When Emma and Matt Williams took a tree change to Chiltern seven years ago little did they know the fresh shoots they’d generate.
The Melbourne couple, who operate the town’s post office, have just breathed new life into the former Star Hotel building with a licensed cafe.
Together with Clare Reeves and Shayne Vogel, the Williams opened The Vine Chiltern eight weeks ago in the historic building, which closed as an antique shop 12 years ago and had not operated as an eatery for 42 years.
“Everyone is very excited the building is open again,” Ms Williams said.
The Vine Chiltern offers gourmet pizzas, boutique wines, craft beer, espresso coffee and sweet treats.
The couples began renovating the building about nine months ago.
“Chiltern’s big drawcard is its history,” Ms Williams said.
“We painted throughout but haven’t changed anything else because we wanted to keep its character.”
The building courtyard is renowned for bearing the oldest grapevine in Australia, planted in 1867.
“Come about March everyone in town gets to try some grapes,” she said.
The Williams, who have two young children, enjoy the community aspect of living at Chiltern.
“It’s a lovely community; coming from Melbourne I’d underestimated the whole community side of things,” Ms Williams said.
What's your favourite dish?
What are the staples in your pantry?
Rice, flour, butter, pasta.
What's the biggest product discovery in cooking?
Frozen berries (make cooking with berries so much easier and are available all year round).
What's your secret vice?
Chocolate (it’s not so secret!)
What is your recipe standby?
Fried rice (it keeps the kids happy!)
What is your most unforgettable meal and where?
Dinner at 58 Tour Eiffel in Paris, the food was lovely but the view unforgettable.
What's your favourite cooking utensil?
The simple old favourite – a wooden spoon!
What's in your kitchen toolkit?
All the kitchen basics but electronic scales are the most used.
What did you have for dinner last night?
Roast chicken and salads (it was a hot night!)
What are you drinking?
A lovely merlot from Chiltern’s own winemaker – Rusty Vine.
The Vine Chiltern,
51-53 Main Street, Chiltern
Phone: 0475 044 866