Why Italian varieties? A common question to Chalmers. Bruce would say because he fell in love with Chianti when he travelled to Europe for the first time. Kim and Tennille would say that the varieties make more sense in many parts of Australia. But in reality it was through the work of the late Dr Rod Bonfiglioli and his industry connections with Italy.
A passionate and enthusiastic man, Dr Bonfiglioli was focused on vine material health and diversity. He encouraged Chalmers to look further afield to find grapes which might do better in some parts of Australia than what was currently growing there. Dr Bonfiglioli connected Chalmers with some influential and highly regarded organisations in Italy that formed the basis of the path into working with Italian varieties.
Chalmers are proud to be Australian agents for respected Italian nursery Vivai Cooperativi Rauscedo (VCR). VCR has a long and successful history of vine propagation, is the largest vine nursery in Italy and holds one of the most comprehensive and impressive research facilities in the world. Their clones are sought after for their quality and characteristics and the 75 million vines they graft every year are sold all over the world.
Due to strict quarantine regulations in Australia VCR are unable to directly send grafted vines here so they appointed Chalmers as their agent for a selection of suitable clones in 1998. This agreement still stands with Chalmers today and both companies are committed to continue to enrich the Australian collection of vine material with ongoing importations of new varieties and clones into the future.
Chalmers also have strong ties with the Matura group in Italy through their relationships with international winemaking consultant Dr Alberto Antonini and consultant viticulturist Dr Stefano Dini. Dr Antonini was responsible for making the Matura selections for which we now have as MAT clones in the Chalmers collection today.