Stephen Webber

Chief Winemaker/Manager, De Bortoli Yarra Valley

Steve Webber is married to Leanne De Bortoli and in 1989 they moved to the De Bortoli family vineyards in the Yarra Valley. Together Steve and Leanne have built a winery based on serious commitment to delicious food and wine.

Steve was interested in wine from an early age, developing an understanding of horticulture and wine industry innovation from his late father, Ron. His first employer was Leo Buring/Lindemans in 1978 and he was fortunate to be sponsored through his studies at Roseworthy for a Bachelor of Applied Science in Oenology. He spent another 7 years with Lindemans.

Steve brought lots of resourcefulness to his role at De Bortoli. "We thought we were doing really edgy stuff in the early days of the Yarra Valley,' says Steve, 'but I think it was a steep learning curve. It takes a long time to understand the vineyards and the effort needed to reflect the site that you cultivate."

Steve has received much recognition for innovation and wine-style development including being awarded the 2007 Winemaker of the Year by Gourmet Traveller Wine. He is an active senior wine show judge and was one of the leaders in the Melbourne Wine Show revolution as Chairman of judges in 2008-2010.

Steve is on a constant quest to make better and more interesting wine. The De Bortoli family have planted different varieties in the Yarra Valley and King Valley such as Pinot Blanc, Sangiovese, Favorita, Nebbiolo, Gamay, Gewurztraminer and it is these varieties that are playing an important role in the ever evolving De Bortoli portfolio.

He seeks character and detail in wines, picks fruit with natural balance and with considered and judicious use of oak. While Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah styles are the main game, he is committed to developing Sangiovese, Gamay Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and pale textural Rosé into mainstream food wines in Australia.

An advocate of fine boned, complex cool area Australian Chardonnay, one of comments Steve often says is “It is grown everywhere around Australia but to make it taste like the place it is grown is extremely difficult. In my opinion, the Yarra Valley is probably the closest region in Australia to make Chardonnay taste of place rather than variety and when you do it right, it is extremely satisfying”.