Is your next holiday destination Noosa?
Well maybe it is, if we have anything to do with it. It is so easy to enter our little comp – Just buy a bottle of Rococo, La Boheme or one of our Yarra Valley Estate wines at participating stores/restaurants, keep your receipt and enteronline at debortoli.com.au/promotions
The Summer holidays were just coming to an end and we were turning our thoughts back to work, wine and the impending vintage when…. Wham!
Suddenly the grapes were ripening and before we knew it we were on our way. Vintage 2015. Whilst our winemakers up north in the Riverina were already harvesting, crushing, fermenting, here down down south we were still out berry sampling in the vineyard and mentally preparing for another busy season.
Suddenly it was all a-happening. On the 30th January, the first load of fruit that came into our Yarra winery was from our King Valley farm in North-East Victoria. Harvested during the cool of the night, the early ripened Chardonnay’s destiny was for Sparkling wine. Only a week later we started picking Yarra Valley Chardonnay….again for Sparkling wine base.
One week later, and we are well and truly into our Crazy season. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris has started flooding in. Early morning starts, and I mean very early morning starts; crazy hours; Vintage staff numbers swelling to double with internationals flooding in from Argentina, Hungary, France…and a couple of Aussies here and there. Machine harvesting, hand-picking, crushing, pressing, hand-sorting and it already feels like we have been at it for months rather than a mere two weeks.
Leanne De Bortoli
We were pretty thrilled to discover that socially, we are up there with the big boys.
Two nights ago we were acknowledged as an influential wine company, picking up the award for ‘Best Presence in Social Media’ in the wine category at the Drinks Awards. For me personally, this is a tremendous achievement. Anyone who knows me, knows I am a social media tragic; Twitter (a personal favourite), Facebook, Pinterest, Blogs, LinkedIn, Youtube and Instagram (my newest playmate).
One of the major attributing campaigns to us winning this award was that of Rosé Revolution. Basically, 3 years ago, a bunch of us felt that premium dry Rosé should be celebrated so we decided to do something about it. Driven purely through Social Media and with very little budget (plus the boundless energy of Trish Barry from Mastermind Consulting), Rosé Revolution became a 3 years crusade involving 66 wineries to spruik the benefits and joy of dry (mostly pale but not all) delicious Rosé.
But how do you measure its real success? In our case, you can’t do better than consistently selling out of Rosé each year. More importantly we have seen a much wider awareness of provencal-style Rosé; a wine that translates so well from the South of France to the Australian shores. Our climate is just made for it.
So to all of those like-minded wineries, restaurants, retailers and savvy Rosé drinkers that took a punt on supporting our crazy campaign 3 years ago; thanks muchly.
If you are wondering what to do next Saturday night (24th August) why not come along to a one-of-a-kind wine tasting evening at our Locale restaurant here in the Yarra Valley.
‘Blind Tasting’ is a unique one-woman contemporary show, starring Sylvia Keays, and what better venue to host it but within a winery. Be prepared to enjoy a thoroughly entertaining evening with Sylvia’s quirky performance followed by a meal prepared by new chef Adam Mead served with matched wines.
Winewriter, Huon Hooke recently attended Sylvia’s show in Sydney and gave this review…
Corker of a performance
Wine tasting is not usually a subject for serious theatre. But it is the essence of a one-woman Australian play called Blind Tasting. It’s about a woman who works in a wine club call centre, not unlike CellarMasters, and is performed by a woman who has worked in such a call centre. I attended a sell out performance at the ensemble Theatre in Sydney recently, co-hosted by Canberra district winery Shaw Vineyard Estate. It was a barrel of fun. Estate owner Graeme Shaw is a sponsor of the theatre, and we had a tasting of his wines before the show. It was one of the most enterprising ways to promote wine that I’ve seen in a while. Written and directed by Paul Gilchrist, and performed with great vitality and charm by Sylvia Keays, Blind Tasting was entertaining and funny. It’s not a send-up of wine tasting, but wine is the starting point for the tragicomic story of the heroine, Sophie, and the basis for allegorical comments on life, death and love. It kicks off with the star hilariously guzzling while blindfolded, the best part of bottle of Shaw red which I was reliably informed was cordial. Keays has taken her show on the road and if you ever hear it’s on, I recommend you go!
Cost is $120 per person for the show, dinner and matched wines.
Phone (03) 5965 2271 for enquiries or to make a booking.
There is something very compelling about a good Duck and Pinot combo. Try this mouthwatering recipe for Szechuan Pepper Duck Breast with Chestnuts, Brussel Sprouts and Beetroot…. and match it with a charming Yarra Valley Pinot Noir click here for the Szechuan Pepper Duck Breast Recipe
My daughters, Kate and Sally, who are 4th generation De Bortoli kids, are both at university and whether they come into the family business, I don’t know. What is more important is for them to find their way into the wider world and if they show interest in the family business, we’ll certainly welcome them with open arms.
In the meantime, whilst having a wow of a time at uni, they have had the privilege of meeting up with a few other next genners in the wine industry through our family’s involvement with Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW). Set up a few years ago it is a very diverse group of 12 families and we have all joined together at numerous events to collectively sing the praise of Australian wine. During that time, I have had a chance to meet many of the sons and daughters of these other families and they are terrific fun; full of enthusiasm and energy.
