As the family’s wine and business have grown increasingly sophisticated, the De Bortolis have become high profile national and international players. But their success has come at a cost to local loyalties, straining community ties that go back generations. With each vintage, tensions mount. Economic realities have seen the family cut back on the grapes it buys, and the price it is prepared to pay.
After graduating, Darren was appointed Chief Winemaker at De Bortoli Wines and with the backing of his father the late Deen De Bortoli, made what has become Australia’s benchmark sweet white, Noble One.
Darren has been active in winemaking organisations including the Riverina Winemakers Association and was Inaugural President of the NSW Winemakers Association. He has also been involved in many community functions and charities and was the Chairman of the Griffith Festival Committee for a number of years. Darren is married to Margot and they have three children.
Expansion: Darren has seen De Bortoli Wines expand from 7,000 tonnes crushed in 1982 to more than 80,000 tonnes crushed in 2004. During the past two decades Darren has been largely responsible for De Bortoli’s expansion not only in Bilbul but into other regions as well including the Yarra Valley, King Valley and most recently the Hunter Valley. Darren has also overseen the establishment of office/distribution branches in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney as well as offshore branches in the UK, Europe and North America.
Education: Growing up at the family winery in Bilbul southern NSW, Darren understood from his grandfather Vittorio at very early age that he was destined to become a winemaker. After finishing school Darren moved to South Australia to study winemaking at Roseworthy, Australia’s premier winemaking school, attaining his degree in Applied Science in Oenology in 1982.