De Bortoli Wines, one of Australia’s most respected wine brands, is in damage control after managing director Darren De Bortoli posted a Facebook message deemed sexist and inappropriate.
Mr Bortoli is also a board member of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia.
De Bortoli Wines chairperson Emeri De Bortoli posted this statement on Facebook tonight: “De Bortoli Wines has grown successfully over its 90-year history through the passion of a diverse workforce, made up of almost 50 percent women, and loyal customers. Integrity and equality are at the core of our family business and we take great pride in being an active and positive contributor to the Australian wine industry. This has not and will not change.
“Darren’s views on his personal social channels in no way represent our family or our company’s values, nor should they reflect on the businesses or people who make up this amazing industry. We are deeply upset by and apologise for any offence caused by Darren’s post. The Family Board have reminded Darren of his position as a leading representative of the company and the wine industry.
“We look forward to continuing to build on our family’s proud legacy, which includes the next generation of company leaders.”
On Tuesday night Darren De Bortoli posted this message on Facebook: “Whip me, crush me, make me whine. I love the idea of all those nubile virgins vigorously squishing my grapes during vintage time.” The message was accompanied by a photograph of two women in a wine barrel.
Two days later Mr De Bortoli tweeted this comment: “A post of mine which was deemed offensive was never meant to be and it has been removed. I apologise to all of those that deemed it to be offensive which was never the intent. I hope this now puts this matter to rest.”
WFA tweeted: “WFA does not support or condone comments made by Mr De Bortoli. His personal statements do not reflect the views and culture of WFA. WFA strives to create an incl. envt. for women in the wine industry. These comments are not OK and WFA recognises our need to step up here.”
Mr De Bortoli has been roundly criticised on social media for his post and a Facebook post by fellow WFA board member Corrina Wright has been liked by more than 350 people.