While our heartland is based firmly within the Barossa, we also know the value of sourcing South Australia's finest grapes, allowing us to blend across vineyards, varieties and regions.
Through this approach, we're able to deliver superior wines with unmistakable character, soft rounded palates, and vibrant flavour.
The Adelaide Hills district is a relatively young, cool climate region. Its high altitude produces elegant varieties that retain excellent natural acidity.
Sauvignon Blanc initially put the Adelaide Hills on the map, with a balance of fresh tropical fruit and varietal zest. Today, the region produces most major varieties, including pristine, elegant Chardonnay and spicy Shiraz.
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon
Pinot Gris, Viognier
Late March to early May, occasionally earlier
Predominantly grey to grey-brown loamy sands of low to moderate fertility.
A maze of valleys and sub-valleys provides a broad range of growing conditions.
Our home since 1966, the Barossa Valley is also the home of the South Australian wine industry and, many claim, birthplace of the great, lush Australian Shiraz.
With a Mediterranean climate ideal for variety, The Barossa Valley produces low yields of intense fruit. In fact, many red grape varieties perform well here, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Mourvedre (or Mataro).
Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, Merlot, Semillon, Chardonnay
Early February through to late April
Varies throughout the valleys, ranging from red to brown grey over basement rock.
Varying altitudes from 300 to over 500 metres.
The Clare Valley has produced beautiful, elegant wines since 1855. It’s one of Australia’s prettiest wine regions and comprises of 12 separate smaller valleys.
The Clare Valley’s warm days and cool nights bring us Riesling with delicate fruit characters; and Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec with earthy, dark brooding styles.
Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon
Malbec, Sangiovese, Petit Verdot
Early March through to late April
Coonawarra is home to the famed Terra Rossa soil. The area’s southerly latitude ensures a cool climate tempered by afternoon sea breezes that roll easily across the flat grazing land.
The Terra Rossa soil produces some of Australia’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon. Known for blackberry fruits, leafy mint lift and dusty oak tannins, its Cabernet also shows great longevity if carefully cellared.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling
Continued excellence from Cabernet Sauvignon
Early March – late April
Terra Rossa soil – red earth over limestone.
Vines were first planted in Eden Valley in 1842. Since then, the region has become synonymous with elegant Riesling and complex Shiraz.
Similar to the Clare Valley, Eden Valley is ideal for producing Riesling with delicate fruit characters. Its Shiraz is fine and elegant and provides a lovely contrast to the Barossa’s lush strength, while its Cabernet is renowned for length and structure.
Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon & Chardonnay
Mid March - April
The most common range from grey to brown in colour and from loamy sand to clay loams, with subsoils derived from weathered rock.
Rolling exposed hills with moderately steep gradients.
Langhorne Creek is one of the largest grape producing wine regions in South Australia. Grapes from its rich soils produce elegant reds with distinct mint characters, and have long been Wolf Blass mainstays.
The region’s strengths, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, display mulberry and dark cherry fruit flavours. Malbec is also making a name for itself in Langhorne Creek, with its robust fruit, dark chocolate, liquorice and clove flavours.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Malbec, Chardonnay, Verdelho
Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Viognier
Late February through until late April / early May
Rich alluvial, fertile soil.
Surveyed in 1839, McLaren Vale was one of the first areas in South Australia planted with vines and one of the state's premium grape-growing areas.
McLaren Vale's warm, idyllic Mediterranean climate produces big, deep, rich, flavoursome reds. But the coast's proximity also brings cool sea breezes, which preserve natural acid levels, delivering an elegant Chardonnay.
Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc
Viognier, Merlot, Sangiovese, Marsanne, Tempranillo
Late February to late April
A variety that ranges from fertile red brown earth to dark cracking soils.
Wolf Blass has a long and proud history of making award-winning wines utilising age-old methods. Enhanced by a world-class winery offering innovative winemaking features, this blend of old and new allows our winemakers to create extraordinary wines.
Wolf Blass winemakers also set the very highest of standards. From meticulous fruit selection, fermentation in open vessels that are at once traditional and state-of-the-art, small batch winemaking that allows freedom of experimentation, to maturation in the finest oak barrels, our wines are expertly crafted at every stage of production.
When to harvest wine grapes is a critical decision. Harvest decisions are based on development of flavour and colour, as well as the balance of sugar, tannin and acid.
Grapes may be picked by hand or machine. Hand picking is gentler, and often used for older, more premium fruit. Machine harvesting can take place at night, which allows enhanced fruit freshness and protects the grapes from the heat of the day.
After harvest, the grapes are gently destemmed and crushed to release the juice. Once crushed, the must, a combination of juice, skins and seeds, is fermented for up to two weeks. Red wine grapes have colourless juice, with the red colour found in the skins. During fermentation, the skins and seeds are left in contact with the juice to extract colour, as well as flavour and tannins, which provide structure, 'mouth-feel' and longevity.
