Wolf Blass stands for individuality, innovation, strength of character and market success. This applies to the man who founded the company as well as his wines with the wedge-tailed eagle on the label. In its more than forty years of company history, Wolf Blass Wines not only played a key role in defining Australia’s emerging wine industry but also established itself as one of the most popular global brands in the world of wine.
Wolfgang Franz Otto Blass was born in Thüringen in 1934. While his family on his mother’s side was involved in the wine industry, Wolf Blass says he only decided to become an oenologist to keep a roof over his head and have something to eat during the difficult post-war era. After making sparkling wines in Champagne and Germany, Wolf assumed the position of cellarmaster for the British winemaker Averys. Thanks to his knowledge and experience in producing sparkling wines, Blass received several job offers from all over the world. He decided on Australia, where he initially produced sparkling wine at the Kaiser Stuhl wine cellars in the Barossa Valley before becoming Australia’s first wine consultant a short time later. He travelled throughout the country in his old VW seven days a week and quickly became the “Golden Boy” of the Australian wine industry.
Under the symbol of the eagle
Since Wolf Blass was not bound by the long-standing traditions of a wine cellar, he was able to set a very personal goal: His mission was to experiment with new concepts for wine production and marketing. Blass started cultivating small acreages in 1966 and in 1969 he bought two hectares of land on Bilyara Road, four kilometres from Nuriootpa in the Barossa Valley. Bilyara is what the aborigines call the wedge-tailed eagle (eaglehawk), and since the eagle is also the heraldic creature of his home country of Germany, Blass decided that his wines would have the eaglehawk on the label – a tradition that continues to this day. With plenty of innovative spirit and great passion, Wolf Blass developed wines in the 1970s with a fuller flavour, soft on the palate and highly drinkable. The emergence of this "new” style of wine in the 1970s is one of the main reasons for the success of Wolf Blass Wines at the time and their popularity among consumers today.
In 1973, Wolf Blass decided to found Wolf Blass Wines International. As his own boss, Blass concentrated on producing table wines – a surprising development given his background and the fact that he never really made red wine until he emigrated to Australia. But he quickly recognised that red wine, with its fruity blend of aromas, is more attractive to the wine novice than white wine which tends to be acidic. But of course he also produced white wines. Blass focused on exports as soon as his distribution network in Australia was in place, and today Wolf Blass delivers all over the world.
The present and the future
Wolf Blass remains active in the global wine industry, mainly of course as the ambassador of the Wolf Blass brand. He is a former president and lifetime member of the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London and sits on numerous boards of the Australian wine industry. In addition, he is the chairman of the Wolf Blass Foundation, which he founded in 1996 with an endowment of one million US dollars to celebrate his 60th birthday and which is primarily dedicated to wine research and promoting the Australian wine industry.
The winemaker team
Wolf Blass winemakers, headed up by Chief Winemaker, Chris Hatcher, are an award winning winemaking team, continuously striving for the ultimate in excellence, character and integrity. Chris has been with the company since 1987 and was promoted to head cellarmaster in 1996. Hatcher has already received numerous prizes and is recognised as one of the most renowned wine experts of Australia and the world. Matt O’Leary is Senior Winemaker Matt O’Leary who, in changing careers, discovered his love for wine and vinification rather late in life. O’Leary has been dedicating himself to expanding the selection of red and white wines offered by Wolf Blass Wines with great success since the year 2000. Mary Clay as Team Winemaker has been committing her extensive expertise to red wines in particular since 2005 – from premium wines to small batches all the way to commercial blends. The Wolf Blass wine style has always been a unique and highly distinguishable one. Our winemaking teams strong focus on careful fruit sourcing, fermentation, maturation and blending results in lifted vibrant fruit flavours, a soft, rounded palate and well integrated tannins that are the hallmarks of the total Wolf Blass range.
Wolf Blass uses highly modern open stainless steel fermenting vats. These are especially well suited to efficiently processing the harvests of small acreages and therefore facilitate experimentation. It is no longer necessary to enter the fermenting vats to prepare for the fermentation process – which translates into significant health and safety advantages for employees. The winemakers can control temperatures in the vats remotely from their desks and save the corresponding data for subsequent evaluation and reuse. All new barrels (for red and white wines) are equipped with highly modern insulating materials and therefore enable the temperature to be controlled precisely. All of the process water generated during vinification is purified and used to irrigate the Nuriootpa Golf Course.
The growing region and the wine cellar
In an effort to produce the wide range of red, white, rosé and sparkling wines of Wolf Blass quality, the company obtains its grapes from all renowned winegrowing regions of Southern Australia: Clare Valley, Eden Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and Langhorne Creek.
Wolf Blass Wines has set up a visitor and event centre at its company headquarters, which has plenty to offer its guests: From individual degustation to large-scale banquets, from romantic weddings to all-day business meetings – Wolf Blass fulfils a number of wishes, meets many different requirements and guarantees an unforgettable experience.
Wolf Blass Wines offers an extensive selection of wines in a wide variety of grades, which not only inspire experts and connoisseurs but are also appreciated by consumers. Whether red wine, white wine, rosé or sparkling wine, exquisite Platinum Label, Black Label and Grey Label or wines for everyday consumption such as Yellow Label and Eaglehawk range – they all have one thing in common: Wolf Blass Wines impress with their quality, character and consistency – year after year.
More information is available at www.wolfblass.com.