At 93, Shepparton’s Jack Bettiol believes he knows the secret to a good wine.
Growing up in Italy, Mr Bettiol remembers making wine with his parents and siblings, spending years perfecting the ideal mix.
Moving to Melbourne in 1938, Mr Bettiol did not make much wine, starting again when he moved to Shepparton in the 1990s.
‘‘We didn’t make much wine in Melbourne because the grapes you buy in Melbourne are not as good as the ones you pick and then crush,’’ he said.
‘‘I started making wine with other people when I came to Shepparton and I was making it up until three years ago when I gave all my equipment away.’’
Mr Bettiol said the secret to a good wine was making sure the mix was pure and free of any added preservatives.
‘‘The wine I make is very pure, no preservatives or nothing, just the wine and the juice of the grapes,’’ he said.
‘‘I make a blend of shiraz and merlot. I find this is the best because shiraz is a very dry wine and merlot has a bit of a sweetness to it ... I make wine how I like the taste, I don’t make wine for other people.’’
Mr Bettiol recently entered his wine, a three-year-old merlot and shiraz blend, into Shepparton Italian Social Club’s homemade wine and salami competition.
To his surprise, he finished runner-up, receiving a gold trophy to commemorate his achievement, which he displays proudly in his room at Mercy Place in Shepparton.
‘‘I never thought I would get anything to tell you the truth because the wine you drink in a shop or restaurant has preservatives in it and I don’t like it, the one I make is pure,’’ Mr Bettiol said.
‘‘I really appreciate it because in my 80 years of life here in Australia this gives me great honours to be here and make wine the way it’s supposed to be made.’’