“Wow!” The three letter word that Jo and Cosi Melone hear every time a guest steps out of their car and breathes in the view. It is indeed unexpected, a delightful surprise, and breathtaking. Set on a hidden hill that rises over the back of Rosebud and is sheltered by Waterfall Gully, the Blue Range Estate’s view is expansive. Stretching from Western Port Bay and Bass Strait across the Portsea Peninsula and into Port Phillip Bay, the view is unique, and extraordinary.
The Blue Range Estate in Rosebud has been in Jo’s family since 1993 when her father Francesco De Cicco purchased the land and house. He put in all the vines as his hobby and created a happy, vibrant holiday home for his family. When he passed away in 2011 Jo and Cosi, who had been looking after the vines for several years tending to the 10 hectares of vines and making the wine, bought out the property and began running Blue Range Estate as their own family business. Now operated by Jo and Cosi and their four children, a family atmosphere helps to create a warm and inviting environment that is at once sophisticated and stylish, and relaxed and comfortable.
Since 2008 the Melone’s have sold their varieties of grapes to other local wine producers and pressed their own wines under the Blue Range Estate label. The selection includes Sparkling Wines, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. It’s interesting that Jo’s father planted Pinot Grigio 20 years ago, proving him to be well ahead of his time given the current popularity of this style of wine. The range is sold predominantly at Cellar Door on site (although they have had considerable success in the US market with their namesake label, The Francesco), and for the area the prices are very reasonable, starting at around $35. Their Blanc De Blanc sparkling wine has been particularly successful, and their Pinot Grigio has proved to be the most popular varietal.
Blue Range Estate has expanded significantly in recent years. The Cellar Door offers rustic Italian fare served in the Tuscan-esque alfresco deck, which showcases the perfect aspect of the vines, hills, ocean and bays. The house lent itself to creating a four room bed and breakfast accommodation facility. The interior design of these rooms is all class. The décor and amenities are as you would expect from a luxury hotel, with a harmonious colour palette that flows to the most stunning views from the bedroom and ensuite. Very private, these rooms have a patio area where you can relax and enjoy Blue Range Estate wines, as well as drinking in the spectacular view.
“We love that when guests stay they can walk out of their front door and touch the vines, smell the soil and be a part of the landscape,” says Jo. “There’s so few accommodation venues that offer their guests privacy as well as a stunning view of the landscape and the sea.” Adds Cosi, “The aspect, the altitude and the history of the property offer our guests a unique wining, dining and accommodation experience.”
A hidden gem, Blue Range Estate has been discovered by travellers to the area but remains relatively unknown in the local community. With the alfresco area being the only space for guests to dine, the Cellar Door and restaurant have to date been closed during the winter months. The scene is set to change, with Jo and Cosi changing the alfresco deck to a transeasonal dining space that is protected from the elements. And this is good news all round. Now tourists and locals alike will get to hear a lot more about this amazing space run by a beautiful family – offering spectacular local wines and delicious home-style Italian fare served with love and care, at very reasonable prices. Perfect.