Margaret River Winery McLeod Creek Wines Vineyard

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Mario Iannarelli – McLeod Creek Wines – Margaret River

Erminio (Mario) Iannarelli grew up in Italy, in a little village situated between Roma and Naples, called Belmonte Castello. He then lived in Switzerland and later Germany for a while before moving to Cornwall in England. As well as Italian, Mario speaks fluent French and English, but says he couldn’t get his head around the German language. Always working in the hospitality industry he travelled to London, but after a while decided to go to Jersey in the Channel Islands, where he met his wife, Jenny, and stayed for seven years.

Jenny and Mario moved to Perth, Australia, in 1970, and ran a restaurant in Claremont for 20 years named Trattoria La Capannina. Have a look at the fine oak table in the tasting room at McLeod Creek. It came from a mature oak tree on the property next door to the Claremont restaurant. Mario was horrified one day to see this being chopped down and loaded onto a truck destined for the rubbish tip. He persuaded the workers to tip it over the fence instead!

Mario Iannarelli carefully handling the precious figs

Feeling the need for land and the fresh air of the country again after all those years, they looked for a property in the Margaret River area and found the farm at McLeod Creek. It had nothing but pasture, a winter creek and some beautiful granite outcrops, an empty slate on which Mario could wave his magic! And a magical transformation it has been. As well as the flourishing vineyard, there are chickens and ducks, long raised beds of organically grown vegetables, garlic and herbs. In the blossoming fruit orchard there are the usual apples, pears, plums, nectarines, apricots, oranges, lemons but also a few surprises: an Irish strawberry tree, a persimmon, a guava, a bay tree and two kind of limes. But Mario’s favourites are two rows of various varieties of fig tree, the fruits of which are in great demand from local restaurants along with his famous heirloom tomatoes.*

You might have even seen him down at the local Farmer’s market during summer and autumn months or out doing his deliveries to restaurants in the Margaret River region. Anyway, Mario’s tomatoes are famous and you should have a taste before the season finishes! Our range of seasonal fruits and vegetables are also directly available at our property at McLeod Creek.

*Source: Stories from the Cellar Door – Fifty Margaret River Wineries Tell Their Tales by Jane Scott & Patricia Negus