10 January 2023

2022 Year in Review: 15 of your favourite Food & Wine stories

| Kim Treasure
Start the conversation

The Riverina is renowned for its food and wine and 2022 didn’t disappoint. Let’s take your tastebuds for a trip back through 15 of your favourite food and wine stories on Region Riverina.

15. Cellar Door at Charles Sturt University is making top-notch wines and world-class winemakers
by Lucy Ridge

Bottle of rose wine with glasses

The CSU winery cellar door hosts events throughout the year. Photo: Supplied.

Students are well known for their wild drinking habits, but in Wagga there’s an altogether more sophisticated drinking culture that’s going strong.

Around the back of the university campus, overlooking scenic paddocks and bushland, there’s a cellar door that is raising the bar for student drinks while growing the next generation of Australian winemakers.

14. Buttercream bouquets? Palatable posies? The Little Cupcake Garden has you sorted
by Anna Maskus

Meredith West smiling and standing in a field wearing a pink tshirt

Read the t-shirt! Meredith West worked as a marketing and business development coordinator at a local law firm before giving up the 9-to-5 to follow her dream. Photo: VisitWagga.

Dough Re Mi was born in 2016 after a failed Bunnings sausage sizzle. Owner Meredith West now boasts a social media following of almost 20,000 and ships her bespoke bikkies Australia-wide – but giving back to locals who need a boost is her next venture.

13. Hot in the City: Henry’s on Goonigul is elevating classic pub fare
by Anna Maskus

Easily the highlight of the meal, the margherita was just one of nine different pizza on offer at Henry's. Photo: Supplied.

Easily the highlight of my meal, the Margherita is just one of nine different pizzas at Henry’s. Photo: Supplied.

Tucked into the recently renovated Wagga RSL Club building, this local watering hole’s menu has been rebooted for winter. Anna Maskus headed in to try it out.

12. The journey from organic wheat to licorice, chocolate and whisky
by Chriss Buchan

Man with Easter eggs

Neil Druce shows off some of his chocolate goodies. Photo: Chris Roe.

From selling door to door along the Hume Highway to a booming business, Neil Druce’s Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory has come a long way.

11. Michael grows the tropical goods no one else is selling
by Chris Roe

Man selling vegetables

Michael Murambi sells his unique variety of produce at the Wagga Farmers Market. Photo: Chris Roe.

Michael Murambi has found a niche market among Wagga’s migrant communities growing tropical vegetables not stocked in the supermarket.

Michael and his family migrated from Zimbabwe 15 years ago after his wife secured a job as a nurse at Wagga Base Hospital.

With a background in agriculture and a keen interest in growing produce, it wasn’t long before he found himself back in the garden.

10. Toor family to continue Amanti Di Caffe legacy
by Oliver Jacques

The team at Amanti coffee shop

Ellise Pellizzer, Gary Toor and Arabella Bardney are the faces of Amanti. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Griffith’s coffee-lovers went into a spin when they heard the popular Amanti Di Caffe – Griffith Central shop was changing hands. Now they can rest easy, with a new family vowing to continue its legacy.

9. New tour boss targets Canberra in Griffith wine tourism resurgence
by Oliver Jacques

Bella Vita wine owner in Banna Lane

Robyn Turner can take you to see the art in Banna Lane. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Despite being the biggest wine-production region in NSW, the Riverina has never had the same level of interactive wine tourism as the Hunter or Barossa valleys.

This could soon change, according to Yenda’s Robyn Turner, who recently took over the popular Bella Vita Riverina Tours small business.

8. Bullet holes, bushrangers, royals and wine: Borambola is steeped in history
by Chris Roe and Chriss Buchan

Heritage home

The historic homestead at Borambola. Photo: Borambola Wines.

Borambola is a winery with plenty to see and taste and a rich story to tell.

The historic estate is steeped in history from its Wiradjuri heritage to battles with bushrangers and even royal encounters. The wine is good, too.

