The De Bortoli family story is one of determination and triumph that started nearly 90 years ago in war-torn Europe and is now told, generations later, across Australia.
Our heritage encompasses the universal story of immigrants making good in an adopted land, the rise and rise of the Australian wine industry and the tale of a hardworking and innovative family who considers good wine, good food and good friends to be among the true pleasures in life.
View our timeline to see how a love-struck Italian couple fleeing war-ravaged Italy are at the foundations of an Australian winemaking dynasty that has produced some of Australia’s most iconic and best-loved wines.
1924: Vittorio De Bortoli journeyed from Castelcucco to New South Wales and the following year arrives in Griffith (formally known as Bagtown). The flat plains and red earth are very different to the hillls of Treviso
1926: Vittorio worked hard and lived quite humbly under a rain water tank for some time. Giuseppina arrives in Australia the next year and is reunited with her fiancee Vittorio
1928: Vittorio purchases a 55 acre mixed fruit farm. That year there is a glut of shiraz grapes, many farmers see it cheaper to let them rot Vittorio takes them for free and crushes 15 tonnes of shiraz grapes. Local Italians and other European workers in the area offer to buy wine off him. De Bortoli Wines is born. The next year, Vittorio and Giuseppina get married on the farm
1930s: Sees the arrival of the second generation, Florrie, Deen and Eola and by 1931, demand for De Bortoli Wines sees train loads of 270 litre barrels being transported to Sydney and Queensland.
1945: The war was over, food was plentiful and the business was growing
1951: Against his parents wishes, Deen De Bortoli at 15 years old leaves school to begin working in the winery
1957: Deen De Bortoli is now 21 and is itching to modernise the winery production
1958: Deen De Bortoli marries Emeri Cunial
1960s: The house built from the profits of the pumpkin patch is home to the third generation of De Bortolis – Darren, Leanne, Kevin and Victor who were all born in this decade. The home still stands today remaining the heart of the Bilbul winery
1970s: Deen De Bortoli continues to expand the winery (normally when his dad was out of town and unaware!) and Australia’s first major ‘wine boom’ occurs. Deen is instrumental introducing new wine to whole new generation of wine lovers
1972: Table wines outsells fortified wines for the first time in Australia
1979: Vittorio & Giuseppina celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary but Vittorio dies just a few weeks later
1980s: Darren De Bortoli married Margot Haselgrove and Leanne De Bortoli marries Steve Webber
1982: Newly qualified winemaker Darren De Bortoli creates the acclaimed Noble One originally released as De Bortoli Australian Sauternes Botrytis Semillon
1985: Noble One wins the Trophy for Best Botrytis Wine at the International Wine & Spirit Competition. It would win again in 1992 and 2004
1987: The De Bortoli family purchases a winery and vineyard in the Yarra Valley, Victoria
1990s: Leanne De Bortoli and husband, winemaker Stephen establish the De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate
1991: The family begins to welcome the fourth generation
1996: Victor De Bortoli establishes the company’s first off-shore branches
1997: De Bortoli Wines wins Australia’s most prestigious wine award, the coveted Jimmy Watson trophy for best young red
1990s/2000s: The family purchases vineyards in the King Valley Valley, and a winery and vineyard in the Hunter Valley
2000s: The Yarra Valley Chardonnay 1998 wins the Trophy for Best Chardonnay at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Kevin De Bortoli marries Jennifer Ruston and Victor De Bortoli marries Melissa Roberts, and the second wave of fourth generation De Bortoli children are born
2003: The De Bortoli family celebrates 75 years of making wine in Australia, not long after the anniversary celebrations, Deen De Bortoli passes away
2007: Steve Webber is awarded Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine’s Winemaker of the Year
2009: Inaugural members of Australia’s First Families of Wine
2011: De Bortoli Wines wins International Sustainability Award at the Drinks Business Green Awards, the first of many accolades for their sustainable initiatives.
2012: De Bortoli undertakes the largest solar array installation at the time, at their Bilbul site.
2014: Green Globe Excellence in Sustainability Winners; NSW Business Chamber Award for Excellence in Sustainability; Tidy Towns Sustainable Business Award; Sustainability Advantage Gold Partner.
2015: ABA100 Winner