Recently I had a chance to once again meet one of my favourite men of wine, the ever charming Wolfgang Blass. Over the past decade I’ve met him several times when he’s visited Canada and each time I’ve walked away enchanted by this lovely man.
For those of you who’ve enjoyed Wolf Blass wines over the years and hadn’t thought much about the name, there really is a Wolfgang “Wolfie” Blass. Now 78 years old and an ambassador to this amazing brand he released his first Grey label wine in 1967 and in 2003 Wolf Blass became Australia’s #1 wine brand (by volume & value).
Bronze, silver and gold medals, he’s won them all. Probably too many to count both in Australia and internationally, but a known Wolf fact states his greatest achievement as winning three consecutive Jimmy Watson Trophies, the most prestigious and sought after wine award in Australia.
The Eaglehawk symbol seen on the bottles today was first released in 1987 and there’s a beautiful sculpture of the Eaglehawk at the amazing Wolf Blass visitor center in Nuriootpa, South Australia. Should you ever get the chance to get there not only can you walk around and explore the centre but you’ll have a chance to blend it like Blass or sign up for other wine tasting experiences.
Well known for his love of women and race horses his German/Australian accent instantly captivates you and makes you smile. Always elegant he’s recognisable by his dapper attire which always includes his iconic bow tie. He’s said the bow tie added charisma when he was wearing overalls and rubber boots in the winery, and besides a long tie always seemed to get in the way during wine tastings. Not only is he a great brand ambassador for the wine but he’s also a terrific ambassador for Australia and just like his bow tie, he often brings along a small stuffed “Joey” (kangaroo) carrying an Australian flag. Today the Wolf Blass brand is owned by Treasury Wine Estates a global wine company, but Wolfgang remains a vital part of the wine industry and besides being a statesman for the brand itself he still plays an active role on many Australian wine industry bodies.
When I met him a few years back he autographed a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon for me which sits in my cellar. Not wanting to open it, I decided to enjoy the bottle of Yellow Label I’m holding in the photo. And with my very first sip I remembered why I not only enjoyed his company but also his wine.