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Chasing excellence since 1966

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How do you make White 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.

buckets with harvested white wine grapes

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.

white wine grapes being prepared for crushing
Crushing,Pressing and Fermentation

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.

white wine being inspected from a barrel

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.

woman inspecting white wine
Clarifying, Stabilising, Blending and Bottling

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.