Kate and Sally, along with their cousins, Ben, Anna and Sophie, joined all the Next Genners last year on a weekend of discovery that covered the De Bortoli, Campbells, Browns and Tahbilk wineries in Victoria. They were somewhat nervous meeting the other next genners but they needn’t have worried. By the end of the weekend, when I picked up two very tired girls from the bus, they were bouncing with the stories of who they had met and what they had done and it wasn’t just all about wine. There were some serious tastings, lightened by the laughter and camaraderie enjoyed by all. There were some hidden talents discovered…..but as they say; what happens on tour, stays on tour.
Now it is their turn to shine. At a tasting in Melbourne on Friday 19th April, each AFFW next genner will have a chance to show the public who they are and highlight one of their favourite wines from their family’s stash. Unlike your usual tasting, it will be a more relaxed affair, more like a party than anything else. They’ll all be there (well, nearly all of them) and there will be music (loud), food (lots of it) and I am sure some very interesting conversations.
For more information about this event, go to http://affwunleashed.roller.net.au/?booking_date=2013-04-19
By the way, if you do go, make sure you say hi to Kate and Sally.
Usually around this time each year we are asked for our Vintage Report for the Yarra Valley.(Our thoughts on Vintage Charts can be found by clicking on this link)
Harking back to the days when Murray Tyrrell would be featured on the nightly news, espousing each vintage (in the Hunter Valley) as the best vintage on record, do you expect me to be any different. Each and every vintage is different. Each vintage we try our darndest and we stand proudly behind every vintage we make.
In a nutshell, the Yarra had good winter rainfall followed by a very dry and warm growing season leading into an early harvest that nearly caught our winemakers unawares. One minute we were coasting along, suddenly it was “Oh bugger, everything is ripening…quick, start picking now!”
The date was the 18th February. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay came pouring into the winery; hand-picked and machine harvested. Very hectic time of year with someone usually yelling out at some stage “It’s a … circus!!”
Much needed rain arrived in late February to cool the tempers, cool the vines and bring everything back to a state of calmness. Calm winemakers make calm wine (so they say).
In early March we did have some rather warm weather with fine conditions to start reeling in the Shiraz and Cabernet. The early Shiraz is showing lots of promise with good maturity and balanced flavours. Some more welcome rain followed over the weekend (I can’t say I was too displeased for my veggie garden). The scene looks set for a cool, mild Autumn which should result in lovely tannin development for those leaving reds out for a few more weeks.
Overall cropping levels are down to about 20% in most varieties which is not surprising.
Anything else to add will be done over the next few weeks, as our precious wines are nurtured, cajoled and pampered (ditto the winemakers). First Yarra Valley wine to be bottled will most likely be our 2013 La Boheme Pinot Noir Rose (being emptied out of barrel today). Look for it in May and then you too, can rejoice with us.
Follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/DeBortoliWines
Autumn is truly a spectacular time in the Yarra Valley, with the earth showing its full bounty.
Join our head chef, Heath Dumesny, for a morning cooking demonstration followed by a long table luncheon matched with our Estate grown wines. Experience the enjoyment & satisfaction of growing your own produce & cooking it up into something delicious. Numbers are limited.
Date: 14 April, 2013.
Time:10am – 3pm
To book: Phone 03 5965 2271
“Australian’s all let us rejoice, for we are young and free”. Well, I don’t know about the young part but it is wonderful to live in a country where we have freedom of speech and freedom of choice. We are a multicultural melting pot with influences coming from everywhere and these influences, happily, have made it down into the food we eat and the wines we drink. For me, growing up in an Italian household meant that salami, radicchio, and crostoli were just as much a part of my daily diet, as were Vegemite and Sao biscuits.
Nobody could believe the horror of the 2009 fires as they swept through much of Victoria including large parts of the Yarra Valley. We were not exempt either, losing a few hectares. Although we eventually lost our whole 2009 vintage (because of smoke taint) we consider ourselves one of the very lucky ones.
In the aftermath we were very heartened by the outpouring of concern and support that reached us, not just from those close to us but from all over the globe. The messages that came through at that time were very supportive and many were wanting to help in some way, whether it was emotionally, financially or physically. You cannot imagine how those messages helped buoy many in our community.
At that time, I received a call from Ross Brown from Brown Brothers who had an idea. A bloody brilliant idea! He approached Tesco (UK) to do a joint promotion with Brown Brothers and De Bortoli to raise money for the Bushfire Appeal. Tesco organised a special Bushfire support promotion, with each company contributing to the Bushfire Appeal.
Fast forward two years and I am most delighted to say that the project has finally come to fruition with the Official opening held on Sunday 18th December, just before Christmas. What a day it was! The park was packed with families, locals and visitors alike; picnic rugs everywhere and every piece of playground equipment was crawling with happy children.
I give my heartfelt thanks to Ross Brown and the rest of the Brown Brothers family and team. I give my thanks to Tesco Supermarkets in the UK for supporting this initiative and my thanks also go to all the other organisations who contributed to the playground.
It is worth it to see the smiles on the kids faces.
Leanne De Bortoli