Posted by: Samantha Freidin
Date: 24 April 2023
Category: Insight

Chatting with Winemaker Will De Beaurepaire

While he boasts an impressive list of accolades and wine industry connections, both in Australia and abroad, William de Beaurepaire remains a down-to-earth, Akubra-wearing Aussie bloke.  

Ahead of our Florence Guild wine tasting event with De Beaurepaire Wines (RSVP here), we caught up with Will to chat about his family’s history in the wine industry, their unique approach to winemaking, and importantly, what wine goes well with fried chicken. 

It’s French wine, not tyres!
Hailing from a venerated Burgundian family (members of which have occupied the same house in France for over a thousand years!), the de Beaurepaires have always been involved in wine. “Mostly drinking it,” Will admits. And whilst the French revolution saw many older winemaking families falter, the de Beaurepaire institution remained.  

In 1970, Will’s great aunt and uncle established Murrindindi Winery, in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. In the 1990s, Will’s parents sought to shift operations elsewhere, beginning the search for the perfect ‘terroir’ for winemaking that was more of a true reflection of the distinctly French craft their family was so well known for back home. But, as they quickly learned, one cannot easily replicate the minutiae of true Burgundian wine making. 

“We’re talking cultural aspects; thousands of years of growers notes and diaries containing incredibly detailed knowledge of distinct soil microbiomes and weather. You can’t replicate that, but we can replicate quantitative aspects with regards to climate location, geology and soil type.”

Persistence paid off and the family finally settled on a segment of ancient coastline set on limestone rich soil, 150 kilometres inland, nestled within droves of sheep in Rylstone NSW.  

De Beaurepaire approaches wine differently…
There are many ingredients that go into a one ingredient product.

“Wine growing starts with pruning. At the end of winter, you prune the vines, setting yield and style choices. You’re effectively setting the expectation of what the season will be like and adapting your own microclimate, the things you can control. So, by the time the product gets to the winery most decisions have been made. Our job is to shepherd the wine through, rather than to engineer it. It’s a very different approach.” 

Will calls it authentic. “In France, it’s all about the vineyard, in Australia the vineyard is almost ignored. Unless you’re investing heavily in the vineyard, you’re not going to be able to produce a high quality, authentic wine.”

“Australia makes good quality, consistent wines. The way they’re able to ensure product consistency when purchasing fruit from many different vineyards is through incredibly skilful chemistry. It’s more involved because you’re trying to beat into shape all these disparate grapes to produce consistency. That way you don’t have to remarket new wines. With us, I see it as- what the environment gives me is what the environment gives me. Some years are good, some great, and others the crop gets wiped out from frost disease, or any number of things. The less you do to the wine, the more honest an expression it is of the terroir.” 

So, with a firm understanding of the pillars to de Beaurepaire’s success; terroir driven, precision viticulture that is sustainability focussed and scientifically informed, we had to ask Will a few rapid-fire questions for our own wine education… 


Work Club is excited to partner with De Beaurepaire wines to host a Florence Guild event where members will have the opportunity to meet Will, taste a range of amazing wines and explore classic and obscure food pairings. RSVP to secure your place here. 

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