Brilliant Autumn colours April 24th

Reflection on Vintage 2011

leanne / April 24th, 2011

I love this time of year. Harvest is finally over and no more worry about the weather….at least for this year. Time to enjoy the cool nights, warm days and beautiful colours of Autumn.

In 8 weeks and 2 days the vineyard lads, winemakers and vintage hands here at our Yarra Valley winery have been hard at it – picking grapes, getting ferments buzzing and tucking the wines into barrels for another year.

After a very wet Spring with concern about the health of the vines and disease pressure, we were genuinely concerned but are happily surprised at the overall quality of Vintage 2011. Some pundits have already been willing to write off Vintage 2011 in the Yarra Valley but we ask that they don’t be so hasty. Wait until you have tried some of the beauties from this year before making any decision.

There are similarities between this year and the 2002 vintage (remembering back to the days before the drought and heat) when the Yarra Valley was a very cool place to grow fruit.

Some of our stats from this year…..

  • Vintage started here on 23rd February
  • Total harvest from our own vineyards of approx 1618 tonnes of which 630 tonnes were hand-picked.
  • 465 tonnes of Pinot Noir harvested of which more than 50% was hand-picked and hand-sorted.
  • Harvest completed on the 21st April.


Leanne De Bortoli

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New Head Chef for our Locale Restaurant

leanne / April 13th, 2011

We are delighted to announce that our new Head chef at Locale restaurant is Heath Dumesny.

Heath was our sous chef and had worked under Tim Keenan’s guidance for the last 2 years so it is now an excellent opportunity for him to be creative in his own right.

Heath began his apprenticeship at Portofino’s in Port Fairy and from there has spent the last 15 years honing his skills at various places around Australia. Before coming to De Bortoli, Heath had worked as sous chef at Stones in the Yarra Valley where he worked closely with Greg Malouf during his wonderful Arabesque Sunday lunches.

Heath started with us in 2009 and is more than prepared for the interesting and challenging role ahead. He will continue to source delicious produce from the many local suppliers and has his eye on extending the restaurant vegetable patch (the vineyard could be under threat!). He also plans to involve his young and energetic kitchen team in growing fresh produce from around our property, catching yabbies, looking after the pigs and generally getting their hands dirty.

Heath’s philosophy is to continue producing the memorable but simple food for which Locale restaurant is renowned. As he says “I aim to leave people with a lasting memory of a special moment in time spent sharing great food and wine”.


Leanne De Bortoli.

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Vintage in a Day, Chinese style

leanne / April 8th, 2011

Ever thought about doing vintage in a day (or two)?

Recently, we hosted some charming Chinese visitors who were here for vintage experience as part of the A+ Wine Australia program. They came from all over China to spend time in one of 16 wine regions around Australia for a few days.

We hosted 6 of them here in the Yarra Valley, spending time between Giant Steps, Yering Station, Domaine Chandon, Sticks, Punt Road  and ourselves.

Four of the visitors were put to hard work here at De Bortoli picking fruit, hand-sorting, pressing, shovelling and for their efforts were rewarded with a pleasant lunch.

That evening we were joined by the other two for a lovely night on our back deck. Lots of food, wine and chatter.

Need proof that they did work hard? Here it is… Vintage in a Day video



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