Executive Chairman of the Wolf Blass Group of Companies
Throughout a 60-year career in wine production, Wolfgang Franz Otto Blass transformed a modest 2.5 acre landholding in South Australia into what is now Wolf Blass Wines, one of the most successful and awarded wineries in Australia.
After studying and working in the European wine industry for 13 years, Dr Blass migrated to the Barossa Valley in 1961 and commenced a three-year contract with Kaiser Stuhl as Sparkling Wines Manager. In 1964 he became Australia's first freelance wine consultant and technical adviser for independent producers. In 1966 he registered the business name Bilyara and produced his first vintage in the same year. By 1973 the first Wolf Blass label (1973 vintage) was made and Wolf Blass Wines International was established. The next year he began exporting Wolf Blass wines around the world.
From 1969 -1973 Dr Blass also worked as Manager and Winemaker for Tolleys where he made the first significant impact on the local wine industry with development of red wine styles. He was considered one of the leaders of the new generation of Australian winemakers, creating individual wines of various styles under his own label.
He developed wines that were fuller in flavour, softer in the mouth and easier to drink. The emergence of the 'new' wine style in the 1970s was a major reason for the success of Wolf Blass wines. He started his own brand in 1973 and almost immediately won three consecutive Jimmy Watson trophies. The most prestigious and sought after wine award in Australia, it is awarded annually at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show to the producer of the best one or two year old, dry, red wine.