When an Italian café went up for sale in the Cromwell Heritage Precinct, Kate Barnett and her team jumped at the chance to get in boots and all. Kate has always worked in the wine industry, from vineyard establishment, pruning, picking, logistics, and sales to opening and running cellar doors. She loved the direct-to-consumer side of the wine business and decided to take all that enthusiasm and experience into her own business, Pinot Junction.
Located in Murrell's Cottage, Pinot Junction has a unique food and wine offering. The establishment is a café, wine bar, and wine shop all rolled into one. Guests can indulge in delicious café-style food, including their famous cinnamon scrolls, tasty platters, pizzas, hot chippies, barista coffees, beer, and local wines.
"Our aim is to provide everyone, visitors and locals alike, with a relaxed and special food and wine experience while overlooking Lake Dunstan," says Kate.
Having such a varied offering means that Pinot Junction has to have a team of specialists behind the counter and in the kitchen. Depending on the day and what is happening in and around Cromwell, the team is between four to eight people strong.
Wendy is the baking superstar in the kitchen, providing customers with fresh and gorgeous homemade baking every day, including pizza bases from scratch, bread, and the famous cinnamon scrolls. The chefs, Thiago, Ben, and Harlyn, consistently deliver delicious pizzas, hot sides, platters, and the occasional arancini. Supporting Kate in front-of-house is Angie, Holly, Gina, Meila, Jack, Hunter, Tisha, and Bex all adding to the exceptional customer experience and providing excellent banter.
"We are very fortunate to have a fantastic crew on board."
Kate has been living in Cromwell for 30 years, having moved there in 1992 to help establish her family's vineyard and winery in Bannockburn. She loves the climate, people, and opportunities of the area.
"Cromwell is in the throes of tremendous growth, full of opportunity and positive expansion," she says. "It is going to be very interesting to see how we as a community manage this growth, and how we can support new ventures in such a way that they remain constructive and confident participants in our local economy."
Outside of work, Kate enjoys spending time with her kids, husband, and their dog, Woody. She loves to go on holiday anywhere that allows her to enjoy time with her family, but she admits to enjoying a tropical, sandy beach from time to time.
Pinot Junction is the ideal spot for a catch-up with friends, a quick lunch, a romantic dinner, or even a venue to celebrate that special occasion, so make sure you visit soon! Kate and the team can't wait to host you.