During fermentation, the grape sugar is converted by yeast to alcohol and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide causes the skins to rise, forming a 'cap' on the top of the ferment. Winemakers manage the fermentation by controlling the temperature and resubmerging the cap by plunging down the skins or pumping the juice back over the cap. Breaking up and keeping the cap wet is the key to optimum extraction of colour and tannin.
Red wines also undergo malo-lactic fermentation (MLF), a secondary fermentation, which may take place during or after primary fermentation. This softens the acid and gives the wine a smooth, rich texture.
At the completion of fermentation, the must is transferred to the press to separate the wine from the skins. The wine is then settled and clarified by racking off lees – a combination of residual grape solids and dead yeast cells. Winemakers may further clarify some wines by fining, racking or filtration, as required, prior to bottling.
Red wine can spend anywhere from a few weeks to a few years maturing in either stainless steel tanks or oak barrels before bottling. As it ages, oak flavours and small amounts of oxygen are integrated into the wine, developing a complex secondary bouquet and a full, rich 'mouth-feel'.
After the wine has been matured, the individual batches are expertly blended and bottled. Further ageing takes place in the bottle, softening the tannins and integrating flavours. Most premium red wines are matured in bottle for a few months to a few years prior to release.
The most important decision in making wine is when to pick the grapes, as this lays the foundation of the style and flavour of the wine. Once optimum ripeness and flavour have been reached, it's time to harvest.
In white winemaking, Wolf Blass aims to preserve fresh fruit aromas and flavours, so it's critical to get the juice from the berry quickly and gently. The harvest method selected is based on the desired wine style.
Hand picking is gentler and the grapes remain whole, helping minimise tannin pick-up from the skins, seeds and stalks. Machine harvesting is much faster and may be done during the cool of the night. As the grapes break open, it allows for flavour pick-up from the skins, desirable for certain wine styles.
Once at the winery the grapes are destemmed, gently crushed and transferred to the press where the juice is extracted and cooled. Generally, the more gentle the juice extraction, the better the wine. The cold juice is allowed to settle and is decanted off the coarse grape solids for fermentation.
The key difference between white and red winemaking is that white grapes are pressed before fermentation, so that only the clarified juice is fermented, while red grapes are fermented on skins.
During fermentation, the grape sugar is converted by yeast to alcohol and carbon dioxide. Winemakers manage the fermentation by the choice of yeast, type of vessel (barrel or tank) and temperature. Whites are typically fermented cooler than reds to preserve fresh fruit flavours.
Different methods of maturation control the way a wine ages. Chardonnay may be fermented and matured in barrel. This imparts oak character and allows greater oxygen intake, resulting in complex secondary aromas and flavours. Riesling may be matured at cold temperatures in stainless steel tanks, preserving the pristine fruit characters and helping build flavour and 'mouth-feel'.
Some wines also undergo partial or full malo-lactic fermentation (MLF), a secondary fermentation that softens the acid, and gives the wine a rich, creamy texture.
After maturation, our white wines are clarified by fining, racking and filtration. Fining a wine removes unwanted characters such as bitterness, while stabilising removes excess protein or tartrate crystals that could otherwise make the wine hazy over time. Prior to bottling, the individual batches of wine are blended and the final blend is filtered to ensure it is clear and bright.
Base wines for sparkling are made from grapes that are picked early, so are relatively low in sugar and high in acid. This helps achieve a fresh, low alcohol wine with a distinct, fine acid backbone. Base wines are fermented in the same manner as white wines.
Traditional sparkling wines are made from a combination of three grape varieties:
High in natural acid and with a light perfumed bouquet and delicate mineral edge, Chardonnay offers freshness, finesse and elegance.
Naturally high in acid, Pinot Noir offers complex flavours, body and fine tannins that contribute structure to the wine.
Pinot Meunier produces delicate fruit styles with floral aromatics, adding a supple richness, while also lengthening the palate.
The final base wine may be a single variety or more commonly a blend of varieties from the same vintage (for a 'Vintage' sparkling) or from a number of different vintages (for a 'Non-Vintage' sparkling). This brings contrasting and complementary characters to the final wine, with the aim of creating a complex, balanced wine.
The base wine is bottled, with yeast and sugar added to activate a secondary fermentation. The bottles are then capped with crown seals and stored horizontally. The yeast ferments the sugar, producing carbon dioxide and a small amount of additional alcohol. Once all the sugar has been consumed, the yeast undergoes 'autolysis', which adds complexity, aroma and flavour, texture and 'mouth-feel, while finessing the quality of the bead.
The wine is matured on the spent yeast 'lees' for between six months and many years, depending on the quality and the style of wine. During maturation, the bottles are continually turned (riddled) and slowly moved to an inverted position, allowing the lees to settle in the neck of the bottle.
After maturation, the neck of the bottle is frozen and the crown seal is removed. This allows the frozen plug of lees to be released (disgorgement). Dosage allows for final style modification through the addition of liqueur, sweetener or brandy spirit, which fine-tunes and perfects the wine. The bottles are then sealed with a cork and wire muzzle, ready for enjoyment.