Our Winemakers

Our Winemakers

The Wolf Blass team of winemakers share a similar working ethos – to boldly chase the pursuit of excellence, to uphold and represent Wolf Blass' proud history, and to create wine of exceptional quality.  
Learn More About Our Passionate Winemaking Team
Chris Hatcher - Chief Winemaker

The sum of all parts should still be a better result than the quality of each individual part, otherwise why blend at all?

The sum of all parts should still be a better result than the quality of each individual part, otherwise why blend at all?

Chris is considered one of Australia's leading winemakers and a highly respected wine show judge across the globe. His attention to detail in the winery and the tasting room has helped produce the quality, consistency and character that Wolf Blass is renowned for.

Growing up in Adelaide, Chris knew he wanted to be a winemaker from a very young age. He can't quite pinpoint why. His father was a strict Methodist and there was never any wine in the house. For Chris, it was more about obtaining what you could not have.

In 1974 Chris completed a Science Degree at the University of Adelaide in South Australia before studying winemaking at Charles Sturt University in NSW.

After working at Orlando and Kaiser Stuhl in the Barossa Valley and the Simi Winery in California, Chris joined Wolf Blass Wines in December 1987. For the next 10 years, Chris was the Senior Winemaker responsible for Wolf Blass whites and sparklings.

In that decade, Chris made 39 trophy and 218 gold medal-winning wines. He was also responsible for steering the success of the Wolf Blass white wine range, which ultimately set the groundwork for our export success.

In 2008, Chris insisted that Wolf Blass Black Label be entered into a blind tasting competition against 30 of the most iconic wines in the world, some costing upwards of $2,000 a bottle. Many thought, against such distinguished company, that it was a crazy idea. But as it turned out, against the world's best our Black Label received an almost perfect score – which only told Chris there was still room for improvement.

Chris has never stopped chasing exceptional. Many say he never will.

The sum of all parts should still be a better result than the quality of each individual part, otherwise why blend at all?

Steven Frost - Senior Winemaker

My passion lies in the ability to make a natural product, using art and science to produce a wine that can be enjoyed by many, including myself.

My passion lies in the ability to make a natural product, using art and science to produce a wine that can be enjoyed by many, including myself.

Steve grew up in his family's restaurant business in the Yarra Valley where, at an early age, his interest in food and wine was cultivated.

Though it wasn't his first career, growing and making wine was always Steve's passion, with most weekends spent working part-time in vineyards and making wines with friends.

Steve started working in the wine industry full-time in 1999, the same year he started a Bachelor of Applied Science (Wine Science) at Charles Sturt University. Drawn to work in the Barossa in 2005, he's been making Wolf Blass reds since 2008. The winery's expansive vineyard resources, modern and traditional winemaking techniques, and careful approach to blending proved just as irresistible then as they do now.

My passion lies in the ability to make a natural product, using art and science to produce a wine that can be enjoyed by many, including myself.

Marie Clay - Winemaker

My passion is making wines which are not only great to drink but have personality and a sense of place.

My passion is making wines which are not only great to drink but have personality and a sense of place.

Wolf Blass red winemaker Marie Clay discovered wine through her Dad's stellar collection of South Australian reds. Like all good fathers, he stocked up on the birth year of his two daughters. In Marie's case, that just happened to be a lovely bottle of 1979 Wolf Blass Black Label, which was cracked at her 21st birthday.

After graduating in 2000 from Adelaide University with First Class Honours in Oenology (Wine Science), Marie received a Southcorp wines scholarship. During this period, she trained with the company's best winemakers in Australia's most significant wine regions – Coonawarra, Barossa and Great Western.

Following these experiences – as well as later vintages in Burgundy and Tuscany – Marie joined the winemaking team at Wolf Blass in 2005.

She loves working in a modern winery that allows the fruit's potential to be realised. Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale, the heartland regions of the Grey Label range, are particularly close to her heart.

Marie now calls the Barossa home; safe in the knowledge her Dad's cellar is only an hour away.

My passion is making wines which are not only great to drink but have personality and a sense of place.

Clare Dry - Winemaker

Producing fine wine is equal parts artistic and technical challenge, with a dash of personality - and it's this combination that I love.

Producing fine wine is equal parts artistic and technical challenge, with a dash of personality - and it's this combination that I love.

During her teens, Clare's interest in horticulture led to work experience at a winery on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula where she grew up. It took just two days of work experience for her to know she wanted a career in the wine industry.

After high school, Clare enrolled in a Bachelor of Oenology (Wine Science) at Adelaide University and then, with a thirst for more practical knowledge before recommencing study, took a gap year to work on a vintage on the Mornington Peninsula, and a second in the Pfalz region of Germany.

Since her graduation in 2007, Clare has been a key member of the Wolf Blass team and works alongside her colleagues to ensure the guiding principles behind each wine are met.

Clare has a strong interest in cool climate wines and is particularly fond of the Adelaide Hills, where she spends a lot of time in vineyards during vintage assessing grapes for harvest, especially Pinot Noir.

The winemaking team source fruit from many of the premium wine growing areas of South Australia and according to Clare, it's this exposure to multiple regions, as well as multiple varieties, styles, techniques, technology and expertise that makes working for Wolf Blass such a fulfilling experience.

Discover Clare's favourite Wolf Blass wine.

Producing fine wine is equal parts artistic and technical challenge, with a dash of personality - and it's this combination that I love.

John Ashwell - Winemaker

Potential - for me that is the one word that encapsulates the process of winemaking. From grapevines in budburst to juice fermentation to wine blending – every step of the journey reflects the potential to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

Potential - for me that is the one word that encapsulates the process of winemaking. From grapevines in budburst to juice fermentation to wine blending – every step of the journey reflects the potential to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

John's passion for the wine industry was nurtured early on by his parents through their own interest in grape growing and determination to set up a successful boutique winery.

As John got older he went on to manage his parent's vineyard in Queensland, located 800 metres above sea level on the Great Dividing Range. For the next two years John followed the annual cycle of grape vines with keen interest, before deciding it was time to learn how to turn grapes into wine.

He enrolled in a Bachelor of Applied Science (Wine Science) at Charles Sturt University in 2003, and the following years saw John studying while working in Central Victoria, the Hunter Valley, Yarra Valley and Sonoma County in California

Returning to Australia for vintage in 2008, he decided South Australia was where he would be best placed to continue his winemaking education, so he packed his car with all his belongings and hit the road.

John started at Wolf Blass as a Vintage Winemaker in 2009, and has been working with us ever since. The range of wine styles and winemaking options available are a constant source of inspiration to him, and help drive his determination to ensure every wine under his care is the best it can possibly be.

Never forgetting his start in the wine industry, John is always keen to get out to the vineyards to watch the vines as they progress through the growing period.

Potential - for me that is the one word that encapsulates the process of winemaking. From grapevines in budburst to juice fermentation to wine blending – every step of the journey reflects the potential to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

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