De Bortoli Wines is a thriving family operation in Australia, currently overseen by the family's third generation. Founded in the 1920s by Vittorio De Bortoli, the winery took off under the energetic supervision of the founder's son, Deen De Bortoli. This third generation is led by Darren De Bortoli with assistance from Leanne De Bortoli and her husband Steve Webber ( chief winemaker) who run the Yarra Valley vineyards and winery at Dixons Creek.
The De Bortoli family's motto is Semper ad Majora - Always striving for better. It's a fitting tagline for a group of people who are equally committed to crafting world-class wines and leaving behind a legacy that their future family members can carry on. De Bortoli wines has been historically based at Bilbul (near Griffith) in the NSW Riverina, but more recently they have expanded into the Yarra Valley, the Hunter Valley and also into Victoria's King Valley. The emphasis in all of the vineyards has always been upon innovation, with De Bortoli credited with the creation of Australia's most famous dessert wine, the Noble One. But their Pinot, Syrah and Chardonnay is also exceptional with the 2010 PHI Pinot Noir winning the 2011 Jimmy Watson Trophy for Australia's Best Red Wine at the Australian National Wine Show , the first time that a pinot noir has ever won this award.
De Bortoli's winemaking philosophy is that great wine begins in the vineyard. The belief is that sustainable vineyard practices will deliver exceptional fruit quality to the winery as well as real environmental benefits. The focus is on careful site selection, vine maturity and high input viticulture with a move towards biological farming principles. The vineyards are grown as biologically as possible, with proper consideration for improving fungal and bacteria activity in the soils and encouraging natural predators in and around the canopy. We don't own all of the plots but we do control every detail in the viticulture.
With an enormous range of wines and labels, it continues to amaze how consistent (and good value) the De Bortoli wines are. This comes from a simple respect for varietal purity, with Steve Webber renowned for his desire to see varietal expression in the De Bortoli wines. The real secret to the quality of the De Bortoli wines though is simply the winemaking talent. Beyond head honcho Steve Webber the team includes veteran Rob Glastonbury, award winning young winemaker Sarah Fagan and long time Noble One guru Julie Mortlock, all combining to head up one very able winemaking unit.