Country :

Chasing excellence since 1966

You confirm you are aged 18 years or over, are of legal drinking age and that any purchases you make will be for personal use only. By selecting the “Remember Me” option, you consent to us using cookies to remember the validation of your year of birth. See our Privacy Policy for information on how we handle your personal information.

How do you make Red Wine?

Our world-class winery is the home for our winemaking team, who blend old and new techniques to create extraordinary wines. Wolf Blass winemakers set the very highest of standards. From meticulous fruit selection, to fermentation in state-of-the-art, open vessels, small batch, experimental winemaking and maturation in fine oak barrels, our wines are crafted at every stage of production.

grapes being harvested

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.

grape juice dripping whilst crushing grapes
Crushing and Fermentation

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.

Grape juice dripping out of container
Pressing and Clarification

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.

Wine barrels for maturation process
Maturation and Blending

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.