Proprietors Tim and Naomi McMullen happily take visitors through the heritage buildings and recount stories from the station’s past over a fruity shiraz.

7. Matt makes ‘damn good doughnuts’ from home
by Chris Roe

Man with doughnuts

Matt’s been up baking for Doughnut Friday. Photo: Chris Roe.

Matt Wynn makes great cakes, but it’s his Friday doughnuts that have made him famous around Wagga.

“I’ve been really surprised. I never thought people would want to travel out to Boorooma for a box of doughnuts,” says the quietly spoken baker.

6. Happy as a pig in mud – Scott brings passion for fresh produce to the table at Wagga RSL Club
by Katrina Condie

Scott Clapman

Wagga RSL catering manager Scott Clapham has fallen in love with his new hometown. Photo: Chris Roe.

Scott Clapham has put down his roots in Coolamon, purchasing a five-acre property where he and his two young daughters are raising pigs and plan to grow veggies to sell by the roadside.

The Wagga RSL Club catering manager’s passion for fresh, seasonable produce extends beyond the paddock to the kitchen, with the new Henry’s on Goonigul menu featuring local Wollundry Grove Olive Oil, Happy Wombat hazelnuts and Highfield Farm and Woodland lamb.

5. The ‘Drinks Professor’ brings class to Baylis Street with Wagga’s newest venue
by Chris Roe

Wine bar

DJ Pieroway brings 30 years’ experience to The Bidgee & Vine Urban Cellar Door. Photo: Chris Roe.

DJ Pieroway is well known around the Riverina’s food and wine scene.

As the ‘Drinks Professor’, she has hosted tastings and dinners at venues across the region and has shared her knowledge of fine wines through the CSU cellar door.

Now, she’s decided to bring her decades of experience to Wagga’s CBD with The Bidgee & Vine Urban Cellar Door.

4. ‘A great Aussie story’: Rashays reveals what’s on the way with Wagga’s newest restaurant
by Chris Roe


The new Wagga Rashays opened in August. Photo: Chris Roe.

The owners of RASHAYS restaurant chain invited us in for a peek behind the curtains as they prepared to launch their new Baylis Street restaurant.

3. Double Shot of caffeine and early morning breakfast service for Temora
by Shri Gayathirie Rajen

Scott Hayman little in his cafe in Temora

Double Shot of caffeine with Scott Hayman. Photo: Supplied.

Hoskins Street, Temora, has a new cafe. Local hospitality veteran Scott Hayman opened up Double Shot Coffee House and Eatery, where everything is made in-house.

2. Harry Lal opens Riverina’s first Punjabi-themed restaurant in Griffith
by Oliver Jacques

Three men in restaurant bar

Vipul Lal, John Vasta and Harry Lal just before the grand opening. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

A 30-year-old Indian-born employee of chicken producer Baiada has fulfilled his lifelong dream, opening a Punjabi restaurant in the centre of Griffith that offers dishes that can’t be found elsewhere in regional NSW.

Harry Lal’s eatery Swaad Punjab Da had an opening ceremony on Friday, 11 November, and is now taking bookings from the general public. It is at 198 Banna Ave, the site of the former Afghan Friendship Restaurant, which closed in 2021.

1. Australia’s last authentic Greek Cafe offers a journey back through time
by Chris Roe

staff in a cafe

Luke Walton (far right) and Kym Fraser (far left) want their staff to understand and share the heritage of the Niagara Cafe. Photo: Effy Alexakis.

Gundagai’s iconic The Niagara Cafe Gundagai has been restored and reopened, delivering diners a taste of early 20th Century glamour – and the historians love it!

Leonard Janiszewski is unable to hide his joy at seeing the restoration of Australia’s last authentic Greek cafe in Gundagai.

“It is the longest-running Greek cafe that still survives, and it’s unique within Australia,” he says.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Riverina news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riverina stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.