The Rise + Rise Of Fiano

Anne Greenway
18th Feb 2024

When I was just a little bit younger than I am today, I fell in love with a vineyard hidden away in the sleepy but stunning part of the Hunter Valley – called Broke Fordwich - and I became its custodian. The vineyard originally planted with Merlot, perched on the banks of a brook, sported luscious sandy loam soils suited perfectly to the growing of white wines. So determined to do the best I could with this vineyard – white grape shopping I went!

This happened to be at a time when our all-knowing wine makers thought it best to dump entire forests of oak into our Chardonnays ensuring a generation of Australians, once they removed the splinters from between their teeth would go looking for something a little less ‘woody’. And thus an affair with New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc’s’ began.

In turn this meant that many, many of my neighbouring vineyards unable to sell their fruit started pulling out their Chardonnay vines.

Soo let’s take Chardonnay off my shopping list. And the reality of the Hunter Valley climate is such that one can’t grow Sauvignon Blanc here as it is just too Damn hot! But it is somewhere between these two fine drops that my answer laid.

Enter Fiano! (pronounced FE-AR-NO) an Italian white grape varietal, (that thrives in our little vineyard), and MOST importantly sits between a Sav Blanc and a Chardonnay on your palate.

So what makes a Fiano enticing? Well, it hits one’s palate with a light refreshing, citrus zesty, lemon biscuit zing. It’s an absolute delight for spring and summer. Fiano too ages beautifully and should you cellar it for a few years - it evolves to pear and honey overtures and Chardonnay like oaky characters that are just the ticket for Autumn and Winter – simply it’s an allrounder that is perfect for our climate! Not to mention the ultimate pairing for Australia’s passion with seafood.

At our vineyard we now celebrate Fiano four ways – we make two different sparkling wine styles – in fact to our knowledge we were the first to do so. Our ‘bubbles’ Fiano – is a stunning sparkling, and one of the most popular wines at our cellar door. Our elegant ‘campania’ (methode traditionale) is made solely for our wine club members. We also make ‘grace’ a field blend using Fiano luscious with the heady notes of Turkish delight that Gewurz (another road less travelled white wine) brings to the mix, and finally, of course a still Fiano. So wonderful we called it ‘favoloso’ (which is Italian for fabulous!) And we always keep a few back vintages available to taste.

But don’t just take my word for it, a recent debrief from the AAVWS (Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show) sorry that is a mouthful! Revealed that when they first opened a competition class for FIANO some 20 years ago – they had only two entries, and more recently more than 140. Demonstrating the uptake of this sensational little grape now growing in our Australian vineyards. It can be found everywhere from Queensland down to South Australia. And of course, at ours in Broke Fordwich, in the Hunter Valley!

I truly love that Fiano is wonderfully expressive and will evolve into the best expression of my vineyard. It keeps visitors to Greenway Wines, coming back. Afterall what’s not to love about Fiano! If you haven’t tried it – PUT THAT SAV BLANC DOWN – and give it a go. I dare you to do so!

Anne Greenway, vigneron, Greenway Wines joins Sydney Scoop as our guest author for this Fiano article.

Greenway Wines | Red Barn Cellar Door | 350 Wollombi Road, Broke NSW 2330