and Restaurant, located on the family vineyard, ‘Elisabeth Estate’.

2020

Marks the 75th Anniversary of Calabria Family Wines.