In 1987 the Palazzo family bought the Killara Estate, right on the banks of the Yarra River near Seville and, at 1200 acres, one of the largest private holdings in the valley and one with plenty of history. In the late 19th century the estate was owned by David Mitchell, father of the famous diva Dame Nellie Melba, and from 1883 by the legendary David Syme, of The Age newspaper fame. Syme made many improvements to the property and helped pioneer European-style irrigation systems in the Yarra Valley. He planted 80 acres of orchards and his apples fetched top prices in London.
To fully understand the heart of Killara Estate’s traditions, you need only to look at the generations of farmers in Leo’s Italian heritage. Although each of them pursued different paths, according to Leo, nearly all found their way back to the land. “The joy and simplicity of farm life has worked as a catalyst in maintaining the family unit,” “It is these traits that my family brings to the winery”.
Leo and Gina Palazzo have taken a traditional approach to promoting their Killara Estate Vineyard, and their restaurant, Racers and Rascals. Like the vegetables and herbs used in their signature dishes, the couple has managed to grow their business naturally and right in their own backyard. Both are proud that their business has grown mostly by word of mouth from recommendations from other customers.
The cellar door, which was opened in 2006, was a natural progression for the Palazzos. In the best Italian tradition, good wine, good food and good company are not mutually exclusive. The combination of the open fire, lounge areas, extensive outdoor decking, manicured lawns and kid friendly playground areas allow family and friends to enjoy any style of occasion.