20 March 2014

Wolf BlassInternationally renowned South Australian winemaker and business leader, Wolf Blass AM will be awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of South Australia this Friday acknowledging his continuing contribution to the community.

Throughout a 60-year career in wine production, Wolf Blass emerged from modest beginnings to build one of Australia’s most awarded and successful wineries and wine brands.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the Wolf Blass story is an exemplar of the spirit of enterprise.

“After studying and working in the European wine industry for 13 years, Wolf migrated to the Barossa Valley in 1961 to take up a three-year contract with Kaiser Stuhl as Sparkling Wines Manager. Within that short period he broadened his reach to become Australia’s first freelance wine consultant and technical adviser for independent producers,” Prof Lloyd says.

“In 1966 he transformed a modest 2.5 acre landholding in South Australia into what is now Wolf Blass Wines.

“By 1974 – just 13 years after settling here - he was exporting his own wine, on his own label, Wolf Blass Wines International.”

Prof Lloyd says Wolf Blass was at the vanguard of a new generation of Australian winemakers.

“He was the lead in a group of daring wine industry personalities who reinvented Australian wine, creating individual wines of various styles and daring to take a new path,” Prof Lloyd says.

“Many would agree that by adapting his considerable knowledge of white wine-making and applying it to reds, Wolf changed the way red wine was made in Australia.”

Just after launching the label Wolf Blass Wines in 1973, the company won three consecutive Jimmy Watson trophies, the most prestigious and sought after wine award in Australia.

Since then the growth of Wolf Blass Wines has been impressive. With more than 3,000 awards at national and international wine shows, the success of the company is inspiring. Today the wines are exported to more than 50 countries and more than 65 million bottles of Wolf Blass branded wines have been sold worldwide since that first 1973 vintage, generating significant business for South Australia.

Now Executive Chairman of the Wolf Blass Group of companies, Global Ambassador for Wolf Blass Wines International, Chairman of the Wolf Blass Foundation and Ambassador for the Canberra International Riesling Challenge, Blass continues to make an impact in the industry.

Established with a $1m gift from Blass in 1994, the Wolf Blass Foundation is a catalyst for the advancement of wine quality, wine industry prosperity and the pursuit of excellence throughout the Australian industry.

Key projects include research and development, education, wine and health and a global wine industry profile for Australia. The Foundation has supported a wine industry Oral History Project (now stored at the State Library of SA), an ongoing International Wine Lecture Exchange between Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and Wurzburg Wine University in Germany, the publication of the book History of Australian Wines by Max Allen, and a Winemakers Federation of Australia report on Actions for Industry Profitability 2014-2016.

In 2001 Blass was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia “for service to the development of the Australian wine industry, particularly as an export industry, and to the promotion of excellence in winemaking, viticulture, marketing and research”.

In 2006 Blass was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany, one of its most prestigious awards, “for his outstanding contribution to cultural life and nurturing positive relationships between the peoples of Germany and Australia”.

Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office: 08 8302 0966 mobile: 0418 823 673 email: Michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au

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