By James Atkinson

A "massive change in philosophy" by De Bortoli Wines has given the company's Yarra Valley wines a much stronger sense of place, according to chief winemaker Steve Webber.

Webber was addressing the next generation of Australia's First Families of Wine (AFFW), who travelled from across the country to join a recent tour of the Victorian families' wineries.

He said De Bortoli's Yarra Valley winemaking team gave up on trying to impress show judges about 12 years ago, when they decided it was time to take a new approach. [continues below]

De Bortoli Yarra Valley's Steve Webber and Leanne DeBortoli with next generation, Kate & Sally Webber

"We were winning lots of gold medals and trophies at that point in time, but I didn't ever think the wines tasted like they came from here," he said.

"We just felt that the show system really doesn't take into consideration what the flavour of the place is all about."

Webber said the change in philosophy started in the vineyard, with cane pruning, shoot thinning, hand picking and hand sorting, "to get some quality and detail from the vineyard".

"In all the wines we're trying to make, we're trying to make wines that taste like this place," he said.

"We've gone along the path of if only half the people in the world love our wine, that's plenty, and if the other half don't like it, it doesn't matter."

The Shout Team

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