'King Diego' Bernnacchi

Subject 'King Diego' Bernnacchi, an Italian silk merchant, dreamt of establishing a rich vineyard on the ex-convict location of Maria Island.

Angelo Guilio Deigo Bernacchi came to Tasmania in 1884, believing that the climate would be conducive to growing silk worms.

'At the end of April 1886, a parliamentary party visited the island to inspect improvements, and Bernacchi invited the Treasurer, the Honourable W.H. Burgess, to examine the books. The vineyards, which have sometimes been regarded as a myth, or at best a joke, were thriving ...the grapes were tied on with silk thread; they were cut at dusk when the deception could not be noticeable; Barbe Bernacchi cut the first bunch with a pair of silver scissors...'

Margaret Weidenhofer Maria Island: A Tasmanian Eden Hobart: Darlington Press, 1977

Bernacchi eventually gave up wine growing. Later, in the 1970s, Claude Alcorso established Moorilla Estate wineries near Hobart. From his classical villa, he also drove the cultural revival in Hobart, leading the campaign to protect wilderness and helping to establish the Salamanca arts development.