From Genoa to the Granite Belt
HE IS a man that can only be described as a farming Jack of all trades.
At 88 and a half years of age Gino Zanatta has seen and experienced more than most in his working and personal life.
Mr Zanatta said it all started from an early age.
"I was born in February 1924 before my dad, Pietro left for Australia," he said.
"My mum, brother and sister and I then arrived in Australia in December 1932 when I was nearly nine.
"It took 45 days by boat to travel from Genoa in Italy to Sydney."
Mr Zanatta said the family then travelled north via Wallangarra.
"On January 13, 1933, we arrived in Cottonvale," he said.
"I didn't know a word of English when I came here so I went to school at Thulimbah for four years to learn it.
"That was until 1937 when dad bought a farm at Pozieres and I stayed home to help."
With farming experience under his belt from such a young age Mr Zanatta explored almost every aspect of the industry.
"When war broke out we got called up to serve but Dad had a contract with the army to supply potatoes, tomatoes and cabbages," he said.
"Dad couldn't do it without us so after a court case we were exempt from the army to help Dad fill the contract.
"We managed to do that and in 1948 my brother Bruno and I bought the farm.
"That was also the same year I married Speranza."
Mr Zanatta said he and Bruno faced many challenges but also accomplished a lot.
"We faced a railways strike that meant we had to run our fruit trucks to Brisbane every night," he said.
"We later bought another property at Pozieres and all up 1360 acres of farming land.
"We grew apples, pears, stone fruit, table grapes, vegetables, and later wine grapes, and also ran up to 360 head of cattle."
To set themselves apart they undertook many new ventures.
"In 1963-1964 we started making juice because we didn't have the correct certificates to sell our fruit to Golden Circle," he said.
"We also started Granite Belt Cool Stores at The Summit and Pozieres in 1959-1960.
"At the same time I did a lot of promoting the district and wine and in 1968 we started first commercial Granite Belt winery - Biltmore Cellars.
The father of three, grandfather of nine and great-grandfather of seven lost his wife in 1981.
"I only stopped working part-time three or four years ago," Mr Zanatta said.
"I still keep busy though and (now partner) Jeanene and I love to travel."