An Art Deco Winery for our Festival

Did you know that De Bortoli Wines was established during the heart of the Art Deco era?

The year was 1928 when Vittorio De Bortoli (who had only immigrated to Australia a few years earlier) purchased a 55 acre mixed fruit farm near Bagtown (now Griffith). The year saw a glut of Shiraz grapes and many farmers were leaving their grapes to rot. Vittorio took the grapes for free and crushed 15 tonnes of Shiraz. Local Italians amongst others offered to buy wine from him. And just like that De Bortoli Wines was born.

Despite the depression, the 1930’s saw a boom in De Bortoli’s business with train loads of wine being transported across the nation in 270 litre barrels. The decade also saw a boom in the De Bortoli family. Vittorio and his wife Giuseppina had three children including Deen, who went on to run the family business and was instrumental in the global success they have achieved today.

First Barrel room at Bilbul

Following WWII the business continued to grow and from the 1950’s to early 2000’s saw Deen constantly growing and modernising what became his winery.

Deen and his wife Emeri had four children who now have their own roles in running their family’s business and maintaining it’s legacy. This third generation of family winemakers may run the business, but Emeri is still the leader of the family and a Senior Director on the De Bortoli Wines board.

Darren, who is well known for creating the acclaimed Noble One is now the managing director of the company. Darren along with his brothers Kevin, who looks after the Viticulture (growing of the grapes) and Victor, who looks after international business are based at the De Bortoli head quarters still located at the original site in Bilbul, just outside of Griffith. Their sister Leanne runs the Yarra Valley Winery.

Now, 90 years on from the beginning of this business, the fourth generation are finding their place in their family’s business and are excited to see where the future will take them.

Yarra Valley chief winemaker Steve Webber is responsible for the beautifully crafted La Boheme wines which take inspiration from the La Boheme Opera which first premiered in in Italy in 1986. However, it was the early 20th century (the same time as the rise of the Art Deco style and De Bortoli Wines) that La Boheme was being performed across the world. The opera star Dame Nellie Melba who played the role of Mimi lives on in the Yarra Valley with the De Bortoli Winery at Dixons Creek being located on the Melba Highway.

Each wine in this range is inspired by a different Act in the La Boheme Opera. Like the Act Three Pinot Gris and Friends or Act Four Syrah Gamay. The perfect finish for these wines is the gorgeous labels influenced by Czech artist Alphonse Mucha. Not only is it fitting to have a Bohemian influence for wines inspired by a story about Bohemian life in Paris, but Mucha was also popular at the same time as this Opera.

We are so excited to be partnering with this company who has such a rich history in our area and who’s roots are at the heart of our festival period of 1910-1949!

Make sure you get your glass of La Boheme Cuvee Blanc or Cuvee Rosé on arrival at the Hundred at the Hydro and our Flappers at the Flappers & Felons Balls.