Escape to Manzanillo Grove – A Luxurious Retreat at Your Doorstep
Words by ELLIE GARDNER | Photographs MARK WILKINS
It was a beautiful sunny day when I made my way down Whitcombes Road towards the picturesque Manzanillo Grove, where I was soon greeted by smiling faces, an excitedly happy dog, and a warmth that radiated from every inch of the property – and it wasn’t just the sun’s doing! This homely and charming grove is neatly tucked away just on the outskirts of Drysdale, and will soon be offering luxurious accommodation for visitors amongst their stunning olive trees.
Established in 1997, Manzanillo Grove is owned and run by the Kint family, and it is their driving passion that accounts for their success. They have won numerous awards over the years, including the prestigious ‘Olive Grove of the Year’ award in 2011 that is granted to the best grove in Australia. This year alone, their Manzanillo Red Label and Frantoio Green Label Cold Pressed Extra-Virgin Olive Oil won silver and bronze respectively, as part of the Australian Olive Association awards – and that is only to list a few of the family’s many achievements!
Funnily enough, this successful business only began by chance, when Renate and Len bought their property in Drysdale nearly 20 years ago. Renate says, "When we purchased the property, it was just overgrown paddocks, and at first we weren’t quite sure what to do with the land. I saw an article about olives on television, and I thought it was a great idea – so away we went! I did some research and found that the soil here was good for planting olives, and so we cleared and planted 4500 olive trees which took 12 months, and then Len built the home brick by brick which took another 12 months."
With every one of their products produced on site, the Kint family is moving from strength to strength, and as a result, are becoming increasingly busy. Now, with their impressive accommodation on the way, they are ready to take on a new challenge. Renate says, "My son Jacques, and his wife, Tamara, have been working here with us for a few years, and so we have now decided to expand the property. There is a lack of accommodation in the area, so there are not a lot of places for people to stay when they visit or attend weddings at the nearby wineries. We thought it would be a good idea to give people another option."
Tamara continues, "It is only very recently that they have opened a motel nearby, and the rest of the accommodation consists of caravan parks. We want to have something a bit different for visitors. The units here will be placed amongst the olive trees near the dam, they are being built in a beautiful location."
The stylish studio apartments will be constructed as very open spaces, furnished with a kitchenette, sleeping area, couch, and a bathroom, perfect for a couple’s retreat away from the bustle of everyday life. Renate says, "These units will be a nice getaway treat for visitors, and when people come and stay, they will be able to have a look around the grove and see what we do here. We will hopefully have them up and running before Christmas, and if they go well, we will be adding another two rooms."
Between running their business and building the new accommodation on-site, the Kint family also sell their beautiful products from their cellar door store, located at the grove. Renate says, "We sell our olives and olive oil at our cellar door, some local products, as well as our Belle Mi skincare range. Jacques and Tamara have also started making olive leaf tea, which you can purchase at the store. We have a few events coming up in the next couple of months, including the annual mussel festival in Portarlington, and Tamara and Jacques run markets locally as well. It’s the whole package deal here, and we do it all on site. Jacques does the processing, and we also do processing for other people. We love what we do here, it certainly keeps us busy!"
Jacques reveals that summer is the biggest time for sales, and with the ever-expanding business, there is no doubt that this summer may be the busiest yet. Renate jokes that when she and Len began the business, they thought that they would have their summers off – Jacques laughs at the thought! However, it seems perfectly manageable for this family-oriented business – even Tamara and Jacques’ daughter likes to help, particularly when she gets a ride on the mower!
I can’t wait to see the new units that will be built at this amazing property, and if my visit is anything to go by, it will be a truly unique experience to stay at Manzanillo Grove. Come and take a walk around the olive trees, or treat yourself to something from the cellar door, which is open 7 days and all public and school holidays. During the week, the family may be working in the grove, so just ring 0438 513 621 if the cellar door is unattended. Go to www.manzanillogrove.com.au for more information, or, alternatively, you can call 5251 3621.
I drove out of the grove with a smile on my face, and I know that you will too!
150 Whitcombes Rd, Drysdale VIC 3222
Ph: 5251 3621
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